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Romania

General themes

VET in Romania comprises the following main features:

  • VET has a double role: promoting economic and social development in the country; it supports addressing challenges linked to very low participation in lifelong learning and a high share of early leavers from education and training;
  • training standards were updated in 2016 to increase the relevance of qualifications to the labour market.

Since 2017/18, a dual form of initial VET has also been available; participation is growing but still low.

Distinctive features ([1]Cedefop (2019). Spotlight on vocational education and training in Romania. Luxembourg: Publications Office.
http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/8128_en.pdf
):

Distinctive features of initial VET are its inclusiveness, with pathways among different levels of learning and between vocational and more academic tracks, and its focus on easing progression and avoiding dead ends. Reflecting the double role of VET in promoting economic as well as social development, initial VET’s main goals are to ensure:

  • learners’ personal and professional development;
  • equal access opportunities to VET;
  • high-quality provision, organisation and development.

Initial VET qualifications are based on training standards which describe the training process in units of learning outcomes and include, for each unit, an assessment standard. The standards were revised in 2016, to help increase VET labour market relevance by ensuring a better match between qualifications and the reality of working life after graduation.

Creating sector committees, which represent the various sectors of the economy, made the involvement of social partners in designing and assessing vocational qualifications more systemic. To ease education planning, social partners also participate in partnerships at regional level (regional consortia) and local level (local committees for social partnership development in VET).

During the past decade, Romania has developed a system for validating non-formally or informally acquired skills and competences. In line with guidelines adopted by the National Authority for Qualifications, procedural arrangements have been put in place to create a network of providers acting as validation/assessment centres. These centres are active in more than half of the counties.

Investments to support the institutional development of education and training are still few.

The main challenges are unequal access to education and training and the high rate of early leaving; this particularly affects children in rural areas, from poor communities, and Roma. The 2015-20 Strategy to reduce early school leaving was developed to address these challenges, and a mechanism will be established for early warning and intervention that will help detect young learners at risk of leaving school.

Another challenge is to reduce youth unemployment by fostering skills acquisition and securing smooth and sustainable transitions from education and training to the labour market.

The National Centre for Technical and Vocational Education and Training Development introduced the dual form as part of initial VET, leading to a level 3 EQF qualification; it will be extended to levels 4 and 5 EQF. The VET Strategy 2016-20 aims for better links between VET provision and labour market demand. In this respect the centre will launch in 2019 an ESF-funded project that will develop:

  • a mechanism for quality-assuring work-based learning and certification of learning outcomes;
  • a mechanism to adjust the education and training offer to labour market demand;
  • a monitoring system for initial VET graduates;
  • a mechanism for identifying, rewarding and promoting excellence in initial VET.

Continuing VET also addresses the unemployment challenge, with variable duration training programmes linked to labour market needs; depending on the EQF qualification level addressed, these can be from 180 hours for level 1 to 1 080 for level 4.

Participation in lifelong learning is the lowest in the EU and has slightly fallen since 2013. The attractiveness of CVET, and the participation of adults in it, are also of concern. The 2015-20 Strategy for lifelong learning is currently addressing these challenges with a number of actions to increase participation in training, improve recognition of prior learning (including non-formal and informal), increase the quality and relevance of training through a new act on quality assurance in adult learning, and coordinate stakeholder actions. In November 2018, the labour ministry developed a list of elementary occupations giving unskilled adults access to participation in programmes leading to qualifications at EQF level 1, such as six-month apprenticeship programmes.

Data from VET in Romania Spotlight 2019 ([2]Cedefop (2016). Spotlight on vocational education and training in Romania. Luxembourg: Publications Office.
http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/8128_en.pdf
).

Population in 2018: 19 530 631 ([3]NB: Data for population as of 1 January; break in series. Eurostat table tps00001 [extracted 16.5.2019].)

It decreased since 2013 by 2.4% due to negative natural growth and emigration ([4]NB: Data for population as of 1 January; break in series. Eurostat table tps00001 [extracted 16.5.2019].).

As in many other EU countries, the population is ageing.

The old-age dependency ratio is expected to increase from 25 in 2015 to 57 in 2060 ([5]Old-age-dependency ratio is defined as the ratio between the number of persons aged 65 and more over the number of working-age persons (15-64). The value is expressed per 100 persons of working age (15-64).).

 

Population forecast by age group and old-age-dependency ratio

Source: Eurostat, proj_15ndbims [extracted 16.5.2019].

 

Demographic changes have an impact on VET.

Participation in secondary education has been decreasing, leading to optimisation of the school network: merging, and sometimes closing, schools.

Since 2012/13, the number of VET upper secondary schools has decreased by 8.5% ([6]INS-TEMPO-online database: education units, by categories of units, ownerships, macro regions, development regions and counties [SCL101A] at the beginning of school year; exclude ‘vocational’ high schools (military, theology, sports, music, visual arts, theatre, cultural heritage, choreography, pedagogy).). School network optimisation required offering additional transportation for learners; this issue is addressed by local authorities.

The country is multicultural. According to the most recent census, 88.9% of the population declared themselves as Romanians, 6.1% as ethnic Hungarians and 3% as Roma ([7]INS (2011). Recensământul Populaţiei şi al Locuinţelor [Census of population and housing].
http://www.recensamantromania.ro/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/REZULTATE-DEFINITIVE-RPL_2011.pdf
). Their residential density varies across the country.

For the Hungarian population enrolled in initial VET, teaching may also be provided in Hungarian.

Most companies are micro and small-sized.

Services are the main economic sector in terms of contribution to gross value added to the national economy. They accounted for 62.7% of all economic activities in 2017. The share of industry was 32.5% and agriculture 4.8% ([8]NB: Provisional data. Source: Eurostat table, nama_10_a10 [extracted 7.3.2019].).

