PPPDA: Limiting university reform to optimization is a simplistic approach without vision

Representatives of the Party “Dignity and Truth Platform” (PPPDA) said that limiting the university reform almost exclusively to optimization and absorptions is a simplistic approach that lacks vision. According to them, the main argument invoked by the Ministry of Education and Research is that there are too many universities for the current number of students. The institution only ascertains this problem, but does not come up with a strategy for increasing the number of students, IPN reports.

“We consider such a fatalistic position is unacceptable. The Ministry should do this reform not only by adjusting the system to the new demographic reality, but should also eliminate the causes that led to this dramatic reality. If we sincerely assess the situation, we will admit that the poor quality of higher education is the main cause for the decline in the number of students. The policies and reforms should be aimed at designing viable mechanisms that would ensure high quality,” said the party’s president Dinu Plîngău.

He noted that the proposed method for optimizing the university system generates particular risks that the Ministry of Education and Research will be unable to manage. This way, together with the reorganization by merger (absorption) of educational, research and innovation institutions, the rights and obligations of the absorbed legal entities will be fully transferred to the absorbing institution. As a result, all the decisions related to the personnel and development strategy will be fully left to the ddiscretion of the absorbing institutions.

“As regards the property of absorbed institutions, the risks are evident. There is a negative experience accumulated after the Independence years - doubtful processes to privatize dorms and erecting of apartment buildings in the place of these, selling of blocks of study and of lots to interest groups, etc. In many cases, these abuses were committed in collusion with managers of educational institutions. Given this experience, the reorganization and property transfer commissions should play a very important role. To avoid any abuses, the Ministry should work out and implement strategies for rationalizing the use of infrastructure and should fully assume responsibility for this process,” said Dinu Plîngău.

According to the politician, a reform should be consistent and visionary and should be aimed at solving problems, not only at adjusting to the demographic consequences. An authentic reform should not affect some of the areas, such as agriculture and sport, and favor other areas. It should harmonize the interests of different sectors. An authentic reform should lay emphasis on the quality of studies, investments in teaching staff, strengthening of education marketing and internationalization of the higher education system and also on the rooting out of corruption from the system.

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