Romania’s Governing coalition is under pressure following the decision of the education unions to go on strike starting this Monday. This is the second day of protests, and teachers refuse to go to classes. The result of the negotiations with the Government determined the unions to say the strike could take weeks.
Parents are unhappy with the situation, while kids must stay home alone or with an older relative. Nobody wins; all parties lose.
On the one hand, teachers lose, as each day of the strike diminishes their salary, which is considered a free day. On the other hand, kids lose, as they won’t be able to have their final grades if the strike continues longer. And thirdly, politicians lose, as they show the public their weakness when it comes to protests. Each governing coalition party is afraid to conduct the negotiations, as this might be the end of their political career.
But, besides all that, one should ask oneself: is Romanian education the best in Europe or, at least, among the best? Not at all.
“Educated Romania”, the assumed project of the current president, Klaus Joahnnis, is a failure. Besides, the PISA tests show Romanian students are becoming less interested in learning – only 77% of the pupils in the 12th grade registered for the baccalaureate exam. It’s the lowest percentage that Romanian teachers have ever seen. Last year, in the plain pandemic, 83% of the pupils registered for the exam.
In this context, the teachers’ strike is at least two-faced. They ask for higher salaries, as inflation is skyrocketing, but they cannot teach students properly. From this perspective, while also thinking about the challenges with the budgetary deficit, there is little chance for the Romanian Government to satisfy the teachers’ request.