Igor Boțan: University reform necessitates greater transparency

The reorganization of universities by merger (absorption) requires greater transparency. It should be broadly debated by the government and the opposition, said expert Igor Boțan. “I didn’t see public debates centering on the arguments of the governments and the opposition. I would then see that the governments and the opposition can find reasons for cooperation as there is a national interest... The future beneficiaries, those who provide jobs should be sure they will find well-educated people on the labor market of the Republic of Moldova, who can contribute to developing the businesses and the economy of the republic,” Igor Boțan stated in a public debate hosted by IPN.

He said the Ministry of Education and Research’s initiative concerning the reorganization of the state university system is a continuation of the education reform launched by the Party of Communists in
2007. “The education reform was started by the Party of Communisis and I took part in the designing of the national development strategy that was adopted on December 21, 2007, when the Party of Communists was in power, and this strategy seemed very useful to me. I think that what is going on now is a follow-up to those steps. Based on that strategy, the mapping of pre-university educational institutions was completed in 2007 and a strategy for optimizing the network of schools was to be worked out,” stated Igor Boțan.

He noted that the announced initiative does not represent a final decision and all the involved sides should think first of all about the efficiency of this reform. “I’m categorically against the liquidation of the State Agrarian University of Moldova. Agriculture is the basis of our economy and it seems to me that this university should be strengthened as it can be very important for the national economy. The liquidation of the Technical University of Moldova and “Nicolae Testemițanu” State University of Medicine and Pharmacy and also of the Academy of Economic Studies is out of the question. These centers that are closely connected to the national economy should become powerful centers and should absorb other institutions. I think this should be the approach given that we need educated people who would work in the sectors of the national economy,” said the standing expert of IPN’s project.

According to Igor Boțan, the psychological and political components of the reform cannot be neglected, but its efficiency is now more important. “Historical biography will anyway be rewritten and the universities that will be strengthened in their history will probably have the mentions and contributions they made to the absorbed universities. We can find compromises here. The political class in general should agree that this reform is necessary. I welcome the debates between the government and the opposition on how to find the best formal for efficiency to go hand in hand with the necessities,” sated the expert.

“Transparency is the big problem as we woke up with this Government decision and we then saw debates in the academic community. I didn’t see public debates centering on the arguments of the governments and the opposition… Society in general should be convinced that this reform is necessary. As a result of debates and discussions, the best formula can be found. We need educated people who want to live in the Republic of Moldova and who would be needed by the economy of the Republic of Moldova,” concluded Igor Boțan.

The public debate entitled “Merger of universities: arguments for and against” was the 255th installment of IPN’s project “Developing Political Culture through Public Debates” that is supported by the Hanns Seidel Foundation.

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