Daniel Funeriu on educational issues
Without doubt, Daniel Funeriu is among the most important persons when it comes to Romanian Education. Although he left Romania in 1988 to escape the oppression of the Ceausescu regime and study Chemistry abroad, he returned two decades later to assist his homeland, as Minister of Sciences, undertaking among other tasks, the restructuring of Romanian University education with an aim of making Romanian Universities an international nucleus for academia and a kernel for ongoing research.
During an interview while serving as Minister (December 2009-February 2012), Mr. Funeriu discussed the need to make higher education in Romania a hub for international students. In addition, he pointed out that thanks to concerted efforts of previous governments in the last decade, Romanian Universities, as opposed to other European Universities, proudly offer one of the most integrated academic environments, free from nepotism and cronyism, devoid of groups that do not allow the qualified to claim offered positions, be it due to private interest or political agenda, making for one of the best academic merit system in the world. In addition, he pointed out that during his office, public money was invested more effectively than ever before, with public expenditures transparency.
The Romanian Minister made a summary of strong points he thought accounted for the outstanding Educational experience in Romanian Universities:
• Complete absence of nepotism and party politics in Universities, ensured through a firm system of evaluation of all bodies
• Strict evaluation and financing of noteworthy achievements in departments
• Equalling European exemplars, through the regular visits of foreign scientists and teaching staff exchange
• Repatriation of the Romanian researchers who work in foreign Universities, due to better work conditions at home
• Stricter criteria for the nomination of a scientist for the position of a professor
• Outstanding research facilities with cutting-edge technologies
• Massive overhaul in University grounds, buildings and infrastructure
• Low tuition policy and academic calendars and curricula aligned with EU standards
• Professional opportunities integrated with the programme of studies
A year later, Funeriu had to resign, and continues as a consultant of the government in education and scientific matters, he expresses his agony over the future reforms that will be instrumental in helping Romania’s educational system soar in the realm of global education.