UPDATE/ President Iohannis: 'Educated Romania' - strategic project; it's not my electoral programme

President Klaus Iohannis stated on Wednesday at the Cotroceni Presidential Palace that the "Educated Romania" project he initiated and whose results were publicly debated, is a strategic one, underscoring that it is not just a political tale or his electoral programme.

"'Educated Romania' is a strategic project, that wants to shape, to create an education system for Romania of the 21st century, that wants to help politicians to come up with good educational policies, wants to help teachers to succeed in teaching so that they and the pupils, as well as the parents and employers be content. It is a project that wants to help the school principal to know how to manage his/her unit, in order to have good results. But what are the results that can be measured? Not even this response is not that simple to find. (...) 'Educated Romania' is not a draft law, so it's not a simple recipe, it's not just a political story, it's not my electoral programme, 'Educated Romania' is our Romania, of all, for the generations to come," Iohannis stated.

The President underscored that education is the basis of future generations.

"Any educated Romania is a successful Romania, a strong Romania, a prosperous Romania, a Romania that ranks well among nations. This is what we all want! Up until now, we have worked for this, approximately two years. Meanwhile, we have a good project, one can call it 'a draft' that we put up for debate," the head of state said.

According to him, there are elites in education, but 40 percent of the gymnasium graduates are functionally illiterate, stressing that this is a big issue.

"20 percent of Romania's children leave before graduating school. Where do they go? We don't really know. These are children, whose chance for the future gets stolen. They are children, the majority, who get lost somewhere. Very few can be recovered. Thus, we have mixed results, so to speak. It's not good! But, if we want to build a very solid system, we have to ask ourselves: what kind of training do we want to provide to our young generations? What are we to prepare them for? For life, yes, for a career, yes; for a profession, certainly. But what kind of profession? For the professions of the 20th century? We should train them for the professions of the 21st century, obviously, but what are they?," Iohannis stated.

The head of state said that many professions will disappear in the future and, in this context, we have to be careful to pupils' training.

"Analysis are needed, in-depth studies, [we need to be] very careful on how we design this system for the future and that is what 'Educated Romania' does. It's not a story that sounds nice on television, then we go home and mind our business. It's about what we do with Romania. This educational outcome will define tomorrow's society. Tomorrow's society will look according to how we educate young people. If we give them a serious education, oriented towards the future, we will have a performing Romania, if not, we will have a Romania without notable performances. (...) This project was initiated by me, together with my team, but this project is yours, it's the pupils's, the students's, the teachers's, it's a project of the Romanian society, because if the responses were very different to the questions, legitimately, correctly, they all knew one thing: something must be done to improve the system and this aspect - that everyone understood from the beginning, they underscored the need for improvement - encourages us to go further," Iohannis stated.

He showed that he wants a quality and flexible educational system.

"My ambition is that no child of Romania, no youngster of Romania gets left out. We must find solutions to integrate them all. Do you remember? There was, I believe two years ago, a Baccalaureate when the pass rate was half. Such a thing is a national catastrophe and it is the worst mark for the current system. We cannot afford to lose any children in Romania. This is what I want with the 'Educated Romania' project," Iohannis mentioned.

The head of state presented several proposals of the project.

"Developing a high-performance professional education system. For years we have been talking about dual education, professional education, a training based on the interest, the capacity, this is what our private environment expects, it expects a serious diversification and training quality, from the craftsmen to the engineer or the IT specialist We propose increasing international connectivity, higher education, exchange of ideas We do not want to isolate ourselves, we want to be connected to the European system, to the international system, to expand access to early education, meaning nurseries, kindergartens, for as many children as possible from an early age. This has two essential issues: one - these children are better prepared for school; two - allow their parents to go to work. Rethinking the assessment of pupils and students: the assessment we use is almost at the level of the, I don't know, '60s, '70s, we give them marks, write them in the school register, we average out their marks, at the end of the year we make statistics, papers over papers, send them to the inspectorate, to the ministry. And? I believe that is not enough, this assessment must generate feedback for each pupil, for each parent, so that things be shaped as effective tools, not only for the assessment, but also for the correction, improvement of performance and - why not? - correcting the system. A lot of work. Developing a better teacher training system. In order to work, we need dedicated, well-trained, with notable results, well-respected in society and properly paid teachers, with a serious material basis tailored to the needs of a modern school," Iohannis showed.

The event is attended by three Secretaries of State with the Education Ministry, the relevant ministry, taking into account that Minister Ecaterina Andronescu is in Brussels.

During the event, also screened was the video supporting the "Educated Romania" project featuring actor Victor Rebengiuc, former gymnast Andreea Raducanu, actress Oana Pellea, philosopher Mihai Sora. AGERPRES (RO - author: Florentina Peia, editor: Florin Marin; EN - author: Rodica State, editor: Cristina Zaharia)

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