The main export sectors are:

  • machinery/mechanical appliances, electronics, electrical equipment and its parts (28.4% of total export in 2017); 
  • transportation means and associated equipment (18.1%);
  • base metals and their products (8.5%).

Employers value formal qualifications that are often a prerequisite for hiring qualified staff.

Total unemployment ([9]Percentage of active population, 25 to 74 years old.) in 2018: 3.3% (6.0% in EU 28); it decreased by 1.0 percentage point since 2008 ([10]Eurostat table une_rt_a [extracted 20.5.2019].).

 

Unemployment rate (aged 15-24 and 25-64) by education attainment level in 2008-18

NB: Data based on ISCED 2011; breaks in time series; low reliability for ISCED 5-8, age 15-24. ISCED 0-2 = less than primary, primary and lower secondary education.
ISCED 3-4 = upper secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary education.
ISCED 5-8 = tertiary education.
Source: Eurostat, lfsa_urgaed [extracted 16.5.2019].

 

Unemployment is distributed unevenly between those with low- and high-level qualifications, but the gaps are small. The differences are bigger for the age group 15-24. There, people with higher qualifications (ISCED levels 5-8) were more exposed to unemployment than those with lower qualifications (ISCED levels 0-2) during the economic crisis years.

Unemployment levels have been steady since the pre-crisis period; ISCED level 5-8 graduates were affected the most by the crisis. In 2018, the unemployment rate of people with medium-level qualifications, including most VET graduates (ISCED levels 3 and 4), was lower compared to the pre-crisis years. It was similar to the total unemployment rate ([11]Percentage of active population, 25 to 74 years old.) in Romania (3.3%).

The employment rate of 20 to 34-year-old VET graduates increased from 77.5% in 2014 to 79.5% in 2018 ([12]Eurostat table edat_lfse_24 [extracted 16.5.2019].).

 

Employment rate of VET graduates (20 to 34 years old, ISCED levels 3 and 4)

NB: Data based on ISCED 2011; breaks in time series.
ISCED 3-4 = upper secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary education.
Source: Eurostat, edat_lfse_24 [extracted 16.5.2019].

 

The increase (+2.0pp) in employment of 20-34 year-old VET graduates at ISCED levels 3 and 4 in 2014-18 was slower compared to the increase in employment of all 20-34 year-old graduates (+2.8 pp) in the same period in Romania ([13]NB: Breaks in time series. Source: Eurostat, edat_lfse_24 [extracted 16.5.2019].).

However, the employment rate of 20-34 year-old VET graduates at ISCED levels 3 and 4 in 2018 in Romania (79.5%) was higher compared to the employment rate of all 20-34 year-old graduates in the same year (76.7%).

In 2018, the share of population aged 25 to 64 with upper secondary education including vocational education (ISCED levels 3 and 4) was 60.7%, the fourth highest in the EU.

The share of 25-64 year-olds with low or without education was 21.5%, slightly less than the EU average. 17.8% of the population had a higher education diploma.

 

Population (aged 25 to 64) by highest education level attained in 2018

NB: Data based on ISCED 2011. Low reliability for ‘No response’ in Czechia, Iceland, Latvia and Poland. ISCED 0-2 = less than primary, primary and lower secondary education.
ISCED 3-4 = upper secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary education.
ISCED 5-8 = tertiary education.
Source: Eurostat, lfsa_pgaed [extracted 16.5.2019].

 

Share of learners in VET by level in 2017

lower secondary

upper secondary

post-secondary

not applicable

56.2%

100%

Source: Eurostat, educ_uoe_enrs01, educ_uoe_enrs04 and educ_uoe_enrs07 [extracted 16.5.2019].

 

Share of initial VET learners from total learners at upper secondary level (ISCED level 3), 2017

NB: Data based on ISCED 2011.
Source: Eurostat, educ_uoe_enrs04 [extracted 16.5.2019].

 

Traditionally, there are more males in VET (57.9% in 2016 in upper secondary education), except at post-secondary level ([14]Source: Eurostat tables educ_uoe_enrs01, educ_uoe_enrs04 and educ_uoe_enrs07 [extracted 26.2.2019].).

Romanian initial VET offer is provided within:

  • the professional school (three-year VET programme, leading to level EQF level 3 qualification), and the dual initial VET that is currently provided at EQF level 3;
  • technological high schools / colleges (four-year technological programmes leading to EQF level 4, ISCED 354 (liceu tehnologic);
  • technological high schools / colleges (one- to three-year higher VET programmes leading to a professional qualification at EQF level 5, ISCED 453).

There are three main study fields: technical, services, natural resources and environmental protection.

Males prefer the technical field, whereas females enrol more often in services and natural resources and environmental protection.

The share of early leavers from education and training has decreased from 16.6% in 2009 to 16.4% in 2018. In 2009-18, it has been above the national target for 2020 of not more than 11.3% and the EU-28 average (10.6% in 2018).

 

Early leavers from education and training in 2009-18

NB: Share of the population aged 18 to 24 with at most lower secondary education and not in further education or training; break in series.
Source: Eurostat, edat_lfse_14 [extracted 16.5.2019] and European Commission: https://ec.europa.eu/info/2018-european-semester-national-reform-programmes-and-stability-convergence-programmes_en [accessed 14.11.2018].

 

Drop-out rate ([15]School dropout rate is the difference between the number of learners enrolled at the beginning and registered at the end of the same school year divided by the total number of learners enrolled at the beginning of the school year.) among VET learners is higher compared with general education and is predominant among groups at risk: young people in rural communities and/or from low-income families, Roma and other minorities, and those required to repeat the same grade because of poor performance. There are also disparities between regions. For example, in the north-east region drop-out is 23.6% compared with 11.3% in the west region. It is also 1.5 times higher in rural than in urban areas in lower secondary education ([16]Ministry of National Education (2015). Strategy to reduce early school leaving 2015-20, approved by Government Decision No 417/2015.
https://edu.ro/strategia-privind-reducerea-p%C4%83r%C4%83sirii-timpurii-%C8%99colii-%C3%AEn-rom%C3%A2nia
) ([17]Eurostat, edat_lfse_16 [extracted 17.9.2018].).

