In the society and economy of knowledge, there is an increasing need for specialised human resources, with multiple and transferable abilities. Work and management in the field of knowledge require the continuous adaptation to the market needs, to the ever-greater dynamics and challenges generated by the socio-economic transformations and technological developments. In this respect, knowledge becomes a currency itself, an investment that secures survival and development for the society materialised not only at national level, but also at international level, due to the globalisation of labour markets.
National policies in the field of education include the concept of lifelong learning or ongoing professional training increasingly, as an essential premise for the intelligent and sustainable development. In Romania, all these tend to align to the European framework, which links the employment policies to the knowledge economy. Thus, the focus is put on the final outcome of education and training, which should be the insertion in the labour market or in the targeted occupational sector.
In the last twenty years, the Romanian education system has made progress in terms of inclusion policies for the national minorities. In 2017, the study National Minorities in Romania revisited. Educational policies and the protection of the linguistic (human) rights stated that ”in Romania live 20 officially recognized minorities, which represent 11,08% of the total population” that time. The diversity of ethnic groups and, implicitly, of the languages their members speak, makes it difficult to formulate coherent and transparent educational policies. The comparative staistical data (school year 1999-2000 vs. school year 2012-2013) provided by the Ministry of National Education, through the State Secretary for Minorities from that date, show the evolution of teaching in the national minorities’ languages in Romania:
|SCHOOL YEAR 1999-2000||SCHOOL YEAR 2012-2013|
|Language of tuition||School units||%||Language of tuition||School units||%|
|Total Romania||27.512||100||Total Romania||19.000||100|
|Total minorities||2.755||10,01||Total minorities||2.872||15,11|
German, Serbian, Ukrainian, Slovak, Czech, Croatian
||German, Serbian, Ukrainian, Slovak, Czech (only pre-school and primary education), Croatian (pre-school, primary and upper secondary education – college), Turkish, Bulgarian, Italian, Greek||370||1,94|
Source: The important parameters of teaching in the national minorities’ languages in Romania, Bucharest, the Ministry of National Education, the State Secretary for Minorities.
It is already well-known that children and young people from Roma community are a disadvantaged social category, often discriminated against, with dramatic effects on their education. In the study carried out in 2011 by the Agency of Community Development Together for UNICEF, it was revealed that more than 70% of the school dropouts are Roma pupils, and the causes of these educational dropouts are: poverty, poor quality of the education received in families and the lack of human and material resources in the educational institutions.
In this regard, after 1996 until now, the Ministry of National Education, as well as other public or private educational entities, have developed programs and projects to encourage the inclusion of Roma children both in the educational system and in society, in general. An initiative that solved the controversy ”integrated education vs. inclusive education” was the elaboration of the case study Inclusive education in Romania, started by UNESCO and UNICEF, which became an autonomous publication in 2001 (Including the excluded: meeting diversity in education. Example from Romania). In the elaboration of this study were involved entities such as: Ministry of National Education, UNESCO Office in Romania, University of Bucharest, UNESCO CEPES (the de-centralised office for the European Center for Higher Education), Institute of Educational Studies and NGO Save the Children Romania. One of the case studies included in this study refers to: ”the social and educational inclusion of Roma children; European and Romanian policies; schooling for the Roma population in Romania; positive intitiatives.”
Another notable initiative was the PHARE 2003 programme, entitled ”Access to education for disadvantaged groups”. This program aimed at facilitating access to quality education for all children, regardless of their ethnic, linguistic, socio-economic or psychological characteristics. PHARE has piloted the creation of resource centers in order to help teachers develop more inclusive classrooms and schools. The activities of this programme focused on training sessions in the field of educational inclusion (UNESCO International Bureau of Education, Romania. Regional Preparatory Workshop on Inclusive Education. Eastern and South Eastern Europe, 14-16 June 2007).