Academic journal article Manager

Dynamics of Qualifications in Romanian Higher Education, 1968-2010

Academic journal article Manager

Dynamics of Qualifications in Romanian Higher Education, 1968-2010

Article excerpt

The communist take-over had significant consequences on the Romanian public education. Because of the tight political control on education, higher education followed closely the evolution pattern of the general political system of communist Romania: Soviet-inspired restructuration from the late 1940s to the late 1950s, development and expansion based on a relative opening and partial retrieval of pre-communist national traditions during the 1960s and part of the 1970s, and a relative closing of the system in the late 1970s and in the 1980s, closely connected with the economic constraints and the hardening of national-communist policies (Murgescu, p. 385-386). Due to this multifaceted legacy of communism, after 1989 most people did not consider that the system needed a radical change, and, besides removing the communist political control, focused mostly to restore the patterns of the 1960s and 1970s. Simultaneously, the Romanian higher education capitalized on the expansion opportunities supplied by the gradual liberalization of the market and by the huge social demand for higher education, as well as on the freedom to connect with international academic networks.

During communism, education was regulated by the laws of 1948 (Decree 175 of the Presidium of the Great National Assembly - adopted on 2 August 1948 and published a day later), 1968 (Law 11/1968) and 1978 (Law 28/1978), by decrees issued by the State Council (until 1975) or by the President of the Socialist Republic of Romania (after 1975), by decisions of the Council of Ministers, and by the Ministry of Education. In the 1968 and 1978 laws the normative principles of education were modem and democratic - the right to education for all people without discrimination based on nationality, sex, race or religion; secular character of the education system; compulsory 10 years education (1968); state-funded scholarships; state-provided jobs for graduates; free education for all levels (after 1961, when the last tuition fees for higher education were removed); permanent (lifelong) education.

The relative opening of the Romanian society in the 1960s and early 1970s included the partial recovery of intellectual traditions and people representing the pre-communist elites or their descendants, who had been excluded and/or repressed during the first phase of the communist mle, as well as the establishment of connections with the West and in general a diversification and a quantitative expansion of international relations. The Romanian higher education participated to these trends, experiencing at the same time a significant institutional expansion - the government planned an increasing number of students (see Pert, p. 337; Anuaml Statistic al României, 1999, p. 261), hired more teaching staff, founded new institutions of higher education and ordered or allowed a diversification of the study programs and specializations.

According to the 1968 law (Bunescu et al., p. 346-368), institutions of higher education could be universities, institutes, academies and conservatories (art. 119), which had juridical personality (art.120). Yet, the autonomy of these institutions was limited. The 1968 law also re-established the higher education programs for sub-engineers (subingineri) and 'sub-architects' (conductori arhitecti), which had been ended in the late 1940s, and integrated them as short-term higher education (art.122). Candidates who had earned their baccalaureate (bacalaureat - secondary-school-leaving-certificate) were admitted to higher education only on the basis of a competition (admission exam). For the evening courses (forma la serai) of higher education it was stipulated that wouldbe students had to work already in the field of the specialty they wanted to study (art.151); extending this provision, the 1978 law specified that candidates for the parttime courses (forma la farä frecventä) also had to be employed in a socialist enterprise (art.70). Normal studies were scheduled for 3-6 years, while the evening and correspondence courses lasted one year more. …

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