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New system reflects growing concers over poor results in the conventional exams that enable pupils to access higher education.
The upper chamber of Romania's parliament, the Senate, will on Monday approve a plan to introduce vocational school-leaving exams that will qualify students for special vocational training, not for university studies.
The plan, proposed by the Education Ministry, reflects growing concern over consecutive poor results in graduation exams.
Just under half of all twelfth grade pupils passed their university entry qualification exams this year. In 2011 around 44 per cent of high school pupils failed the exam.
The number of failure grades increased significantly since the authorities decided to raise education standards and clamp down on cheating.
Copying during examinations was widespread under the Communist regime. After 1990, the shortage of jobs motivated many students to try to graduate with flying colours at any price. Only successful candidates can enter university.
Education experts have welcomed the change. “Romania's education system remains rigid, as vocational training is weak and poorly coordinated with the needs of the labour market,” journalist Ciprian Domnisoru said.
“Introducing a vocational school-leaving exam is a welcome proposal... plumbers and waiters will now have a diploma that distinguishes them from those that didn't make any effort with their school-leaving exams,” he added.
Experts say that delays in reforming matters have damaged the quality of the educational system.
Since 1989, there have been about 20 different ministers of education and while each ministers has argued explicitly for reform, their different visions only added to the confusion.
Education in Romania is also under-financed. The education budget has dropped to just 3.6 per cent of GDP this year, well below the average European rate of around 5 per cent.
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