Medium to long term, Romania seems to be heading towards more black and grey market, low starting salaries and poor working conditions with some islands or "normality" in the arge urban areas.
The fact that graduates are poorly trained and that the national economy cannot make much use of their skills is an important factor in the medium and long term unemployment/poor paid. Yet one should also look at the national economy per se which is, in general, unable to receive the high number of graduates. To say that all Romanian students and graduates from outside the country refuse to come back and make an effort for the betterment of the country would be a mistake. A significant number of graduates do come back to Romania, some of them enroll in the public system or the civic one and most of them either enter the corporate or entrepreneurship system.
There is a clear trend, although in small numbers, in the last 3-4 years for Romanians to come back and give their best in and for Romania. If this trend continues and expands, it might be possible that the next generation of young professionals to balance the young unemployment gap through public, civic and most of all entrepreneurial endeavors.
The educational system in any country represents the basis of its long term development as a nation, an economy and a state.
It is crucial to invest continuously and strategically in education as to foster the growth of citizens which guide their life upholding moral values and for which critical thinking, team work or civic and business responsibility which are building blocks of their personality.
If one would talk about an education system which would either focus on pragmatics of business efficiency and competitiveness or one focused on social issues, an important error might appear in such a construction, especially in a country like Romania.
Blame is everybody’s game. We all blame “the others” for the flaws of a system. In the context of the Romanian educational system, everybody could be blamed but that would result in little or no real effect on the future. What should be taken into account are the mistakes done in the past and avoid them for the future.
The main actors participating in education process should therefore be involved as much as possible – the state, the civic organizations dealing with education, the business environment, teachers and professors, non-formal experts and also, at various level students and parents.
Reforms in education
There are a number of types of reforms that can be implemented for the betterment of the Romanian education system and all these should be taken into account when a new strategy is involved. New strategies, especially in this field, will always hit a wave of resentment and strong opposition. Resistance to change and fatigue to over-reforming are inevitable and these can only be tackled through an inclusive medium-term dialogue which creates strong and resistant networks of people in key positions and good practices of dialogue which should provide a solid framework to “fix” the problems of this system.
There is a wide spread concern in what regards financial resources around the world, due to the various financial global and regional turmoil. As much as donor and pan-European organizations would like to invest in local education, this is beginning to be more and more difficult unless the state can also get involved with finance and infrastructure resources.
In the past 20 years Romania has seen a number of education reforms with various degrees of success and disappointments.
A successful educational system would help grow Romania’s competitiveness on the long term only if coupled with a stable legislative framework and a healthier economic environment. More emphasis on developing entrepreneurial skills, cooperative activities and self-awareness could lead to graduates ready to assume roles in developing small and medium businesses as to create a stronger layer of SMEs boosting the Romanian economy.
Private or public?
Public education is of tremendous importance as it offers all citizens equal possibilities. In the next period this system cannot fulfill all the requirements and needs of all pupils and should be coupled with an affordable private system that complements it and offers different opportunities for children and students.
A realistic number of graduates based on required specializations is quite difficult to attain as the market is constantly changing and this type of reform takes a long time to adapt. When it comes to specializations though, the large industrial and service providers actors should invest not only financial resources but also put in a large amount of time in creating public-private strategies as to offer job opportunities for various industries on the long run.