The Romanian Education Law stipulates that „Romanian citizens have equal rights to all levels and forms of education, regardless of social condition, of sex, race, nationality, political or religious affiliation.”
According to the Law on Education adopted in 1995, the Romanian Educational System is regulated by the Ministry of Education, Research, Youth and Sports (www.edu.ro). Each level has its own form of organization and is subject to different legislation.
Ever since the Revolution in 1989, the Romanian education system underwent a continuous reorganization process which was both criticized and praised. The Romanian education reform was initiated after 1998 as a result of gradual democratization and the infusion of European and World Bank funds.
School starts in the middle of September and ends in the middle of June the following year. It is divided into two semesters (September to January and February to June). There are four holiday seasons (Christmas - 2 weeks in December; Inter-semestrial - 1 week in February; Easter (either Orthodox or Catholic in April or May - 1 week; and Summer or The Great Holiday, spanning from June 18 to September 1), with an additional fifth holiday in November for students in the first 4 years.
At the end of the 8th year of school (at age 14 or 15) a nation-wide test is taken by all students. Starting with 2004, this examination is called Testarea Naţională (The National Test) and can be taken only once, in June. The passing mark is 5 for each of the three/four exams. If the student passes, he/she can enroll in a high school; if he/she does not pass, than he/she will have to join a School of Crafts and Trades for two years.
The Romanian education system is made up of the following levels:
1) Pre or early childhood education (0-6 years), consisting of:
a. Pre-pre-school for children aged 0-3 years.
b. Pre-school or kindergarten for children aged 3-6 years organized in groups: lower group, middle group, upper group.
2) Primary education made up of the kindergarten preparatory group and grades I to IV. Pupils can enroll to the first grade of primary school if they turn 6 or 7 during the respective calendar year.
3) Secondary education made up of:
a. Lower secondary (gymnasiums) which includes grades V to VIII and ends up with the taking of a “national test examination”. The examination tests pupils’ knowledge in the fields of Romanian language and literature and Mathematics. Starting with 2004, this examination is called Testarea Naţională (The National Test) and can be taken only once, in June. The passing mark is 5 for each of the three/four exams. If the student passes, he/she can enroll in a high school; if he/she does not pass, than he/she will have to join a School of Crafts and Trades for two years.
b. Upper secondary (high-school) which includes grades X—XII and has the following branches: theoretical, technological and vocational (art, sport, theology). Enrollment is made on the basis of the results in the national test exam and the average degree of the gymnasium. High school studies end up with a “baccalaureate examination”. After passing this examination, the graduates get the “baccalaureate diploma”. Only students in the technological and vocational branches must take in addition a “qualification examination” and get a “qualification certificate”.
4) Professional education: is organized by technical and vocational high schools and form students in professions required by the job market. The studies end up with a “qualification examination”. After passing this examination, the graduates get a “qualification certificate”. Graduates can then continue their studies in the upper-secondary cycle, a technological or vocational high-school, in a low- frequency program.
5) Post high-school non-university education: lasts1 to 3 years and is organized in post-high schools forming the students in professions required by the job market. Admission is free (not granted on a competitive basis). High school graduates, whether they are baccalaurate diploma holders or not, can attend post high-school non-university education. For baccalaureate holders, credits obtained during the post high-school non university education can be recognized as units of transferable study credits for the university’s first cycle: bachelor degree.
6) Higher education
. Doctoral studies (PhD): 3 years (since 2006)
. Lifelong learning (post-graduate courses, continuous education
The general compulsory education is of 10 grades and includes primary education (grades I- IV), gymnasium or lower secondary education (grades V-VIII) and grades IX-X of high-school.
The obligation to attend the 10 grades education (the frequency form), ceases at the age of 18.
Education in technological and vocational high-schools, professional schools, non-university post-high schools is organized for specializations and qualifications established by The Ministry of Education, according to the National Registry of qualifications.
With regards to grading conventions, for the first four years the grading system uses qualifiers “calificative”: Foarte bine (FB) - Excellent, Bine (B) - Good, Satisfăcător/Suficient (S) - Satisfactory, Nesatisfăcător/Insuficient (N/I) - Failed. For grades 5 to 12, a 1 to 10 grading system is used with 10 being the best, 1 being the worst and 5 is the minimum passing grade.
During kindergarten, children begin to study foreign languages (typically English, French or German), introduction in computer studies, sports, acting, dancing, swimming etc. When in primary school, children usually study on a weekly basis 4 classes of math, 4-5 classes of Romanian language, 1 class of history, 1 class of geography, 1-2 classes of science, 2 classes of art, 1-3 classes of a foreign language (usually French or English), 1 or 2 classes of introduction to computers, 1 class of Civic Education, 1 of religion(optional; parents can withdraw children from these classes), 1 of music, 2 of physical education. Number of classes increases in Gymmnasium; an 8th grade schedule may contain up to 30–32 hours weekly, or 6 hours daily, thus making it quite intensive, for instance: 4 classes of math, 4 classes of Romanian language, 2 classes of history, 2 classes of geography, 2 classes of biology, 1 class of introduction to computers, 4 classes of a foreign language, usually French language and English language, 2 classes ofphysics, 2 classes of chemistry, 1 (only in the 8th grade) class of Latin, 1 class of art and music, 1 (only in the 7th and 8th grade) class of civic education, 1 class of technology, 2 classes of physical education.
Typical to the Romanian school tradition is the organization of trips and holidays during the summer - camps in the mountains or at the seaside.