Community Involvement Report 2012
   

The story in numbers

238.000 Euro

is Petrom`s direct contribution to the rural educational infrastructure in 2012

23

school units in 10 counties were provided with repair and refurbishment works, as well as equipment

4.373

children and more than 300 teachers in rural areas now enjoy decent learning and study conditions

21

local communities included in the program: Poboru, Icoana (Olt) Blejeşti, Videle, Scurtu Mare (Teleorman) Oarja (Argeş) Clejani (Giurgiu) Cobia, Bucşani, Racoviţa, Târgovişte (Dâmboviţa) Boldeşti-Scăieni, Scorţeni, Corlăteşti, Ploieşti (Prahova) Dofteana, Pustiana (Bacău) Scorţoasa (Buzău) Ianca, Bordei-Verde (Brăila) Corbu (Constanţa)

Back to school!

Every year, village schools are confronted with numerous infrastructure challenges. Whether we talk about the growing number of dropouts or the lack of motivation on the part of the teachers, the educational process is suffering, and the effects on the young generation will soon start to show. What is the solution?

Romanian education is in free-fall. This statement is on everyone`s tongue, whether specialists in the field or ordinary citizens. This is more than mere perception – it is a reality confirmed by statistics, especially in rural areas.

The numbers for ”village” education are not encouraging. In 2000, 1,085,309 students were going to primary and secondary schools in rural areas, according to the National Institute of Statistics. In the short span of 10 years, the number sank to 797,902. The number of schools with grades 1 to 8 also decreased drastically, from 10,592 in 2000 to only 2,797 in 2011. Consequently, the number of teachers went down (80,361 in 2000 – 62,489 in 2011), as well as the number of classrooms and school labs – 53,055 in 2000, at the beginning of the third millennium, compared to 41,976 in 2011.

After a dramatic drop between 2002 and 2009 – from 125,130 secondary school graduates to only 92,452, in rural areas – in 2010, the number of graduates bounced back to 109,359 – one of the few positive developments in the education sector.

”Education in rural areas has a problem, considering that 56,000 of 8th graders didn`t even manage to get a 5 at the assessment exam […]”

Apart from these quantitative aspects, the quality of the educational process is more important – as in any other field – because it will enable graduates to find jobs faster. In other words, to paraphrase a saying, ”knowledge is power”... to work. According to INS data, in 2011, the largest labor market integration rate – 60% - was recorded amongst academic graduates, while only 14.6% of primary or secondary school graduates managed to find a job one year after finishing school. However, in order to get to college, one need quality education in the primary and secondary school – which is not always the case in rural areas. The problems facing schools in villages and communes are not unknown to the authorities. ”Education in rural areas has a problem, considering that 56,000 of 8th graders didn`t even manage to get a 5 at the assessment exam; 37,000 of them were from villages and communes”, declared Education Minister Ecaterina Andronescu in 2012, in an interview for scoalaedu.ro.

”Many such results are also caused by the fact that some 2,000 schools have been closed in recent years, mostly from rural areas. This means that education is farther from the home. Students were not provided with school buses. It is hard to demand excellence from a student who has to walk five, six or even eight kilometers in the morning or in the afternoon. It is not these kids` fault they were born in rural areas”.

Thus, there is much to be done for rural education, but the real issue is lack of financing. European funds are one solution, but it takes time to access them. Another option is to get the necessary funds from private companies. Last year, Petrom allocated 235,000 Euro within the program ”Building for the future”: every year the company helps improve learning conditions by investing in the educational infrastructure of the communities where it carries out its business.

Here are some of the investments made in 2012 through this program: 28,000 Euro allotted for the acquisition of a 16+1 microbus to take students from home to the school in Ianca, Brăila County; and 50,000 Euro allotted to rehabilitate the school and kindergarten in Poboru, and the school in Icoana commune (Olt County). The program also included a 47,000 Euro investment to upgrade the sport court at the school in Bordei-Verde, Brăila County.

”[…] It is hard to demand excellence from a student who has to walk five, six or even eight kilometers in the morning or in the afternoon.”
Community Involvement Report 2012
Education