BUCHAREST, December 3, 2015 — Today, the Government of Romania and the World Bank officially launched the implementation of the Romania Secondary Education Project (ROSE) during a conference held at the Central University Library Carol I. The project, financed with a €200 million World Bank loan, will be implemented by the Ministry of National Education and Scientific Research through 2022. It will support 80 percent of Romania’s public high schools and 85 percent of faculties to address factors preventing Romanian students from successfully transitioning from upper secondary to tertiary education and completing the first year of university.
“The ROSE Project is innovative, as it brings together for the first time the challenges faced by both the pre-university and the higher education system in Romania in the broader context of access, quality and equity,” said Adrian Curaj, Minister of National Education and Scientific Research. “A significant number of Romanian students are facing challenges in their transition to tertiary education every year, and helping these students is one of the top priorities of the Romanian Government. The Ministry’s commitment to improve the transition and retention rates will have to be accompanied by continuity in this endeavor beyond mandates of ministers so as to reach the desired impact.”
The conference has disseminated project information to key stakeholders in the education system—representatives of public education institutions, administration, and civil society—some of whom will directly benefit from grants and other forms of support provided by ROSE. The conference, attended by the Minister of National Education and Scientific Research, Mr. Adrian Curaj, the Minister of Public Finance, Ms. Anca Paliu Dragu, the World Bank Senior Director for Education Global Practice, Ms. Claudia Costin, the World Bank Practice Manager, Mr. Cristian Aedo, and the World Bank Country Manager for Romania and Hungary, Ms. Elisabetta Capannelli, also discussed Romania’s challenges and opportunities in the education sector.
“The World Bank has supported the education sector in Romania since the early ‘90s by investing over EUR235 million and providing major technical assistance. We have seen significant improvements so far and this is evidence of the importance of education to both the Government and the World Bank,” said Elisabetta Capannelli, World Bank Country Manager for Romania and Hungary. “Yet still, in the school year of 2011- 12 there were approximately 100,000 youth without the prospect of transitioning to tertiary education, representing 50% of the students enrolled in the final year of high school and around 20,000 university students dropped out in the first year of study. Today, we are launching a new project, ROSE to help address those issues. It is the largest World Bank project in the Europe and Central Asia region to support education. We are proud of the Romanians’ commitment to improve transition to higher education, retention of students in the first year of study and quality of the education system.”
ROSE targets support to address both academic and personal factors that lead students to drop out from school: remedial activities, tutoring, counseling, extracurricular activities, internships, summer bridge programs and learning centers. Beneficiaries include students enrolled in low-performing public high schools and in the first year of participating universities, as well as staff of these education institutions. In addition, the Project supports systemic interventions in upper secondary education, including the revision of the curriculum, associated teacher training and students’ assessment system in the country.
By the end of ROSE’s implementation, the Government of Romania and the World Bank expect to have reached 1.6 million of Romanian students in 1,160 high schools identified as “low-performing”, and in 300 faculties with students at risk of dropping out in their first year. Vulnerable and marginalized groups represent a priority for the Project. Extreme poverty and other socioeconomic disadvantages are major constraints in transitioning to tertiary education and acquiring higher-level skills essential for success in the labor market or more advanced levels of education.
As part of the World Bank engagement in Romania, the ROSE Project comes in addition to a broader program assisting the Ministry of National Education and Scientific Research to achieve its EU2020 targets, and supporting the implementation of the EU program for 2014-20 in the education sector.