The 2015-20 strategy ([18]Ministry of National Education (2015). Strategy to reduce early school leaving 2015-20. Approved by Government Decision No 417/2015.
https://edu.ro/strategia-privind-reducerea-p%C4%83r%C4%83sirii-timpurii-%C8%99colii-%C3%AEn-rom%C3%A2nia
) aims to address the issue of early leaving from education and training. It combines prevention, intervention (especially at school and learner levels) and compensation measures.

Lifelong learning offers training opportunities for adults, including early leavers from education.

 

Participation in lifelong learning in 2014-18

NB: Share of adult population aged 25 to 64 participating in education and training.
Source: Eurostat, trng_lfse_01 [extracted 16.5.2019].

 

Participation in lifelong learning in Romania has decreased from 1.5% in 2014 to 0.9% in 2018. It is below the EU28 average and Romania’s objective 2020 of at least 10% ([19]https://eacea.ec.europa.eu/national-policies/eurydice/content/lifelong-learning-strategy-64_en)

Discussions between national policy makers and Cedefop ([20]On 26 and 27 September 2018, in Bucharest.) have revealed how citizens perceive participation in lifelong learning. While official certificates/diplomas are highly valued by learners and employers, non-formal training not offering such certificates is not always seen by learners as lifelong learning and is possibly not reported as such to the statistical authorities.

Participation in initial VET

 

Number of learners in public schools

 

 

2017/18

2013/14

Age

three-year programmes

(ISCED-P 352, învățământ profesional) ([21]The figures for 2013/14 relate to the two-year professional programmes organised after the ninth grade of technological high school that have been replaced starting with the school year 2014/15 with the current three-year professional programmes organised after grade 8.)

87 841

26 361

14/15-16/17

Out of which: short VET programmes (ISCED-P 352)

671

2 056

 

four-year technological programmes

(ISCED-P 354, liceu tehnologic)

266 031

376 963

14/15-18/19

four-year vocational programmes

(ISCED-P 354, EQF level 4)

50 915

49 395

14/15-18/19

Upper secondary education (total including general, vocational, technological and professional programmes)

715 151

786 815

17-18/19

post-secondary VET programmes (ISCED-P 453),

51 973

55 296

18/19+

Source: National Institute of Statistics, education statistics for school years 2013/14 and 2017/18): high school education at the beginning of school year; professional, post-high school and foremen school at the beginning of school year.

The education and training system comprises:

  • early education (ISCED level 0):
    • early pre-school level (age up to three);
    • pre-school education (age three to six);
  • primary education (ISCED level 1):
    • preparatory grade (age six to seven);
    • grades 1 to 4;
  • secondary education (ISCED levels 2 and 3):
    • lower secondary education (ISCED 2, grades 5 to 8) ([22]Also called ‘gymnasium’ (gimnaziu).)
    • upper secondary education (ISCED 3) ([23]Also called ‘secondary superior education’.), which comprises VET programmes;
  • post-secondary VET programmes (ISCED level 4) ([24]Postliceu.)
  • higher education (ISCED levels 5, 6, 7, and 8).

Early education is not compulsory and is divided into early pre-school level (age up to three), and pre-school education (age three to six).

Compulsory education starts at primary school (age six) and it includes primary, lower secondary and the first two years of upper secondary education (grades 9 and 10), for a total of 11 years.

Primary education is divided into a preparatory grade (age six to seven), and in grades 1 to 4 (ages 7 to 11). Secondary education is divided into lower secondary education (ISCED level 2, grades 5 to 8, ages 11 to 15) ([25]Gimnaziu.), and upper secondary education (ISCED level 3, from grade 9 and age 15 onwards).

After completing lower secondary education, learners continue their studies in upper secondary education, in any of the following programmes: general, vocational, technological or school-based VET.

Higher education has no formal VET programmes. However, some bachelor and master programmes are more practice/technical-oriented than others.

Ethnic minorities have the right to study in their mother tongue in all types, forms and levels of education (including tertiary). Special needs education is provided based on type and degree of needs identified, either in regular or specialised schools. School boards may decide to provide activities after classes. Private education and training is organised by education institutions, at all levels and forms, according to current legislation.

Initial and continuing VET are regulated by the government.

Initial VET

Initial VET is provided at upper secondary and post-secondary levels. Qualifications can be acquired in upper secondary VET through vocational, technological and school-based programmes.

At upper secondary level, there are four types of VET programme:

  • four-year technological programmes (liceu tehnologic, ISCED level 354). They offer graduates an upper secondary school-leaving diploma and the EQF level 4 ‘technician’ qualification ([26]A qualifications certificate and, after passing a qualifications examination, a Europass supplement to the certificate.);
  • four-year vocational programmes (liceu vocational, ISCED level 354). They provide graduates with a professional qualification in military, theology, sports, arts and pedagogy as well as with an upper secondary school-leaving diploma at EQF level 4; 
  • three-year school-based VET programmes (învățământ profesional, , ISCED level 352) ([27]Available since 2014/15, approved by the Education Minister Order No 3136/2014.). They may be offered as initial dual VET, and they provide graduates with a professional qualification ([28]A qualifications certificate and, after passing a qualifications exam, a Europass supplement to the certificate.) of ‘skilled worker’ at EQF level 3;
  • short VET programmes (stagii de practica, ISCED level 352). They provide learners, who have completed two years of a technological programme (grade 10) with a professional qualification at EQF level 3, after 720 hours of practical training.

