|General Structure of National Educational System|
The changes in the economic, social and political life of Moldova demanded the development of a new educational policy and legislative framework. Three major documents have been adopted:
The educational system of Moldova is the social institute for training and education of young generations. The main task of education is to educate children and other categories of population as prerequisites for the consolidation of the state independence, its economic and cultural potential, and its integration into the European and global communities.
Education is realized through a great diversity of structures, forms, contents and educational technologies. Education is lay, no national, racial, political discrimination. State education is free of charge.
The main objective of education is to provide equality of opportunities to education for all people. The right to education is guaranteed by the Constitution of the Republic of Moldova. The State provides equal opportunities to education depending on everyone’s abilities and aptitudes. Population literacy is quite satisfactory (96,4% according to official data). The share of registered students to educational institutions according to the age levels is very close to the existing one in the neighboring countries.
The educational system relies on educational standards approved by the Government. The standards set up minimum requirements to levels and stages of education.
According to the Law on Education of the Republic of Moldova the educational system is organized in levels, stages and cycles. Its structure is as follows:
The educational system may include other forms of education too.
Within the educational system we distinguish day, evening and extramural classes, individual studies, etc. The academic year is September to July. Basic education is compulsory and comprises forms from I to IX. The grading system is from 1 to 10 (highest scale is 10; lowest pass level is 5; lowest on scale is 1). The languages of instruction are Romanian and Russian.
Pre-school education is the first level of education. It comprises a net of educational institutions of various types, mainly kindergartens; they can be public or private, offering diverse educational programs corresponding to the national educational standards.
Pre-school education (3 to 6/7) tends to prepare children for school activity. Over the last years the number of children attending kindergartens has decreased considerably. Their number is about 40% out of the total number of children of this age.
Primary education (I-1V forms) is for children from 6 to 10. It is provided as full-time attending. Primary schools are attended by approximately 320,500 children that make up 96% of the total number of children of this age.
Gymnasium education is also full-time (V-IX forms) for children from 11 to 16. Children come to gymnasiums after primary school graduation. Gymnasium education finalizes with a graduation exam comprising more subjects. The gymnasium issues a Certificate of studies in the form required by the Ministry of Education.
Lyceum (High school) education (X-XII forms) provides fundamental theoretical training and creates conditions to enter higher educational institutions or vocational schools. Lyceum education is 3 years. Admission to lyceum is only through examination for gymnasium graduates or polyvalent vocational school graduates. Lyceum education finalizes with bachelor’s exams and the graduates receive a Diploma of Bachelor. If somebody fails for the first time, then he (or she) has the right to take the exams not more than twice during the next 3 years.
Vocational secondary education provides training in polyvalent technical-vocational schools and vocational schools. This education is meant for gymnasium graduates not studying at lyceums and colleges. It is organized in 3 cycles.
The 1st cycle provides training into a specific worker’s profession and finalizes with a qualification Certificate.
The 2nd cycle extends training into a profession up to a master’s level. The 3rd cycle offers vocational training up to a technician level and general secondary school education. The graduates receive a Diploma of technician. And the secondary school education ends with bachelor’s exams that successfully passed give access to higher education.
Vocational schools are for gymnasium, lyceum or general secondary schools leavers and offer training into one or more related professions. The period of studies is 0.5 to 1.5 year and finishes with an exam and a qualification Certificate.
Specialized education offers training for children with mental and physical deficiencies. The duration is 8 years compulsory depending on the level of disease.
Arts and sports education is for children with special musical, artistic, sports abilities. Admission to this education is through testing.
Complementary education (out-of-school) is a very important trend of national education. It helps to develop the abilities and talent of children in various domains.
Continuing education comprises all types of education for this category: various courses, open universities, distance education etc.
Traditionally education is provided in public schools, gymnasiums, lyceums, and vocational schools. The budget was the main source of educational system financing (7% annually). In the academic year 1998-1999 the net of public educational institutions comprised about 1,549 schools, including 107 primary schools, 631 gymnasiums, 625 general secondary schools. General education is attended by approximately 420,000 children, out of which 92% attend compulsory general education.
The expansion of market relations had an impact on educational services, too. Since 1992 the net of private educational institutions has developed along with the public education. Private education encounters many impediments. Imperfect legislative framework, lack of an adequate infrastructure, indolence and distrust in private education, low professional level of the employed staff are only some of the multiple difficulties that new educational establishments face.
Nowadays there are about 163 private educational institutions functioning on the basis of the license issued by the Ministry of Education. The institutions are of various levels and steps: 35 universities, one post-university institution, 14 independent colleges and 11 colleges affiliated to universities, 48 pre-university institutions (kindergartens, primary schools, gymnasiums, and lyceums), 5 vocational schools, 108 training courses for adults.
Usually each level of education finalizes with State Exams and the graduates receive a Certificate of Studies or Diploma, if the exams have been successfully passed. The design of Certificates and Diplomas are suggested by various educational institutions and approved by the Council of the Ministry of Education. The assessment of the quality of education has just started. For this purpose the Government set up the National Council for Academic Evaluation and Accreditation of Educational Institutions. The National Council decided to start the process of evaluation and accreditation with higher educational institutions.
Assessment of education
The evaluation procedure is provided by the Ministry of Education, by the other ministries having HEIs in their subordination, by local Educational Departments. The evaluation of educational results it is compulsory for any level of education, but the university has the right to choose the mechanism and forms of knowledge control. Academic staff is assessed once in 5 years following the criteria established by the Ministry of Education: professional competence, quality of teaching, methodical and psychological skills, evaluation competence for educational achievements. The evaluating results are the basis for awarding academic titles, settle salaries, etc.
At the end of every academic year the President of the university presents an activity report to the Ministry of Education. In its turn, the Ministry of Education presents a report about the state-of-the-art in the educational system and the proposals for development of the educational system to the Government annually.