Chisinau, February 5, 2010 – A group of World Bank experts are visiting Chisinau on February 1-7 aiming at assessing the activities related to piloting a new formula of financing for primary and secondary education institutions in Rascani and Causeni raions. The experts will also evaluate the availability of data on education to be used in the future by the sector, and by other relevant projects, which would contribute to improving access of children to quality education in our country.
„The World Bank highly appreciates the efforts of the Republic of Moldova in strengthening the quality of education, which are being advanced despite the economic crisis and the political changes," said Lars Sondergaard, Principal Economist, Europe and Central Asia region. „The World Bank supported Moldova in making these changes as early as 1996 through a start-up project; the second one – "Quality Education in the Rural Areas of Moldova" – was negotiated in 2006. The World Bank is pleased to note that solid steps have been undertaken to promote reforms in education, through amending the financing mechanism, thus enabling the system to better meet the needs of the students. Change was brought to the way schools operate, as well as through the elimination of certain norms that restricted the decision making process of managers of educational institutions."
In terms of school financing, the new financing formula is based on the principle "the money follows the student". This formula will allow a considerable improvement in the quality of education in the two pilot raions, through a fair distribution of public funds and their allocation based on the needs of each student. According to the new formula, 5 thousand lei per annum are allocated for each student in Rascani and Causeni raions, whereas primary and secondary education institutions receive 413 thousand lei.
With regard to resource management and decision making process, the managers of educational institutions together with the parents will decide how to spend the money allocated for each student. The new financing formula empowers managers of educational institutions to manage their own budget, making decisions how to spend money to attain quality education. The efficient management of the funds involves employment of auxiliary staff: boiler operators, janitors, guards, workers, based on the real needs of the educational institution and not according to some norms developed as far back as 1999.
Most European countries are at an advanced stage of similar reforms, the most recent examples include Bulgaria, Latvia and Romania. As the Republic of Moldova is trying to modernize its educational system and align it to European educational standards, the experience of the World Bank in this area could prove to be a useful tool to studying, adjusting and implementing existing good practices in Moldova. The success of other European countries in reforming educational systems could contribute to ensuring equity and efficiency in education, as well as improving the quality of education in Republic of Moldova.
It should be mentioned that these amendments to the financing formula and management of education are not conditioned by the current economic situation or the global financial crisis; they are generated by the crucial need to increase the quality of education. European countries, as well as other developed countries, discovered that their competitivity depends to a large extent on the competence and skills of their citizens. In order to develop these competencies and skills, education in schools should evolve from being focused on the teacher to one focused on the student. Schools should be attractive for highly qualified teaching staff capable not only of presenting information, but also to inoculate students with competencies, skills and attitudes required in a knowledge-based society. Students should have access to a large range of alternative education resources (teaching / educational materials, computers, access to Internet).
Bills for electricity, gas, water supply and sewage are to be paid from the same sources. The value of these bills will depend especially on the efficient management of the available space, thermal insulation of buildings, the efficiency of heating devices etc.
The formula was developed by the Quality Education in the Rural Areas in Moldova Project, financed by the World Bank. The financing formula is piloted as of January 1, 2010 in Causeni and Rascani raions. Training sessions were delivered in December 2009 to managers, accountants and staff from the Regional Educational Authority (DRÎTS).