BM 65 – 6% of GDP for Romanian education

11.12.2013
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Given the low allocations Romania directs towards education, ESU urges the Romanian government to acknowledge the importance of investments in this sector and ensure a proper financing.

We, as students, believe that education is the safest way to ensure a medium and long-term development of our societies and it should therefore be among the top priorities of any democratic government.

Education is a public good and public responsibility. In order for the education system to be of high quality and to meet the needs of students and society, enough public funds must be ensured!

National and international commitments regarding financing of higher education must be respected and treated responsibly. Otherwise, the message that the government sends to the society is wrong and misleading, diminishing the factual importance that is given to building a high quality education system that is accessible to all.

Tha National Law on Education, adopted in 2011 in Romania, and an agreement between all political parties that was signed in 2008, provide the allocation of 6% of GDP for education, out of public funds. Unfortunately, in none of the recent years has this percentage been allocated, regardless of what political parties were in the governing coalition. The allocations were, year after year, around 3% of GDP. This has led to decreased quality at universities and higher fees. Equity measures, such as social scholarships, that should help students from a disadvantaged socio–economic background and that should cover, according to law, minimum living expenses, are only just over a third of the value they should have according to the National Council on Financing of Higher Education. The medium value for these scholarships is about 50 euros, according to a study conducted by the National Alliance of Student Organisations in Romania, while the needed value is estimated to be at least 130 euro / month. This discrepancy creates huge problems for students from low–income families in accessing higher education.

We strongly believe that the government is responsible for implementing equity policies in higher education and evaluate the effectiveness of these policies. From our point of view, there should be a clearer separation between scholarship funds that are allocated by the government to encourage merit and excellence and the fund allocated for ensuring equity, given that a unified fund has, in general, failed to ensure proper equity spending.

Furthermore, we believe that the Romanian government should have a coherent long–term strategy for ensuring a sufficient budget for education, in order to ensure high quality and equity. Education should be seen as an investment, not a cost, and the investment in education offers a reflection on how the future of the young generations will look like.

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