Romanian Higher Education is often a field of great contradictions and high volatility as government after government completes a never ending cycle of reforms and amendments on present laws. Of course, not all of these reforms plump to the interests of students, but most are beneficial to overall quality and to student welfare.
However, some are the exact opposite. In our 8 years in the forefront of the Romanian student movement we have never overcome across a draft amendment that is as weird and as unexpected as one recently submitted by a cross-party group of parliamentarians.
The new draft has left us bewildered. But let’s see why…
First and foremost… the suggestion that HEIs should be allowed to establish MANUFACTURING and SERVICES enterprises!
While ANOSR is looking forward to equipping its board-members with the first ever University-made automobiles (not least to go shopping in the first ever Polytechnic Malls), it is at least concerned by the fact that there is an extra reference that students have the “right” to work in HEI manufacturing and service enterprises.
This is not estranged from the pre-1989 times when students had the “right” to work on major infrastructure projects or in agriculture. Of course, this can also be considered as a wise initiative by our beloved parliamentarians. From now on, students won’t need to bribe teachers anymore to pass exams – they will only need to work for the University factory and supermarket and it will be just as good. After all, higher HEI profits will most likely translate into higher profits for most teachers, especially since the same draft proposal that creates HEI industry gives absolute freedom the HEIs on distributing money around, not giving quotas to research or to student scholarships in any form.
To be serious now, ANOSR and indeed all Romanian students that have come across the new draft proposal are shocked and bewildered that such a proposition could have ever been formulated. Other than hitting students, the proposal greatly increases bureaucracy and transforms Universities into rectoral fiefdoms. If this draft proposal were to pass, then Academic feudalism would be a reality for all to behold.