Sorin Cimpeanu, Rector of the University of Agricultural Sciences and Veterinary Medicine in Bucharest, shared his view on Academic sector of Romania with The Global Research team. He formerly served as Romania’s Minister of Education and acting Prime Minister in November 2015 following the resignation of Victor Ponta. In those critical times Sorin Cimpeanu managed to achieve political stability during a crucial transition period.
Rector Cimpeanu is also a President of Romania’s National Council of Rectors for 2016 to 2020.
What are the most important topics on the agenda of the National Council of Rectors?
Our priorities are to develop a more significant international presence for Romanian universities, to promote more financial support for Romania’s education system, and to strengthen ties between universities and the private sector.
At every meeting of the National Council of Rectors, I underline the importance of internationalisation and of linking Romanian universities to the labour market. Focusing on these two goals can enhance the quality of education and research in Romania as well as boost the economy. Romania has research expertise in many fields, has invested in the research facilities, our challenge being know to attract the most talented and innovative young graduates in the field of research. Local and international partnerships can help Romania’s universities and research centres compete for major global research projects.
How would you rate the performances of Romanian universities?
Romanian universities face a number of challenges, particularly concerning limited financing, but in spite of this, many universities are performing very well and we need to promote their positive results. We also need to boost Romanian universities’ participation in international conferences and research projects.
What can be done to improve the quality of higher education in Romania?
It is important to keep the criteria high. Last year we decided to exclude 10 out of 92 of the country’s universities. We made this decision because the 10 universities did not meet adequate quality standards. The National Council has a very important role to play in promoting quality in all areas of Romanian higher education, including curricula, staff, and the organisation of each university.
What would be the solutions to solve the financing problems?
The council launched a study comparing the academic performance of Romanian universities over the past 10 years to the financial support they have received. Engineers educated in Romanian universities are considered equal in skills to engineers educated in Germany, but only €10,000 is spent to educate one engineer in Romania compared to €100,000 in Germany. Romania’s current education budget is only 3.54% of the national budget. With a 14% increase in spending each year, this percentage would rise to 6% of the budget by 2020. The education system needs more financial support in order to maintain quality and keep Romania and Romanian graduates competitive. Romania cannot afford to continue to spend 10 times less on education than other countries do.
What are some of the National Council’s current projects?
Sorin Cimpeanu: The National Council plans to produce a TV programme in which each edition will focus on a particular Romanian university. Romanian universities can be true ambassadors of Romania for an international audience. The system should also prepare students for the workplace, and Romania encourages partnerships between universities and the business sector.