The Asylum Act prescribes for the right of minor asylum seekers to have access to before pre-school (0-3 years), pre-school (3-6 years) and compulsory education (6-18 years) under the same conditions as minor Romanian citizens, as long as no measure is taken to remove them or their parents from Romania. Access to education is therefore free and unconditional.
Compulsory general education consists of 10 grades and includes primary and lower secondary education. Compulsory education ends at the age of 18.
Education is provided in regular schools. In general, children are enrolled at local schools whose territorial jurisdiction covers the respective Regional Centres. Asylum-seeking children are enrolled in normal classes together with Romanian children as observers for the first year. Being an observer means that the child is not listed in the class book and he or she does not receive grades.
In Bucharest, Giurgiu and Şomcuta Mare, the NGO representatives together with IGI-DAI draft the enrolment request.
According to Save the Children, the representatives of NGOs provide support for the enrolment of children at schools and kindergartens. However, some delays may occur, as the legal representatives of unaccompanied children have to sign the application. The main obstacles faced by children in practice to access education include shortage of places rendering enrolment at the beginning of the school year difficult, direct or indirect refusal by many schools to enrol asylum-seeking children, as well as several registered cases of discrimination by teachers or peers.
In Galaţi, where the enrolment procedure may take up to 2 weeks, parents or the legal representative have to lodge a request to IGI-DAI in this regard, in order for IGI-DAI to notify the County School Inspectorate (Inspectoratul Școlar Județean, ISJ). By the time the inspectorate sends its answer, the asylum procedure is usually completed, and the persons have left the country, or the parents did not take the children to the school.
In Rădăuţi, the enrolment procedure takes 2 months. For high school students the enrolment took up to 1 year. For a girl the enrolment request was submitted more than 2 months ago and it was still pending by the time of the author’s interview with the stakeholder in December 2019. In 2018 none of the minors were enrolled in high school, because the ISJ did not appoint the high school where they may attend the classes. As of September 2019, there were 3 children attending high school classes. However, it was reported that they had attended the classes for 2 months, but then they stopped as the teaching staff ignored them, and they were not integrated in the school activities. 2 sisters were enrolled at school the second day after their mother insisted before IGI-DAI that her children have to go to school.
Şomcuta Mare, 11 asylum seeking children were enrolled at school and attend classes. The enrolment procedure took around 1 month.
In Giurgiu, all the children were enrolled at school by JRS jointly with IGI-DAI. Even though ICAR Foundation representatives accompanied the children to school, they move to another city or refuse to attend, because they find difficult to adjust to the new school as it is very challenging to follow what is taught in class and they do not receive sufficient guidance by the teachers.
In Galaţi, on the other hand, according to JRS, children above the age of 16 attend courses of the “Second Chance” programme, as they feel uncomfortable at high school due to their lower level of Romanian and underprepared in the subjects, comparing with Romanian students. They can continue their studies under the “Second Chance” programme after reaching the age of 18. However, there were no children above the age of 16 in the centre in 2019.
Bucharest: the enrolment request for kindergarten and school is drafted by NGOs. At school, they are enrolled as students only after completing the Romanian language course and passing the exam. In 2019, the school no longer accepted to enrol children as observers, because children have to complete the preparatory classes and pass the exam first. 10 children accommodated in the Regional Centre Vasile Stolnicu were enrolled at school and attend classes. At kindergarten, children are enrolled upon availability. It was also reported that enrolment of children during the school year is almost impossible.
The Ombudsman also reported that there are difficulties in enrolling children at the 145-School. Children were accepted with reluctance in school and often they were seated in the last rows because they are foreigners and do not speak Romanian language.
Children accommodated at the DGASPC centre of Timişoara are enrolled at school. At the time of the author’s visit on 17-18 October 2019, there were no asylum-seeking children accommodated in this centre. There were only 2 children with tolerated status and 5 Afghan nationals who did not make asylum applications. The 2 children are enrolled at school and attend classes. AIDRom accommodated a child who was also attending school. AIDRom is the only entity providing Romanian language classes to asylum-seeking children and adults inside the different Regional Centres.
Following the 2015 reform, the Asylum Act foresees a free intensive preparatory course for asylum-seeking children in view of easing their access to education before the enrolment at the national education system. The training course is organised by the Ministry of National Education and Scientific Research, in collaboration with IGI-DAI. Children should be enrolled at the preparatory course within 3 months from the date their asylum application was made. At the same time, the child may be enrolled as an observer in the relevant year of study.
At the end of the preparatory course, an Evaluation Commission, whose composition and functioning are established by order of the Minister of National Education and Scientific Research assesses the level of knowledge of the Romanian language and establishes the registration of asylum seekers in the corresponding year of study.
As of 2019, the preparatory courses were provided in most of the regional centres, except Timișoara and Giurgiu.
In Galaţi, according to JRS, an ISJ professor offers courses for child asylum seekers and beneficiaries of international protection. The course for asylum-seeking children takes place twice a week and lasts 2 hours. Children learn Romanian language but also mathematics.
In Rădăuţi, as of October 2019, the preparatory classes are held for the asylum seeking children and beneficiaries of international protection. Two age groups were formed, one for 6 to 10 years of age and the other from 10 to 18 years of age. The classes are held separately by a professor from ISJ twice a week for each group of children. Children learn Romanian language, colour and play.
In Şomcuta Mare, a representative of ISJ is teaching Romanian language to asylum seekers and beneficiaries of international protection, adults and children.
In Bucharest, preparatory courses are held at the 145-School. During the preparatory classes, children learn Romanian language.
Asylum-seeking children with special needs enjoy the same alternative arrangements as those provided for Romanian children. Throughout 2019, there were no children with special needs in the Regional Centres of Timișoara, Galaţi, Rădăuţi, Giurgiu and Şomcuta Mare, except Bucharest. 4 children (brothers) with special needs were accommodated in the Regional Centre of Bucharest. 3 of them were enrolled at special schools, while the fourth was not able to attend school because of his medical condition (he was in a wheelchair and had severe mental disabilities).
 Article 17(1)(p) Asylum Act.
 Article 6(1) Asylum Decree.
 Article 16(1) and (2) Public Education Act.
 The “Second Chance” programme is aimed at adolescents, young people and adults from different social backgrounds and ages, who have not attended or have not completed primary and secondary education. The programme offers these categories of people the opportunity to continue and complete compulsory education without having to interrupt any professional or family activities they are engaged in.
 Ombudsman, Report 75/2015, 4.
 Article 18(1)-(4) Asylum Act.