Access to education

Romania

Country Report: Access to education Last updated: 10/07/24

Author

Felicia Nica

Beneficiaries of international protection have the right to have access to all forms of education, under the same conditions as Romanian citizens.[1] In order to have access to education, child beneficiaries of international protection need to have the minimum age provided by law for all children: 3 to 6 for pre-school education and 6 for primary education.

 

Enrolment at schools

The legal provisions regarding Romanian language courses for children were detailed by the new amendment of the Integration Ordinance. Therefore, it is stated that, in order to integrate minors beneficiaries of international protection into the Romanian education system, they would benefit from a preparatory course for learning the Romanian language, emphasising that the course is intensive and free of charge during a school year. It was also added that the enrolment is open throughout the calendar year, and the attendance of the course may continue during the following school year, as the case may be.[2]

During the first year, children are enrolled at schools as viewers and listeners; they do not receive grades and are not registered in the class book.[3] At the end of the preparatory course, the level of knowledge of Romanian language is assessed and an evaluation commission determines enrolment at school.[4]

Bucharest (Region 1): In 2022, in Region 1, 208 BPI children were enrolled at school by IGI-DAI, according to the director.

Giurgiu: According to the AIDRom representative two unaccompanied children were attending school classes in 2022. Children were enrolled at school by the Romanian teacher of the organisation. Conversely the director of the centre reported that none of the children attended.

Galaţi: Children are enrolled at school from the moment they become asylum seekers. It was mentioned that the quality of the schooling exercise is falling bellow standards because it does not take into account the crucial steps of integration of benenficieries in class cohorts. Some of the children complained that they were bullied by their peers. In one instance a 17 year-old was enrolled in first grade based on the fact that he had no Romanian language skills. In 2022 46 children beneficiaries of international protection were enrolled at school, according to the director of the centre.

Timișoara: The director of Timişoara centre reported that no children were enrolled at school in 2022. However, the AIDRom representative reported that around 15 children were enrolled at school. During 2022 ISJ enrolled the children beneficiaries of international schooling regardless of age at second chance school. The issue was reported to IGI-DAI and as of June-July 2022 children are enrolled in a school within the radius of their residence.

Rădăuţi: Children are enrolled at school during the asylum procedure. The legal counsellor reported that children were enrolled during the year, some of them attended the classes and refused to continue because they did not understand anything in class, and some did not attend because they did not want to or they left the country. According to the director of the centre 63 beneficiaries were enrolled at school in 2022.

Şomcuta Mare: LADO/ASSOC reported that in general there are no issues with the enrolment of children beneficiaries who are accommodated in the centre. However, for beneficiaries who live in Baia Mare or other similar localities, there are problems when enrolling at schools, due to the limited places in classes, especially due to the high number of Ukrainian minors (many of whom speak Romanian), who had priority. Five children were enrolled at school in 2022.[5] According to the director of the centre three children were enrolled at the school in Şomcuta Mare and after they moved to Baia Mare they were easily transferred at the school there. In addition, a girl was enrolled at kindergarden.

As regards children with special needs, the conditions for accessing education are the same as for Romanian children. The child should first be issued a degree of disability by the Complex Assessment Service of the Child with Disabilities within the Directorate-General for Social Assistance and Child Protection (DGASPC). This is a particularly complicated and bureaucratic process, which has to be repeated every year.[6]

Based on the evaluation, the Complex Assessment Service of the Child with Disabilities also decides if the child should be enrolled in a school for children with special needs or in a state school, and at what grade.

In Timișoara the same rules apply for beneficiaries of international protection as for Romanian citizens. In the case of a girl with disabilities, the case was referred to other NGOs and public authorities dealing with disabled minors. There were no problems regarding their integration, as the mother of the girl is employed as a personal assistant of the girl, and she is paid according to the law applicable to Romanian citizens. The only difficulties faced by the family are the language barrier and bureaucracy, the mother’s employment and the issue of the disability certificate. Without proper support and assistance in this process, the family of the girl would not have managed. No cases were reported in 2019, 2020, 2021 nor in 2022.

Beneficiaries of international protection who have reached the age of 18 encounter the same problems in accessing vocational training or education, regardless of their age, according to the AIDRom representative. The language is an impediment. If they do not have diplomas, they have to be examined for all subjects from the first to twelfth grade, or if they cannot certify the years of study, they have to repeat those school years in Romania following the Romanian curricula. There are very few youngsters that have chosen this path, even though professors were understanding and helpful. Another reported situation is that of youngsters that went to an Arabic school and after one year transferred to public schools. IOM Romania also pointed out the lack of diplomas and language barriers as an obstacle or the fact that certain beneficiaries are illiterate and / or do not have the appropriate level of education (for example for enrolling at certain courses it is necessary to finalise primary education (4 years of schooling). ASSOC, on the other hand, specified that along with the language barrier, in some cases there is also a lack of determination.