Post-secondary VET provides one- to three-year higher VET programmes (ISCED level 453), leading to a professional qualification at EQF level 5.

Initial VET learners may choose between the following study forms:

  • daytime learning (most popular); 
  • evening classes ([29]The three-year professional programmes are organised only as daytime learning.);
  • work-based learning;
  • dual form.

Continuing VET

Continuing VET (also known as adult vocational training) ([30]Regulated by Government Ordinance No 129/2000 on adult vocational training and other acts.) is available for learners from age 16. Training programmes help develop competences acquired in the existing qualification, the acquisition of new competences in the same occupational area, the acquisition of fundamental/key competences or new technical competences, specific to a new occupation.

It is provided by authorised private and public training organisations ([31]Also by individuals (trainers for adults, formatori de adulti) acting as vocational training providers.) considering the needs of employers and basic skills needs of adults in the form of:

  • apprenticeship at workplace;
  • traineeship for higher education graduates;
  • adult training courses.

Apprenticeship at workplace

The public employment service has been managing continuing ‘apprenticeship at workplace’ programmes since 2005 ([32]Currently apprenticeships are provided according to Law No 279/2005 (last amendments in November 2018).). They are only available in continuing VET and are legally distinct from the dual form offered in initial VET. Apprenticeships offer adults (16+, minimum legal age for employment) a professional qualification at EQF levels 1 to 4.

Traineeship for higher education graduates

Traineeship for higher education graduates is regulated by the law on traineeships (No 335/2013) and the Labour Code (No 53/2003). After graduation from a higher education institution, learners may take six-month traineeship programmes to practice their profession in a real work environment. This does not apply in some professions, such as doctors, lawyers, and notaries, for whom special legislation provides different opportunities. This process is subsidised by the government. Employers may apply for the public employment service subsidy of approximately EUR 483 per month (RON 2 250) for each trainee for the duration of the programme.

Adult training courses

Adult training courses are offered by authorised training providers or by employers to adults willing to obtain a qualification, specialisation or key competences:

  • authorised courses for the unemployed, employees, people who resume work after maternity leave or long sickness leave, Roma, groups at risk and other groups;
  • courses organised by employers for their staff without issuing nationally recognised certificates;
  • internship and specialisation, including periods of learning abroad;
  • all other forms of training.

Since 2017/18, a dual form of ‘professional’ VET has also been available ([33]Based on the Government Emergency Ordinance No 81/2016.). In this, the municipality (local authority) engages in the partnership agreement alongside the standard contract concluded in regular school-based VET programmes between school, employer and learner (or legal representative). Companies are also obliged to pay dual VET learners a monthly allowance that is not less than that provided by the government. Other features are equal to work-based learning in school-based programmes. The share of learners in dual VET was 1.5% of the total VET population enrolled at upper secondary level in the school year 2017/18.

Learn more about apprenticeships in the national context from the European database on apprenticeship schemes by Cedefop: http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/data-visualisations/apprenticeship-schemes/scheme-fiches

Governance in initial VET

Ministry of National Education

The education ministry designs and executes legislation in cooperation with stakeholders (academia, trade unions, teachers associations, students, parents, public administration, businesses and NGOs).

It approves financing and enrolment plans, it awards VET certificates (both in initial and continuing ([34]For continuing VET, certificates are awarded by both labour and education ministries.) VET), and it coordinates national exams.

It approves methodology for teacher enrolment, career advancement and transfers, and approves curricula through subordinate bodies, including school inspectorates.

National Centre for Technical and Vocational Education and Training Development

The centre is accountable to the education ministry. It:

  • evaluates and suggests changes to policies and strategies, and coordinates their implementation;
  • coordinates the design, implementation and review of national curricula, assessment and certification for the initial VET component;
  • supervises the development of professional training standards for qualifications validated by sectoral committees (coordinated by the National Authority for Qualifications) and approved by the education ministry;
  • develops methodologies for the quality assurance and monitoring of programmes.

Romanian Agency for Quality Assurance in Pre-university Education

It is in charge of authorisation (licence), accreditation and external quality evaluation of schools at pre-university education level, including initial VET schools.

Institute of Educational Sciences

It is a national institution for research, development, innovation and training in education and youth. It:

  • establishes and coordinates working groups for the development and review of the national curriculum component;
  • develops various learning and curriculum resources.

Regional consortia ( [35]According to Order of the Ministry of Education No 4456/2015 for the approval of general framework of organisation and functioning of consultative partnership structures in VET.)

They are advisory partnership bodies of the National Centre for Technical and Vocational Education and Training Development. They update, implement and monitor regional education action plans.

County school inspectorates

They propose to the education ministry the VET enrolment plan for the next school year. This is based on proposals from schools and taking into consideration labour market needs, defined through direct requests from employers. The inspectorates also organise the national recruitment of teachers, including VET.

Local committees for development of social partnerships

They are advisory managerial structures that aim at improving VET relevance and quality.

Teaching staff resource houses( [36]Casa Corpului Didactic (CCD).)

They organise continuing teacher training. There is one in each county and in the municipality of Bucharest. The teaching staff resource houses are subordinated to the education ministry.

County centres for resources and education assistance

The centres support learners with special needs, including those in VET. There is one in each county and in Bucharest. The centres are under the control of the education ministry.

Local authorities

They:

  • support the implementation of national strategies on education;
  • ensure the joint financing of projects sponsored by the EU and other funds;
  • maintain school infrastructure.

VET school administration boards

They approve institutional development plans, local/school-based curricula and teacher training plans proposed by their schools.

Commissions for quality assurance and evaluation

In each VET school, a Quality Assurance and Evaluation Commission is appointed to supervise all quality assurance processes and activities, in line with the quality assurance law ([37]Law 87/2006.).

