What university managers think about rationalization of universities

The higher education reform in Moldova, primarily as regards the rationalization of universities, is not greeted with enthusiasm by the managers of higher education establishments. They say the process is difficult and can have a negative impact on the teachers and students. The subject was discussed in a public debate staged by Radio Moldova Tineret on the theme “University education in the Republic of Moldova: opportunity of reforms”, IPN reports.

Victoria Melnic, rector of the Academy of Music, Theater and Plastic Arts, said the arts universities are not connected to the other universities even in the European countries. In 1999, the State Institute of Arts was merged with the Music Academy “Gavriil Musicescu”, while the teachers adjusted themselves to the changes the hardest. The existing stricture is the optimal one. The ratio of students to teachers cannot be the same as at the Faculty of Law or another specialty, for example, as the process of study is individualized at their Academy.

“The small universities also have the right to life and development,” said Maria Ianioglo, professor of the State University of Comrat.

Olga Cernetski, first pro-rector for teaching activity at the State University of Medicine and Pharmacy “Nicolae Testemițanu”, noted their institution has particular distinct features. It is not part of the reforms to merge universities. All the universities of medicine from outside the country are separated from other specific facilities. Medicine will be engaged last in the university restructuring process.

Academy of Economic Studies rector Grigore Belostecinic said the national universities should prove their right to existence. “The universities that deserve should work further. We should not be witness to an administrative reform with purely subjective content, based on the opinion of one person. This will cause the most serious damage to education in Moldova,” he stated.

Nadejda Velishko, head of the Ministry of Education’s Higher Education Policies Division, said there are now 19 public education institutions for a permanently declining number of students. The State University “Dimitrie Cantemir” and the State Institute of International Relations of Moldova (IRIM) were already merged with the State University of Moldova (USM). In 2011, the average cost per student was about 13,000 lei at the USM, 30,000 lei at “Dimitrie Cantemir” and 20,000 lei at IRIM. In 2019, the figures were already 33,000 lei at “Dimitrie Cantemir” and about 53,000 lei at IRIM. The given figures are not justified. “Any merger causes pain to the academic system, but things should be treated pragmatically and actions should be taken in favor of the quality of education in Moldova,” said the functionary.

The Ministry of Education started to rationalize the network of universities in Moldova at the start of May. Minister of Education Igor Sharov said then that this will lead to the improvement of university management by merger or by switchover to another, more transparent per-student financial system.

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