The number of universities in Moldova has decreased and more universities will disappear the next few years by merger or by closure. The number of students decreases at a higher pace than the number of universities as these prefer to go abroad to study. The problems of higher education in Moldova were discussed in the meeting of the Parliament’s commission on culture, education, research, youth, sport and the media.
Contacted by IPN after the meeting, head of the Council of Rectors Grigore Belostecinic said there were 54 universities in the 1990s, but their number now dropped to 29 and 17 of these are state-run, while 12 are private universities. Such a development is due to the fact that many private universities could not cope only with tuition fees and had thus to shut.
The number of students fell from about 120,000 in 2007 to 60,000 at present. “Among the causes is not only the demographic factor, but also the fact that the offer of the universities in Europe and over the ocean is tempting,” stated Grigore Belostecinic, noting investment is needed in Moldova’s education system to stop this phenomenon.
Another aspect discussed by the parliamentary commission was the contracts that should be signed between universities and students who study on a budget-funded place. “A Government decision adopted in 1994 says that each of the managers of higher education establishments is obliged to sign contracts with students admitted to study on a budget-funded place but, as far as I know, there are only several universities that sign such contracts. Later, if these students do not come to work in the national economy, they are obliged to return the money for studies,” stated the commission’s chairman Adrian Lebedinski.
Grigore Belostecinic has told IPN that this decision was adopted because many of the students do not want to go to villages where they are assigned work after graduation. “We would have obliged the students to go and work in rural areas, but the state no longer provides jobs. Also, the universities cannot force the graduates to pay for studies if they do not want to work in the country. This can be done only by the state through courts of law,” he stated.
Grigore Belostecinic also said there are graduates of the State University of Medicine and Pharmacy who started to repay the money for their studies or pledged to repay it so as to be able to work abroad.