Romania - Introduction

country: Romania

According to the Education Law (Law 84/1995) universities and other higher education institutions are autonomous and have the right to establish and implement their own development policies, within the general provisions of the in-force legislation. The Ministry of Education, Research and Youth coordinates the activity of the universities and other higher education institutions, complying with their autonomy. The university autonomy is correlated with the principle of personal and public accountability for the quality of the entire teaching and scientific research activity accomplished by the higher education institution.

In Romania the national education system has an open character. At the higher education level, the open character is ensured through the University Charter. The University Charter is adopted by the university senate and establishes the assembly of rights and obligations, as well as the norms that regulate the university community activity within each area. The university autonomy encompasses the domains of management, structuring and functioning of the higher education institutions, teaching and scientific research activities, administration and financing. From the financing point of view, the university autonomy is accomplished through the right to manage the funds from the state-budget and other sources, according to the provisions of the law and personal accountability. Public higher education is financed from the state budget based on financing contracts signed between the Ministry of Education, Research and Youth and the higher education institutions. The entire material basis of higher education is the property of and administrated by the higher education institutions.

Higher education is accomplished through universities, academies of study and post-university studies institutions. The mission of the higher education institutions is either education and research or only education. Specialisations and specialisations groups’ nomenclature are established by the Ministry of Education, Research and Youth in cooperation with the Ministry of Labour, Social Solidarity and Family, the higher education institutions as well as other interested players. Higher education institutions usually include several faculties, university colleges - colegiu universitar, departments, chairs and units for scientific research, design and micro-production.

The enrolment quota financed from the state/local budget(s) for all education levels is established yearly through Decisions of the Government (Decision of the Government 405/2006 regarding approval of the enrolment quota for higher education for the academic year 2006/2007). According to the Education Law, only high school graduates holding a diploma de bacalaureat can be admitted in higher education. The higher education institutions establish the admission methodology, according to the general criteria established by the Ministry of Education, Research and Youth. The selection and admission procedure can rely on: the average mark obtained by the candidates at the national exam – examenul de bacalaureat and at various subjects studied during high school, as well as the mark obtained at an entrance examination entirely organised by the higher education institution. Higher education institutions are authorised to accept a number of students exceeding the number of placements financed from the state-budget, subject to students’ agreement to support the costs for the education provided (Law 441/2001). The Ministry of Education, Research and Youth approves the exact number of paid-placements for each higher education institution every year, based on the propositions of the university senates and according to the national standards for academic evaluation and accreditation. The educational fee is established by the university senate according to the costs of the education provided.

All students benefit of free medical and psychological assistance in universities’ or other public medical and psychological units. Students also benefit throughout the entire year of 50% reduction of the cost for internal public transportation (except air-travel) as well as for entrances to museums, concerts, theatres, opera, movies and other cultural and sports events organised by public institutions. Orphaned students benefit of free internal public transportation (except air-travel). As for all education levels, scholarships and other forms of financial/material support are granted according to specific criteria. Until the academic year 2005/2006, tertiary education was organised in short-term education (3 years) and long-term education (4-6 years). Short-term higher education was provided in university colleges - colegiu universitar established within long-term higher education institutions.

Finalisation of the shortterm higher education was accomplished through a graduation exam, organised based on the criteria established by the Ministry of Education, Research and Youth and a methodology established by the university senates. Graduates passing the graduation exam received a graduation diploma specifying the acquired specialisation domain, whilst students who did not pass the graduation exam could receive, upon request, a short-term higher education certificate – certificat de studii universitare de scurtă durată and a copy of the matriculation fiche – foaia matricolă. Short-term higher education graduates holding a graduation diploma could continue their studies in long-term higher education in the same or similar specialisations, based on admission criteria established by the long-term higher education institutions. Long-term higher education was provided in universities institutions and academies of study, within faculties and specialisations temporary authorised or accredited. Finalisation of the long-term higher education was accomplished through an exam – examenul de licenţă – organised based on the general criteria established by the Ministry of Education, Research and Youth. The content of the exams and the specific criteria were established by university senates. Graduates passing the examenul de licenţă received the title Licenţiat in the corresponding profile and specialisation. Graduates that did not pass the exam or the diploma exam could receive, upon request, a long-term higher education certificate – certificat de studii universitare de lungă durată and a copy of the matriculation fiche – foaia matricolă.

