Romanian school system staggers

Improper hygienic conditions and the old infrastructure of state schools have been regularly exposed to the general public via the media. “Half of the schools can be considered germ hotbeds” revealed Health Ministry Eugen Nicolaescu, just one week ago.

The rural areas face the bulk of the problems. The great majority of the school units are behind their repair and maintenance schedule. Over 40% of the rural schools do not have sources of running water. Deteriorated buildings, improper sanitation, very old and broken school furniture are the other major deficits of these scholar units. This all occurs despite the fact that the Romanian Government increased the 2006 budget percentage for improvement of the schools’ infrastructure.

Many schools and kindergartens in Romanian rural areas were built 30 to 40 years ago and a minimal or poor renovation job was done until today. “Solutions can be found, but it is essential for the Government, local authorities and communities to work hand in hand with NGOs to improve the infrastructure and hygienic conditions in rural schools and kindergartens. More funds are needed for rural schools. There is a serious discrepancy between rural and city education” says Nina Petre, Operational Manager for World Vision.

World Vision strives to support local authorities in improving the quality of education for the children in 6 Romanian counties, where the organization runs community development programs, so that kids can learn and grow up in a safe and healthy environment. To contribute to a better start, World Vision offered free school supplies and books for its beneficiaries. New playgrounds for children were set up and school laboratories were created in several rural communities. Schools received donations consisting of books, maps and teaching aids.

Particular attention is paid to children from flood affected areas in World Vision’s Area Development program (ADP) in Dolj as some of them are still displaced. One kindergarten in Olt County was supported with new furniture and audio devices while children from Rast village, the worst affected by Danube River flooding, received school supplies.

Besides the material and financial support, World Vision also advocates for the right of every child from rural schools and kindergartens to have access to good quality education and improved study conditions. Earlier this year the organization campaigned for “Equal opportunities for all children”. Funds were raised to support children from rural areas to have better access to education.

Nina Petra is articulate: "We urge the government to act quickly to still reach its set objectives this year, so that children find a safe and secure environment in which they can get full educational support".