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The Romania K-12 Education System

The Romanian education system is administered by the Ministry of Education, Research, Youth and Sports (In Romanian: Ministerul Educatiei, Cercetarii, Tineretului si Sportului). The general legal framework for the management, operation and regulation of education is determined by the Constitution through the Education Law. 

Each level of education has its own form of structuring and is subject to different laws and regulations. Education in Romania is based on a tuition-free system. 

Compulsory Education

In Romania, compulsory education is of 11 years.

K-12 Education Levels

Pre-School Education (Kindergarten)

 The pre-school education- kindergarten prepares children for later school years. Kindergarten education is public as well private in Romania. Public kindergarten do not charge any tuition fee, while private kindergartens charge tuition fees, depending on the services provided and location of the institution.  

Age: 3 -6 years (or 7 years old)
Duration: 3 years  

This educational level is optional and is split up into four groups. Children are organised as per the age group:
  • Small Group (Grupa Mică) for children aged 3 to 4
  • Middle Group (Grupa Mijlocie) for children aged 4 to 5
  • Big Group (Grupa Mare) for children aged 5 to 6
  • School Preparation Class (Pregătire pentru școală) for children aged 6 to 7
Each group consists of 1 to 2 teachers and the class strength is generally 10-15 children. There are different class schedules for children:
  • Short schedule/normal programme: This schedule starts from 8am and ends at 1 pm. It runs for 4 hours a day
  • Medium schedule: This schedule starts at 8am to 3pm. It runs for 7-8hours a day.
  • Long schedule: It begins at 8 am and concludes at 5-6 pm. It runs for 11 hours a day. 
In kindergarten grading or marking is not done, thereby encouraging and building a positive aplomb of the children and thus allowing them to progress. 

Primary Education

Primary education as per the latest amendment to the education law, the ‘School Preparation Group’ or ‘Preparatory Group’ (Pregatire pentru scoala) for children aged 6–7 was put as the first phase of the primary education.
Students can take admission to the first grade of primary school when they turn 6 or 7. 
  • Age: 7-11
  • Grades: 1-4
  • Duration: 4 years
Students during their primary school study compulsory and optional subjects.

Compulsory subjects: Mathematics, Romanian language and literature, science, practical skills, geography, modern languages, art, music, religion, sports, civics, and history.

Optional subjects: These are certain subjects that the school put forward to pupils in a particular area.

During the primary education, grading is given as:
  • Insufficient refers to failed
  • Sufficient (S) or satisfactory refers to barely passing
  • Excellent and Good refers to passing

Secondary Education

Lower-Secondary Education

The lower-secondary education is mandatory in Romania and takes place in 2 phases 

Gymnasium or middle-school (lower-secondary):  This gymnasium continues the primary education built in the first 4 grades.
  • Grades: 5-8
  • Ages: 10-14
  • Duration: 4 years 
Students are required to pass a “national test examination” in order to pass the gymnasium. The examination assesses students’ knowledge in the fields of Mathematics and Romanian language and literature. This examination is considered for admittance to high school.

Professional education: Students who undertake professional education receive a level 1 professional qualification.
  • Grades: 9-10
  • Age: 14-16 years
Pupils who are not interested to go for high school after gymnasium  can opt for professional school, thereby receiving professional qualification that prepares them for the job marketplace. 

Professional schools in Romania provide professional qualification in the following fields: Forestry, mechanics, theology, textile and leather industry, food industry, commerce, electro-mechanics, agriculture, electronics and automation, aesthetics and human body health, manufacture of wood products, Industrial chemistry, Construction materials, printing techniques, Public Constructions and Installations, and Tourism and Food.

Upper-Secondary Education 

The upper-secondary education in Romania is provided by high schools. 
  • Grades: 9-11
  • Age group: 14-18/19
Grades 9 and 10 are mandatory to attend, while grade 11 and 12 are optional.

Admission: Students are accepted on the basis of the national test examination results and the average degree of the gymnasium. 

Types of High Schools

In Romania, there are 5 types of high schools, based on the education type and academic performance.

National College (Colegiu Naţional): This is the well-known high school in Romania. These schools take part in at least one international program such as Cervantes, SOCRATES, Eurolikes etc. 

Military College (Colegiu Militar): There are three high schools managed ad regulated by the Ministry of National Defense.  These schools are very strict and follow the army rules and regulations. The Military Colleges are Colegiul Militar Liceal Mihai Viteazu in Alba Iulia, Colegiul Militar Liceal Ştefan cel Mare inCampulung Moldovenesc and Colegiul Militar Liceal Dimitrie Cantemir in Breaza.