Students or graduates wanting to pursue a teaching career have the obligation to attend and pass the courses organised by the Teacher Training Department. Post-graduate education (also referred to as 'post-university studies') is organised in higher education institutions and post-university studies schools accredited for this purpose and is accomplished through: DEA studies, master-degree studies, academic post-university studies, doctoral studies, specialty post-university studies, in-service postuniversity training courses and specific forms of post-university medical studies. Except for the doctoral studies, admission for post-university studies is organised based on the general criteria established by the Ministry of Education, Research and Youth and the specific criteria established by the university senates. Admission, organisation and functioning of the doctoral studies are regulated through decision of the Government. For all education levels involved, the curricula are established autonomously by the higher education institutions, according to the national strategies for higher education development and the national academic standards.

Starting with 2005/06 academic year, all higher education institutions, private and public, are obliged by the 2004 Law to implement the new 3-cycle structure: Bachelor, Master and Doctorate. Students enrolled in the first year in 2005/06 began their studies based on the 3-cycle structure.

Official regulations related to the new structure apply to all types of institutions (accredited or temporarily authorised), branches and fields of study, except the courses related to professions regulated at European Union level. Each cycle has its own admissions and graduation procedures. Durations of study cycles, corresponding to various fields and areas of specialisation, have been established by the Ministry of Education, Research and Youth on the basis of proposals from the National Council of Rectors and have been approved by government decision. Special norms concerning the study conditions applicable to regulated professions adopted at European level have been established within the Romanian higher education system. The first (Bachelor’s) cycle includes a minimum of 180 and a maximum of 240 transferable study credits equivalent to ECTS, and lasts three to four years, depending on the field and area of specialisation. The second Master includes a minimum of 90 and a maximum of 120 transferable study credits (in exceptional cases and depending on the length of the first cycle, the lower limit may be 60 transferable study credits), and lasts one to two years. Both cycles should enable the accumulation of at least 300 transferable study credits Long studies are still provided alongside those with a 3-cycle structure, being undertaken by students enrolled in higher education institutions before 2005/06.

The new structure does not apply to ISCED 5B programmes. According to the 2004 Law, university colleges - colegiu universitar, the only Romanian institutions providing programmes belonging to ISCED 5B, will enter into a liquidation process or courses provided by these institutions will be reorganised into ISCED 5A courses, in existing or related domains. As a result, ISCED 5B programmes will no longer exist and will be suppressed in 2007/08.

The National Agency for Qualification and Partnership between Universities and the Social-Economic Environment (ACPART) was established in 2005 in order to elaborate the National Qualification Framework and to support opening of the higher education institutions to the society and economy. ACPART is a public institution with legal personality subordinated to the Ministry of Education, Research and Youth. The institutional framework was established to improve knowledge transfer from research to economy and to increase higher education institutions participation to the social-economic development. This institutional framework consists of the scientific and technological parks – defined as a common area for education, research, technological transfer and economic activities. The scientific and technological parks are established based on a contract between an accredited higher education institution on one side and state or private enterprises, local public administration, employers or professional associations, Romanian or foreign investors, on the other side.

The in-force legislation consents to and provides the general framework for the establishment of private education institutions of all levels, including universities and other higher education institutions. In order to be recognised as part of the national education system, private education institutions have to be accredited through specific procedures established by the law. Establishment of public or private higher education institutions is possible only through dedicated laws, according to the higher education institutions accreditation and diploma recognition procedures. Diplomas and certificates emitted by the accredited private education institutions produce the same effects as the ones emitted by the public education institutions. Organizing bodies of private education institutions are entirely responsible for the administration and financing of the activities within the established legal framework.

According to the provisions of the Education Law (Law 84/1995), tertiary education is provided in Romanian Language. The persons belonging to the national minorities have the right to study and be instructed in their mother tongue at all levels and forms of education as well as in all types of education – providing there is a sufficient demand. In consequence, study lines in Hungarian and German for students belonging to these national minorities are organised in several higher education institutions. Besides this, certain higher education institutions organise departments for initial teacher training for teaching the languages of national minorities in pre-university education. At the same time, the Education Law (Law 84/1995) states that learning of Romanian, as the official language, is compulsory for all Romanian citizens, irrespective of their nationality.


National Agency for Qualifications in Higher Education and Partnership with the Social and Economic Environment

Ministry of Education, Research and Youth

Ministry of Labour, Family and Equal Opportunities


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Date: 2009
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