Governance in continuing VET

 

Ministry of Labour and Social Justice

The labour ministry develops and promotes policies in continuing VET, including training for the unemployed, apprenticeship at the workplace, actions for NEETs (not in employment, education and training) and traineeship for graduates of higher education.

It coordinates the authorisation of continuing VET providers, and it manages and updates the nomenclature of qualifications.

It also monitors, analyses, controls, and evaluates vocational training for the unemployed.

National and county agencies for employment

The National Agency for Employment coordinates vocational training of jobseekers at national level, carried out by the county employment agencies.

National Authority for Qualifications

It is responsible for:

  • the national qualifications framework;
  • the national registers of:
    • qualifications in higher education;
    • professional qualifications;
  • centres for the evaluation and certification of professional competences obtained outside formal education;
  • evaluators of competences, external evaluators and evaluators of evaluators.

The authority ensures the link between the standards used for defining qualifications and labour market needs, provides assistance for development of occupational standards, and registers the standards in the national register of professional qualifications in education.

The authority also approves the occupational standards for continuing VET, and endorses the professional training standards used in initial VET programmes.

County authorisation commissions

They are in charge of authorisation and monitoring of training providers, and they decide on the examination commissions at county level. County authorisation commissions are set up by the labour ministry.

Continuing VET providers

Adult vocational training providers carry out vocational training, after authorisation by the county commission ([38]In line with Government Ordinance No 129/2000.).

In 2009, total public expenditure on education and training reached 4.24% of GDP. It fell significantly in 2010-11 due to the economic crisis, and it reached 3.6% in 2017. The National Law on Education of 2011 targets 6%, but this objective is not likely to be achieved before 2025.

In 2018, per capita financing was as follows ([39]Approximate values, based on euro exchange rate.).

  • three-year ‘professional’/school-based programmes (all qualifications): EUR 1 115. Programmes offered in minority language(s): EUR 1 143; 
  • four-year technological programmes (all qualifications): EUR 1 057. Programmes offered in minority language(s): EUR 1 101;
  • four-year vocational programmes (except music and sports): EUR 1 330. Programmes offered in minority language(s): EUR 1 403.

The budget for education and training, including VET, is approved annually. The financing mechanism ([40]Government Decision No 72/2013 on the approval of the methodological norms for determining the standard cost per learner and the establishment of the basic financing of the State pre-university education units. This ensured from the State budget, from sums deducted from VAT through the local budgets, based on the standard cost per learner (last updated by Government Decision No 30/2018).) comprises per capita expenditure supplemented by coefficients (such as for rural/urban areas, number of students and climate area ([41]This refers to geographic areas with difficult weather conditions, especially during winter.), EQF level, type of programme, total number of learners in the school, teaching language).

Financing is provided to schools by the education ministry from the State budget (main source: value added tax) based on actual enrolment. It covers:

  • wages, allowances; 
  • staff continuous training;
  • learner assessment expenditure;
  • materials, services and maintenance.

The basic financing of a school unit is obtained by multiplying the standard cost per pupil by the specific coefficients mentioned above. This is approved annually by Government decision.

VET in public schools is free of charge. The State also provides financing for accredited private and religious education institutions to the same level as for public VET schools. In private education, institution learners pay fees.

Continuing VET is financed by ([42]According to Government Ordinance No 129/2000.):

  • employers/enterprises; 
  • unemployment insurance budget;
  • EU structural and cohesion instruments;
  • personal contributions;
  • other sources.

Jobseekers benefit from free continuing training financed by the unemployment insurance budget. The budget also provides subsidies to employers who provide continuing VET (apprenticeship, traineeship and vocational training programmes).

Initial VET

There are two teaching positions in initial VET:

  • teacher; 
  • practical training instructor ([43]Maistru instructor.).

Requirements for VET teachers are the same as for teachers in general education.

At upper secondary and post-secondary VET, teachers require both:

  • a master degree in a field related to the VET qualification(s) they teach;
  • two psycho-pedagogical modules, totalling 60 ECTS ([44]Ministry of National Education (2017). Order No 3850/2017 regarding the mandatory certification of teaching competences.), that can be obtained either during higher education studies (by enrolling for one module of 30 ECTs during the bachelor programme and for the second module of 30 ECTS during the master programme), or after graduation, by enrolling for both modules within a university department for Teacher Training.

Practical training instructors must have:

  • a post-secondary education diploma in a field related to the VET qualification(s) they teach;
  • psycho-pedagogical training of 30 ECTS provided by a higher education institution ([45]Usually by the Department for the Teaching Staff Training within an accredited higher education institution.).

To become a certified teacher, new employees have two class inspections and produce a professional portfolio; this is an elimination stage, followed by the so-called teacher-confirmation exam ([46]Definitivat.) in the subject they will teach and its methodology, 12 months after their initial employment. During this period, they are supported by an experienced mentor and enjoy the same rights as other teachers with a labour contract. If they fail to pass the exam after 12 months, they may have another two attempts within a five-year period. The share of qualified VET teachers and instructors (vocational theoretical subjects or practical training) is 98.75% of the total teaching staff in initial VET ([47]Based on data from National Institute of Statistics for the school year 2017/18.).

Continuing VET

Continuing vocational training programmes are provided by trainers with a profile or specialisation relevant to the training programme. They should have:

  • the national qualifications framework level of education equal to or higher than the level of the training programme they undertake; 
  • a qualification in the training programme's field of activity;
  • any form of certificate for the following occupations: instructor/trainer/trainer of trainer or the certificates for the teaching profession (60 ECTs ([48]Ministry of National Education (2017). Order No 3850/2017 regarding the mandatory certification of teaching competences.) ).