Economic College or Technical College (Colegiu Economic or Colegiu Tehnic): These high schools have good academic and the study programmes are based on technical education or services.

Liceu (Standard High school): These high school provide many academic programmes and the type of academic program provided is added after this designation, such as Liceul Teoretic Dimitrie Bolintineanu or Liceul Economic Ion Luca Caragiale)

Grup Şcolar: This refers to a group of two schools: These high schools provide academic programmes in the area of technical or service education, and a Craft and Trade School. 

Each type of high-school is free to provide one or more academic programmes or profile. 

Branches of High-School

High-schools in Romania have the following branches/profiles: theoretical, technological and vocational.

Theoretical 

The theoretical branch provides 2 profiles: real and humanistic.

Science (Profil Real): This profile provides focuses on mathematics, earth studies and computer programming.  This is the most demanding of all the academic programmes, and offers subjects that are required for higher education admissions. There are 15 different subjects per year, and required 30–35 hours in a week. 

Humanities (Profil Uman): This profile focuses on social studies and modern languages. This profile consists of 3 or 4 modern languages, 4 years of Latin or Ancient Greek, Romanian and foreign literature, 2 years of social sciences, history and geography. This profile requires more than 30–35 hours in a week. 

Technological

The technological branch provides 3 profiles: technical, services, natural resources and environmental protection.

Technical programs (Profil ethnic) This profile provide education in technical field such as industrial, train driver and mechanic, industrial machine operator, etc. The subjects included are technical, with some physics, math and chemistry.

Services and Economics programs (Profil economic): This profile provides qualification in the areas of services, such tourism operator, waiter, or chef.

Vocational

The vocational branch (Profil vocaţional ) consists of 5 profiles: theological, military, arts and educational, public order and public security, and sports. This profile provides qualification in a non-technical field, such as assistant architect, kindergarten educator, etc.  The subjects are based on humanities. Art, music, design high schools, and religious high schools are also a part of the vocational branch. Admittance is done on the basis of special exam organized individually by the institutions, except the National Tests in music or art.

Specializations in each branch:

 Branch Profile Specialisation
 Theoretical Humanistic Philology, Social Sciences
  Real Mathematics-Informatics, Natural Sciences
 Technological Technical Automation and Electronics, Media Production Printing Techniques, Electro-mechanics,  Electric, Mechanical, Building Materials, Chemical industries, Construction, Public construction and installations, Manufacturing of wood products, Textiles leather
  Services Tourism and public food, Trade, Economic, Food Industry
  Natural resources and Environmental protection Environmental protection, Agriculture, Forestry 
 Vocational Military Military-music; Mathematics-Informatics ; Social sciences
  Theological Orthodox, Catholic, Evangelical-Lutheran, Baptist, Pentecostal, Adventist, Unitarian, Reformed, Muslim
  Sports 54 de discipline sportive de specializare
  Arts and education Architecture, Environmental art and design, Decorative Arts, Choreography, Music, Acting, Teacher, Librarian, Instructor

Examination

The high school studies in Romania end up with a baccalaureate examination. Students who pass the baccalaureate exam receive the baccalaureate diploma. Only pupils in the technological and vocational branches are required to take additional examination- a qualification examination along with a baccalaureate examination. Students who pass the qualification examination receive a qualification certificate.   

Post High-School (Non-University) 

Post high-school education is provided through post-high schools. These schools offer professional training. 
  • Duration: 1- 3 years 
This form of education is conducted by the technological high-schools. High-school graduates whether they hold a baccalaureate diploma or not ca attend post high school education. Admission to such schools is free. 

Specialization Areas: Theology, mechanics, aesthetics and human body health; 
informatics, agriculture, printing techniques, automation and electronics, food industry, commerce, electro-mechanics, Industrial chemistry, textile and leather industry, forestry, construction materials, manufacture of wood products, public constructions and installations,  and tourism and food. 

Grading System

The secondary as well as post-secondary education uses a 10-point grading scale. To know about primary and secondary schools grading, click here

School Academic Year

The school year in Romania begins in the mid- September and concludes in the mid- June of the following year. The school year is split up into 2 semesters: 

First semester starts from September and ends in January
Second semester starts in February and ends in  June.

Holidays: There are 2-3 holidays during school year, a summer break between the school year that starts from June and ends in September.
In total there are about 35 school weeks for 172 days of school.
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