Poverty and migration negatively affected quality of studies in Moldova

The Republic of Moldova reached the 22nd year of independence. The IPN Agency decided to present the accomplishments and failures in the country’s development in a number of articles. Representatives of the current government, experts, former and current politicians stated their views on the steps taken by Moldova after August 27, 1991.

Article No. 15 of the IPN series “Moldova-22. Steps forward and steps backward”, on the occasion of the Independence Day

The authorities say that in the 22 years of independence, the education sector was detached from the political sphere and there were established cooperation relations with education specialists from other countries. But there are also shortcomings, related mainly to the relevance and quality of studies, the lack of efficient policy on the training, motivation and supporting of teachers. A comparable situation is witnessed in the area of research and innovation.

Consequences of crisis of the 1990s

The economic crisis of the middle of the 1990s and the financial crisis of 1998 had dramatic effects on the public budget and, consequently, on the education system. The very low salaries and the drawbacks made many teacher go abroad to do unskilled work. This phenomenon had and continues to have a significant impact on the quality of the education process, said Minister of Education Maia Sandu.

The demographic decline, determined mainly by poverty, led to a considerable reduction in the number of students. Thus, the network of education institutions and the method of providing services in the field need to be reorganized. “The shortcomings are related to the relevance and quality of studies and the absence of efficient policies to train and motivate the teachers,” said Maia Sandu.

Asked about the shortcomings in education, research and innovation, academician Gheorghe Duca, who is the president of the Academy of Sciences of Moldova, said that in 22 years of independence they didn’t manage to ensure the recognition of the fact that they speak Romanian in Moldova. In a scientific conference in 1994, the community of researchers decided that the language spoken on Moldova’s territory is Romanian, but they didn’t go further. “The struggle for identify and language separated us. We tried to formulate an idea for strengthening society, which would be based on knowledge. The education system and the research and innovation system should be improved so that the people know more. The more they know, the less manipulated they will be,” stated Gheorghe Duca.

According to him, another shortcoming is the fact that the research and innovation are not priorities in the development process. In the 22 years, they didn’t make these sectors top priorities as science tell truths that are not liked by the politicians. “Innovation isn’t taken as basis in our country because it would be a weapon against the monopolists and oligarchs who are robbing this country,” said the academician.

Positive moments

The officials said that in the 22 years of independence, the educational content was depoliticized and the textbooks were adjusted to the children’s needs. “We switched over to a system for preparing teachers with emphasis on the student. Improvements were made to the student assessment system, including by introducing the common national exam. But there is yet a lot of work to be done. In higher education, steps were taken to increase mobility and integrate the universities into the European education system. However, Moldova’s education system is modernized slowly,” said Maia Sandu.

An accomplishment is the improvement of teaching and studying of the Romanian language, even if there are yet shortcomings in this respect. The development of private education is another important accomplishment. The joining of the Bologna process in 2005 is one of the events that positively marked the education system. The introduction of academic mobility and of the transferable credits system, the implementation of instruments for recognizing the diplomas and qualifications are only some of the results achieved by the authorities.

Also, in these 22 years of independence, those from abroad started to know Moldova better. “I remember that during the first years of transition, we were regarded by the international organizations as a country with a promising future, alongside the Baltic Countries. Several years later, we became the poorest country in Europe and, unfortunately, continue to be so. For a long period, we caused confusion at internal and foreign levels as it was unclear whether we followed the path to democracy or not, whether we wanted to become part of the European family or to return to the old commitments. Things started to change. I hope we convinced the people from outside, especially our development partners, of our European aspirations. I also hope that we will soon become a democratic country with average incomes in reality and in the perception of those from abroad,” said the minister.

International openness

Among the achievements in the research field in 2004 is the working out of the Science and Innovation Code owing to which the researchers are associated with the European scientific community.

Gheorghe Duca mentioned among accomplishments the researches and innovations of the Academy of Sciences. The Academy’s Agricultural Machinery Institute “Mecagro” is the main institution in the area of agriculture mechanization and in the processing industry of Moldova. This year, the institute earned revenues of 22 million lei from its innovation projects. It designed machine plant protection systems with different capacities and functions for vineyards, crops, walnut trees, hothouses, etc. There was also designed equipment for processing sunflower seeds and grain, canning corn, processing wool, etc. In these 22 years, all the institutes of the Academy of Sciences proposed innovations. There are printed books pointing to the existence of great intellectual potential.

In the period, there were signed several important bilateral scientific agreements with the U.S., Germany, France, and Italy. In accordance with these agreements, over 3,000 researchers annually take part in different projects. Moldova also became part of the Seventh Framework Program for Research and Technological Development (FP7), which is the main instrument of the EU for financing research in Europe.

Resources for development  

Education is becoming a decisive factor determining the country’s development and the level of welfare of every person. This means that the attitude towards education has changed. The state, at the level of the central and local public authorities, must ensure better administration of the resources allocated to education. The educational content must be improved so that the knowledge and skills acquired by the young people enable them to get high-paying jobs and to build a better society than the current one. Society, community and the parents must become more actively involved in the life of the school, demanding also quality, not only grades, and encouraging the children to learn,” said Maia Sandu.

Gheorghe Duca stated that the innovation sector in some countries accounts for 40% of the GDP. Innovation must be the main pillar in the country’s development and this thing depends first of all on the political will.

Irina Ţurcanu, IPN
August, 2013

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