Continuing professional development of teachers and instructors is a right defined by the Law of National Education ([49]Education Law No 1/2011, Title IV, Chapter 1, Section 2: Initial and continuous teacher training; the teaching career.) that supports career advancement and professional development. Advancement in a teaching career is ensured by acquiring the relevant degrees:

  • the second teaching degree is awarded after at least four years of service (after passing the teacher-confirmation exam ([50]Definitivat.) ), undergoing at least two school inspections and passing an exam in methodology and main subject ([51]The Ministry of National Education provides rules for promotion and methodologies for the exams.); 
  • the first teaching degree is awarded after at least four years after awarding the second degree, undergoing at least two school inspections and defending orally a written thesis ([52]Regulation No 1/2011, Article 242.).

Professional development is compulsory by participation in accredited training courses (teachers have to gather minimum 90 ECTS every five years). The training is provided by public and private education institutions and by NGOs, and can be partially or fully covered by the State budget.

To supply the labour market with VET qualifications that are relevant, the National Centre for Technical and Vocational Education and Training Development, supported by stakeholders and experts, has developed a strategic planning model for VET supply, approved by the education ministry.

Its main objective is to increase the contribution of VET in an efficient transition to an inclusive, participatory, competitive and knowledge-based economy that relies on innovation.

The term ‘strategic planning’ refers to a medium-term (five to seven years) forecast. The model analyses the relevance of supply to the (forecast) labour market demand from quantitative and qualitative perspectives and using the following sources:

  • regional education action plans; 
  • local (county) education action plans;
  • school action plans.

Regional education action plans (set out by the regional consortia) and local education action plans (by the local committees for development of social partnerships) include:

  • analysis of the regional/county context from the point of view of demographic, labour market and economic changes and forecast 
  • analysis of the capacity of VET to serve the identified needs of the labour market in the regional/county contexts;
  • priorities, targets and actions for VET development at regional/county level;
  • the contribution of higher education to regional development.

Desk research is carried out by regional consortia and members of local committees for development of social partnerships who analyse:

  • the national development plan; 
  • the national strategy for human resources development;
  • regional development plans;
  • VET strategies and action plans;
  • the national strategy for employment;
  • labour market and training demand and supply forecasts;
  • company surveys on short-term (six months) labour demand.

The model is based on decentralised decision-making at regional, county and local levels. Strategic planning is characterised by the collective action of multiple social partners, representing the interests of employers, professional associations, employees/trade unions, public administration, relevant government and civil society organisations.

The model combines top-down and bottom-up decision-making processes as demonstrated in the figure below, involving regional consortia at regional level, local committees for development of social partnerships at county level, and school boards at local area level.

 

Anticipating skills: planning levels

Source: National Centre for Technical and Vocational Education and Training Development.

 

See also Cedefop’s skills forecast ([53]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/data-visualisations/skills-forecast) and European skills index ([54]https://skillspanorama.cedefop.europa.eu/en/indicators/european-skills-index)

Initial VET qualifications

Initial VET qualifications (excluding vocational programmes) are based on training standards. The national qualifications register currently comprises 131 qualifications at EQF level 3, 69 at EQF level 4 and 203 at EQF level 5.

 

Training standards ([55]Standard de pregatire profesionala) describe learning units consisting of learning outcomes and are based on occupational standards. Training standards are developed by representatives of companies from the corresponding sectors and of VET providers, with the methodological support of the National Centre for Technical and Vocational Education and Training Development, endorsed by National Authority for Qualifications. They are validated by employers and other social partners through sectoral committees. The revision of standards is carried out at least every five years or at the request of economic operators.

 

From training needs to curricula

Source: National Centre for Technical and Vocational Education and Training Development.

 

Training standards

Training standards play a key role in designing VET curricula, assessing learning outcomes and awarding qualification certificates.

To design the training standards and to establish units of learning outcomes in its structure, one or more occupational standards concerned with the qualification need to be analysed as a starting point.

Each training standard comprises:

  • introduction: description of qualification, occupation(s) the standard leads to; 
  • list of competences as in occupational standard(s) or considering recommendations of the sectoral committees, company representatives or other interested parties;
  • learning outcomes units (a learning unit consists of a coherent set of learning outcomes) for the qualification:
    • general (e.g. maths, language, sciences) and occupational learning outcomes; 
    • minimum equipment requirements for each learning outcome unit;
    • assessment standard for each learning outcome unit.

Core and local curriculum

Curricula for each qualification have two main components:

  • core curriculum designed at national level by education working groups; 
  • local (school) curriculum designed by schools and local businesses to adapt training to the requirements of the local and regional labour market.

The share of national and local curricula varies by qualification level. At EQF level 3, 20% of learning time is reserved for the local curriculum and 80% for national; at EQF level 4, the share is 30% for the local curriculum and 70% for national. At EQF level 5, all curricula are national.

Continuing VET qualifications

Continuing VET qualifications are based on occupational standards, validated by the sectoral committees and approved by the National Authority for Qualifications.

An occupational standard is a national instrument describing professional activities and requested abilities, skills and competences necessary to practise a specific occupation, defined in terms of autonomy and responsibility, and capacity to apply specific knowledge and understanding at the workplace.

Occupational standards stipulate two types of requirement:

  • requirements linked to labour market needs in terms of skills:
    • occupation;
    • identification number from the classification of occupations;
    • qualification level;
    • specific activities to be carried out at the workplace;
    • skills and competences required to practice the occupation;
  • requirements for provision of professional training:
    • established learning content;
    • duration of training and specific requirements for the assessment;
    • access/entry requirements;
    • necessary resources to organise the training.

 

Initial VET

At national level, the law on quality assurance of education ([56]Law No 87/2006.) sets a series of basic principles applicable for all levels of pre-university education, including initial VET: focusing on learning outcomes, promoting quality improvement, protecting education beneficiaries (learners as priority), centring on the internal evaluation process (self-assessment) of providers.