 

Integration courses

The new amendments of the Integration Ordinance stipulate that IGI-DAI, in collaboration with the authorities of the local public administration, organizes sessions of cultural accommodation and counselling activities, aiming to familiarize the adult beneficiaries of international protection with the traditions, customs, legislation and specifics of the Romanian society.[7] The previous provision stipulated that IGI organizes these activities and may collaborate with public authorities and NGOs. IGI and the local public administration authorities may collaborate with other public institutions and non-governmental organizations in order to organize these activities.[8]

Adult beneficiaries of international protection benefit from intensive and free of charge Romanian language courses, organized by the specialized structures of the Ministry of National Education, in collaboration with IGI. Enrolment is made throughout the calendar year, and the attendance of the course may continue throughout the following school year.[9] IGI-DAI, in collaboration with NGOs provides the necessary spaces for organizing the courses.[10] The Ministry of Education appoints a qualified person to teach the Romanian language course for adults and minors and it also ensures adequate training for these teachers.[11] The Ministry of Education establishes the organisation, duration and schedule of these courses.[12]At the end of the preparatory course, a commission issues a certificate that demonstrates the level of knowledge of the Romanian language.[13]

For unaccompanied minors who are beneficiaries of international protection, IGI-DAI collaborates with DGASPC and NGO representatives. They establish the integration plan for the children and implement the activities included in the plan.[14]

In Timișoara, according to AIDRom the courses are held by a Romanian language teacher from the ISJ, once a week. They are grouped based on their age and knowledge of Romanian language. They are addressed in particular to the beneficiaries in the integration program for whom participation in this course is mandatory for the successful completion of the integration program. It was also reported that the courses were held online, depending on the restrictions in place, and sometimes were also cancelled.[15] AIDRom also organises Romanian language classes twice a week in the same way as the ICAR Foundation, online and in person.

Rădăuţi: As of September 2019, beneficiaries were grouped based on their age, but they were not grouped on their level of education or level of Romanian language knowledge. The classes are held on Monday and Thursday for children and on Wednesday for adults.  During the summer break the Romanian language course was not held. On the other hand, ICAR Foundation is also organising Romanian language courses. These courses are framed on the needs, level of education and knowledge of Romanian language of the beneficiaries. Before starting the course, beneficiaries have to take a test.

Şomcuta Mare: Romanian language courses are held 3 times a week in the Regional Centre with beneficiaries of international protection by a teacher from ISJ. The language courses are held for adults and if there is a high number of beneficiaries they are grouped based on their nationality and Romanian language skills, according to the director of the centre.

AIDRom also organises Romanian language classes in the same way as the ICAR Foundation.

In Galaţi, JRS representative was not aware if beneficiaries were grouped based on their knowledge. due to the high number of beneficiaries. There are two teachers, one for children and the other for adults. The classes are held three times per week for two hours. JRS is also organising Romanian language courses every weekday in Constanta and Galaţi. It was reported that sometimes the classes are not held during vacantions. The director of the centre mentioned that the course may be held separately for children and adults, but not so many are interested in attending the class.

In Giurgiu, according to AIDRom representatives the Romanian language classes were held by AIDRom for asylum seekers and beneficiaries of international protection. The director of Giurgiu Regional Centre mentioned that the preparatory course for learning the Romanian language takes place at the Tudor Vianu Theoretical High School in Giurgiu, for one year, twice a week for two hours. The enrolment of asylum-seeking unaccompanied minors at the preparatory course was done by the legal representative. Nevertheless, at the time of registration they had already left the centre and none attended the course.

In Bucharest there is only one educational institution (School no. 25) where Romanian language courses are organized for foreign citizens. Participants were divided into age groups, respectively: 6-10 years, 11-14 years, 15-18 years, over 18 years. The main difficulties identified were the distance to school and the lack of electronic devices when the courses were held online.[16]

 

 

 

[1] Article 20(1)(h) Asylum Act.

[2] Article 10(1) Integration Ordinance.

[3] Article 10(2) Integration Ordinance. During the preparatory course children beneficiaries of international protection participate free of charge in pedagogical activities within the school units, without their presence being registered in official documents.

[4] Article 10(3) Integration Ordinance

[5] Information provided by LADO/ASSOC, 20 February 2023.

[6] For the highly onerous administrative requirements to be met for this process according to Common Order No 1985/1305/5805/2016, see DGASPC, Necessary documents for the complex assessment of the child’s disability, available in Romanian at: http://bit.ly/2hK8T0r.

[7] Article 13(1) Integration Ordinance.

[8] Article 13(2) Integration Ordinance.

[9] Article 14(1) Integration Ordinance.

[10] Article 14(2) Integration Ordinance.

[11]  Article 14(3) Integration Ordinance.

[12] Article 14(4) Integration Ordinance.

[13] Article 14(5) Integration Ordinance.

[14] Article 35(3) Integration Ordinance.

[15] Information provided by AIDRom, 14 January 2022.

[16] Information provided by IOM ROMANIA ROMANIA Romania, 19 February 2022.

Table of contents

  • Statistics
  • Overview of the legal framework
  • Overview of the main changes since the previous report update
  • Asylum Procedure
  • Reception Conditions
  • Detention of Asylum Seekers
  • Content of International Protection
  • ANNEX I – Transposition of the CEAS in national legislation