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Wednesday, 14 July 2021

Statements by President Klaus Iohannis and Prime Minister Florin Cîțu at the beginning of the Cabinet meeting

 

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Florin Cîțu: Good afternoon. Today, President of Romania, Klaus Iohannis honours us with his presence at this Cabinet meeting that he is presiding over. As you know, today, we will approve in this Cabinet meeting, the memorandum on the 'Educated Romania' Project. Mr President, you have the floor.

Klaus Iohannis: Thank you, Mr Prime Minister. Ministers, today is an extremely important day for the future of education in our country. We move forward together decisively towards the implementation of the 'Educated Romania' project. I thank you for the collaboration until now and I am convinced that you will make every effort so that we change the Romanian education system for the better. Its reform is mandatory if we want future generations to benefit from quality education and real chances to be competitive in the continually and rapidly changing labour market.

'Educated Romania' project has democratic legitimacy, it is a project based on the amplest national consultation in the field of post-December education.

 We have all the requisites to prioritize investments in education and to create an adequate framework for the reforms that Romanian education needs so much. 'Educated Romania' project benefits from important financial support through the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (PNRR), worth 3.6 billion euros. A fully developed country, with enhanced democracy, has an educated and well-informed population. We cannot continue with such high school dropout rates, functional and scientific illiteracy rates. Faced with these problems, the 'Educated Romania' project puts forward concrete, objective solutions, ambitious and realistic measures and targets.

 Among our concrete objectives, I remind reducing the school dropout rate, functional and scientific illiteracy rate, providing teachers and pupils with basic digital competencies, developing vocational education as well as increasing the number of university graduates.

'Educated Romania' project is one very close to my soul, I believe it is at the same time a historical opportunity, and also a great responsibility for the current political class to generate change in the long term, not only solve the specific issues of a single electoral cycle.

The Romanian Government proved it is capable of coping with complex situations and crises. I am sure that the Executive’s involvement will make the operationalization of the 'Educated Romania' project possible in a predictable and efficient manner. At the same time, consistent participation at the parliamentary level is important to exist in passing the necessary legislation.

Dear Members of the Cabinet,

Romanians are expecting a coherent implementation plan, with realistic terms and persons responsible, which would place the education system on the necessary track: one of coherence, responsibility, stability and professionalism.

The only train towards a better future is education. Only thus can we offer children and youths in Romania the chance to fully capitalize on the opportunities that a modern economy and a democratic society has to offer. Romania is facing a marked demographic decline. We don't have the time to waste the potential of our youth. We cannot afford to prepare them with instruments from the past for the needs of the future. We are not allowed to leave any child behind! We must act now! I am standing with you in the implementation phase of the 'Educated Romania' project. I wish you good luck and thank you for your involvement in this project. Thank you, Prime Minister!

Florin Cîțu: Thank you, Mr President. I am glad that during the tenure of the government I am leading, we approve this memorandum on the implementation of the comprehensive project 'Educated Romania,' a project initiated by you, Mr President. There is a need for reform, especially in education, because by reforming and modernizing Romanian education we are actually investing in the future!

It is a country project and we, the decision-makers, are duty-bound to implement it. It is our duty to society, to the pupils, to the students, including to the employers who need people with solid bases and knowledge, and for that, we need to increase the quality of education.

We must be aware of the need for improvements in the education system for every pupil, student or teacher, regardless of their background. We need to reduce the school dropout rate, inequities, adapt to technology innovation, and invest in dual education. I want to welcome the goals of this project and I will mention just a few of them: reducing early school leaving, reducing the functional illiteracy rate by at least 50% so that by 2030 it will not exceed 20%. By 2030, all teachers and at least 85% of students will have basic digital skills.

As you all know, the 'Educated Romania' project is included in the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (PNRR), and benefits from an important amount of 3.6 billion euros.  The Government will make use of other European funds as well to provide 400 million euros for the refurbishment of public pre-university education units. We will build new schools and kindergartens. We need them!

Mr President, I guarantee you that, as we are partners in the reforms we have undertaken for the Romanian state, I will also be a reliable partner to turn this project into reality.

After the passage of this memorandum, we will move on to the following levels: setting up an inter-ministerial working group, coordinated by the Prime Minister, which will prepare quarterly reports monitoring the implementation of the 'Educated Romania' project, deadline - August 1, 2021; passing a government decision Action Plan with deadlines and responsibilities for implementation, deadline - September 10, 2021; drawing up a legislative package to ensure the implementation of the 'Educated Romania' project, deadline - October 1, 2021; holding consultations with social partners, representatives of parents' associations, the business community and NGOs to finalize the legislative package, implementation deadline: October-November 2021.

Later on, this project will have to be passed as soon as possible by the Romanian Parliament as the entire political class, regardless of party affiliation, must be aware that 'Educated Romania' has to become law!

 We need an 'educated Romania,' we need reforms for a strong and liberal Romania!

Mr President, thank you! Along with the entire Cabinet, we are your partners in turning 'Educated Romania' into reality. 



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