Quality assurance in initial VET comprises:

  • VET school self-assessment; 
  • programme and provider authorisation and accreditation;
  • programme and provider external evaluation;
  • programme external monitoring;
  • monitoring of the quality of vocational certification exams.

The Agency for Quality Assurance in Pre-university Education is responsible for authorisation, accreditation and external evaluation of pre-university education, including initial VET. Authorisation and accreditation are compulsory for each initial VET programme:

  • authorisation (licence) grants the right to carry out the education process and to organise admission to new education and training programmes. It gives the right to operate for up to three years ([57]Before June 2018, two years (Government Emergency Ordinance No 48/2018).) after first graduation from the programme ([58]Until the programme is accredited, examinations and issuing diploma/certificates take place in another (accredited) school.); 
  • accreditation follows authorisation and grants the right to issue diplomas/certificates recognised by the education ministry and to organise graduation/certification exams. Accreditation is compulsory after three years from the date of the first graduation from the programme.

Accreditation assures that providers and programmes meet standards approved by the government and defines requirements for:

  • institutional capacity: administrative/management structures, logistics, and human resources; 
  • education effectiveness: learning facilities, equipment, human resources, the quality of the locally developed curricula, the quality of the teaching-learning-evaluation processes, financial activity;
  • quality management (strategies and procedures for quality assurance, procedures concerning the design, monitoring and review of the school action plan.

Accreditation is granted by education ministry order, based on the recommendation of the quality assurance agency.

Every five years following accreditation, initial VET providers have to be externally evaluated by the quality assurance agency. External evaluation of VET providers and programmes is a multi-criteria assessment of the extent to which a VET provider and its programmes meet the quality standards. These standards describe the requirements that define an optimal level, compared to the accreditation standards that describe the minimum level for the existence and functioning of a VET programme/ provider.

School inspectorates offer guidance and support to VET providers about the quality assurance process in initial VET. It is called external monitoring and comprises:

  • validating VET provider self-assessment reports; 
  • verifying that quality requirements are met;
  • proposing and approving improvement measures to address the identified quality assurance issues.

Self-assessment of VET providers and programmes is based on a set of quality descriptors (input, process and output), grouped in seven areas, several of which have a direct effect on the content of training and the qualifications acquired:

  • quality management; 
  • resource management (physical and human);
  • design, development and revision of training programmes;
  • teaching, training and learning;
  • assessment and certification of learning;
  • evaluation and improvement of quality.

The the Romanian Agency for Quality Assurance in Pre-university Education publishes on their website decisions containing evaluation reports and decisions approved by the education ministry.

Quality assurance in continuing VET

Quality assurance in continuing VET comprises:

  • programme and training provider authorisation; 
  • programme and training provider external evaluation;
  • training provider self-assessment;
  • programme external monitoring.

Authorisation of vocational training providers is coordinated by the labour ministry. It is made through county authorisation commissions and gives VET providers the right to issue qualification or graduation certificates with national recognition. To become authorised, training providers must meet certain eligibility conditions. Authorisation is based on the following criteria:

  • professional training programme; 
  • the resources needed to carry out the training programme;
  • experience of the training provider and results of previous work.

The training provider completes a self-assessment form that contains the name of the training programme, the occupation/qualification code, the level of qualification, the access conditions, the objectives expressed in the competences, the duration, the training plan, the evaluation modalities, the curriculum, the necessary material, and financial and human resources.

The external evaluation for authorisation is conducted by two independent specialists appointed by the county authorisation commissions. The specialists are selected from the list drawn up each year of those whose training and experience are directly related to the occupation for which authorisation is requested.

Authorisation of a training programme is based on occupational standards and professional training standards, recognised at national level and with a validity of four years.

Periodic monitoring of authorised training providers is carried out by two external specialists appointed by the county authorisation commission in the list of specialists drawn up annually. Legislation requires at least three monitoring visits during the four years that authorisation lasts.

The methodology for certification of adult vocational training includes procedures authorised vocational training providers to organise and conduct the adult vocational training programmes graduation examination; it also covers the procedures for issuing, managing and archiving certificates of qualification and graduation with national recognition. The examination committee includes two independent experts selected by the county authorisation commissions from the lists of specialists approved annually.

Validation of prior learning is done through assessment centres. The centres are local private or public bodies authorised to conduct validation procedures, for one or more occupations, developed at national level.

Since 2000, legislation on the national system for validation of non-formal and informal learning has been gradually developed and put in place ([59]Government Ordinance No129/2000, Article 45; Law of National Education No 1/2011, Article 340-34; Ministry of Education and Ministry of Labour joint Order No 468/2004 on validation procedures; Ministry of Education Order No 3629/2018 on national register of evaluators.). The National Authority for Qualifications, through the newly established National Centre for Accreditation, ([60]Government Emergency Ordinance No 49 of 26.6.2014.) coordinates and monitors the validation process. The centre is a specialised structure within the authority responsible for:

  • authorisation of the assessment centres and staff involved in validating non-formal and informal learning of adults; 
  • coordination of assessment centre activities;
  • quality assurance;
  • managing the national register of the authorised centres and national register of evaluators (evaluators of competences, evaluators of evaluators of competences, external evaluators).

The validation procedures consist of well-defined national standards, criteria and guidelines. The assessment centres develop their own assessment instruments, based on national occupational standards and/or training standards, to evaluate the candidates. They are responsible for providing validation services following specific requests by beneficiaries/candidates who can acquire full or partial qualifications at EQF levels 1, 2 and 3. Certificates of competences are nationally and internationally recognised. As part of the validation process, the centres offer information and counselling to the candidates. Currently, there are 37 fully functioning local assessment centres that can validate prior learning of candidates, mainly in services, construction and agriculture.

For more information about arrangements for the validation of non-formal and informal learning please visit Cedefop’s European database ([61]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/data-visualisations/european-database-on-validation-of-non-formal-and-informal-learning).

Professional scholarship for three-year professional programmes

The professional scholarship is a national social protection programme ([62]Government Decision No 951/2017.) that offers approximately EUR 43 (RON 200) per month for all three-year professional programme learners. This scholarship can be combined with grants provided by training companies.

Dual VET allowance

In addition to a professional scholarship, dual VET learners receive at least approximately EUR 43 (RON 200) per month in allowances from the company where they undergo training. Companies also pay for work equipment for learners.

High school scholarship

High school scholarship is a national social protection programme that offers approximately EUR 54 (RON 250 since 2018/19) ([63]See the press release published on the Ministry of National Education portal: 114 million euros of European funds for education through ‘High school money’ and ‘professional bursa’ :
https://www.edu.ro/114-milioane-euro-fonduri-europene-pentru-educa%C8%9Bie-prin-%E2%80%9Ebani-de-liceu%E2%80%9D-%C8%99i-%E2%80%9Ebursa-profesional%C4%83%E2%80%9D?fbclid=IwAR2yMchXsNmQUn2wS4iTeOIzKKIjUrwbpqVYgytc4Z58OKLeTyVJuKMwA3U
) monthly financial support for upper secondary education learners in grades 9 to 12, including those in VET (technological and vocational programmes). The scholarship is linked to family income and is not available for all learners.

Euro 200 scholarship

The Euro 200 scholarship is a national programme that supports VET and other learners who otherwise cannot afford to buy a personal computer and develop their digital skills. The programme has been in place since 2004 under Law No 269/2004, granting financial aid based on social criteria. In 2018, the government spent more than EUR 2.6 million on this measure.

Local public transport

All formal education learners, including VET, receive a 50% discount for local public transportation (bus, subway and train) up to age 26. Local authorities may also partly reimburse the cost of a monthly pass for learners with special education needs, orphans or those from a children’s home/orphanage.

Apprenticeship and traineeship cost reimbursement

Employers who sign an apprenticeship ([64]Law No 279/2005 on apprenticeship.) or traineeship ([65]Law No 335/2013 on the completion of the traineeship for graduates of higher education.) contract may apply for subsidies to the public employment service ([66]ANOFM.). They can receive approximately EUR 483 (RON 2 250) per month for each apprentice/trainee for the entire duration of the programme (six months to three years in the case of apprenticeship programmes and six months in the case of traineeship). The subsidies are financed from the unemployment insurance budget or ESF.

Employers who employ graduates from initial education are eligible for a public employment service monthly grant of approximately EUR 483 (RON 2 250) for each graduate for a period of 12 or 18 months ([67]18 months for disabled people.), provided the employment is not terminated during 18 months from its start.

Tax exemption

Authorised VET providers are exempt from paying value added tax ([68]Article 58 of Government Ordinance No 129/2000 on Adult Vocational Training.) for training operations. Companies may also deduct the training costs from their taxable income ([69]Article 47 of Government Ordinance No 129/2000 on Adult Vocational Training.).

Two main strands of guidance and counselling are available, embedded in the:

  • education system (university and pre-university levels);
  • labour market services (e.g. public employment service).

Guidance and counselling include:

  • information necessary to plan, obtain and keep a job; 
  • education on careers;
  • counselling that helps understand individual goals, aspirations and the skills needed to find a job.

The national education law stipulates that:

  • in primary education, counselling is provided by the teacher in cooperation with parents and the school psychologist; 
  • in lower and upper secondary education, guidance and counselling is provided mainly by the pedagogical assistance offices in schools with more than 800 pupils.

In higher education, guidance and counselling is provided by career guidance and counselling centres in universities to aid the transition of graduates from education to work.

Most guidance and counselling staff in the education system are psychologists, teachers, sociologists and social workers. They are trained by the psychology, educational sciences, sociology and social work faculties. Many also follow post-graduate training modules in counselling and guidance, psychotherapy, management and school administration.

The Institute of Educational Sciences supports counsellors through research, working tools and information/training sessions. It is also a member of the Euroguidance network. In 2017, it published several supporting documents ([70]For example:
- contributions to two publications of the European Lifelong Guidance Policy Network: (a)
Euroguidance network’s highlights 2017: activities and achievements across Europe, (b)
Lifelong guidance policy development glossary;
- three reports on national curricula for guidance and counselling: (a) for grades 0-2, (b) for grades 5-8 and (c) for grades 9-11.
).

Within the initial VET system, the National Centre for Vocational Education and Training Development contributes career guidance and counselling activities aiming to increase the awareness of young students and their parents. The Job orientation - training in businesses and schools ([71]www.jobsproject.ro) project offers training to learners enrolled in the last years of lower secondary education and the first years of technological and professional VET programmes to help make well-informed decisions when choosing the VET or general pathway. The target groups also include teachers and companies involved in VET who need to meet the challenges of continuously changing labour markets.

The novelty in the approach to teaching is in using student-centred methods such as task-based learning, which places students in the centre of their own learning process by setting them clear tasks: identify, explore, ask questions, find answers, give solutions and seize and understand the interrelationships between life and work roles, work opportunities and career building processes.

Initially the project was piloted in two schools of one county (judet). In 2017, it expanded to 180 schools from 19 counties, involving more than 800 teachers and 9 000 pupils. The duration of the project has been extended until 2019.

Labour market services

County (judet) agencies for employment are responsible for guidance/counselling for the unemployed, older workers, young graduates, former convicts and ethnic minorities. They provide information about training and job opportunities to their target groups.

Employment agencies also draw up an individual job-matching plan for every jobseeker. Professional information and counselling is carried out in specialised centres, organised within the employment agencies, as well as by other centres and accredited public or private service suppliers, who conclude contracts with the employment agencies. With the consent of the employer, employees may benefit from guidance services for up to three months from accepting a new job.

Please also see:

Vocational education and training system chart