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Study in Romania: Every 1 RON (25 euro cents) invested by the Romanian state in education brings 8 lei to the budget

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A study done by World Vision Romania shows that for every 1 RON invested in education the state will gain 8 times more, writes Cristian Gherasim.

The study mentions that the Romanian state spends a total of about 168,000 lei (€33,000), on average, for each person who graduates a master's degree, from kindergarten up until graduating higher education. At the same time, the state collects from such a person, throughout his entire working life, almost 1.45 million lei (300.000 EUR) from contributions, taxes and other duties. In other words, for every Ron invested in the education of a person with a master's degree, the state receives back eight lei, equivalent to a return on investment of 700% , the study shows.

On the other hand, due to the lack of access to education, the state spends, on average, about 90,000 lei for an unemployed person with only primary education, throughout his or her lifetime.

The impact of education on the income level of individuals is explained in the study: the gross income earned by a person doubles, on average, with each level of education completed. Therefore, a high school graduate earns twice as much as a person who has just finished high school, and a college graduate earns twice as much as someone who only has a high school diploma. This development is maintained regardless of professional status, being valid not only for employees, but also for farmers and self-employed in activities other than agriculture.

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According to Mihaela Nabăr, executive director of World Vision Romania, the state should respect the law and allocate 6 percent of GDP to public education."

“Education is one of the most advantageous investments that a state can make, a fact demonstrated by data in the study we conducted. It is necessary for the state to respect the law and fund public education with the 6 percent of GDP promised and stipulated in the law. World Vision Romania, through its programs, tries to improve the state of public education in Romania, by trying to offer equal access to education”, said World Vision Romania executive director.

Romanian educational system is one of the poorest financed in EU.

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Romania’s public schooling has been struggling with appropriate funding ever since the fall of communism, over 30 years ago and the pandemic made matters worse. The percentage for digital schooling is at its lowest in rural areas. 40 percent of pupils have never attended classes held online, as more than half of parents in Romania's villages do not own a digital device to allow remote learning .  Also, one-in -three villages have very weak, or no, internet signal to allow children to get in touch with their teachers. Rural areas in Romania have long had alarmingly-high dropout rates, which can only be exacerbated by the lack of digital equipment, after schools across the country went online.

The poll of poverty in Romania is also the region with poorest schooling performance

If in general the Romanian countryside is underperforming in comparison to the rest of the country, no other region has it worse than Vaslui county. Not only does it register the highest unemployment in Romania, expected only to increase under COVID, but Vaslui is also notorious for one of the highest dropout rates in the country with one-in-10 high school students failing to complete school.

Vaslui county is one of EU’s poorest regions with Eurostat numbers showing that the GDP per capita is only at 39 percent of the EU average. The region’s economy has been stagnant for years, providing little hope for change to the parents and their kids who have to study in one of the hundreds of schools equipped with only outdoor toilets, no running water or heating and wooden floors that can collapse at any time. Vaslui has one of the lowest employment levels in the country with 40,000 workers supporting 90,000 people living on welfare and more than half of the population living as subsistence farmers. The region is also known for one of the highest dropout rates in the country with one-in-10 high school students failing to complete school.

The lack of basic amenities- running water, indoor plumbing- both home and at school challenges families with already dwindling earnings in following even the simplest hygiene measures to prevent infection with COVID-19.

It is expected that following the COVID-19 pandemic the level of social exclusion, inequality and poverty will increase amongst kids, particularly those in rural areas.

The future doesn't look bright either. Data from the National Commission for Strategy and Prognosis shows that over the next three years the county of Vaslui will see little progress and will continue to be one of the poorest regions of the European Union. For the 100,000 children growing up in the northeastern Vaslui county education appears to be their only chance to escape poverty and a continued reliance on social welfare. And politics is to blame more often than not.

This risk appears to be growing across the entire European Union as a recent report issued by the European Court of Auditors said that member states should urgently coordinate efforts to fight child poverty. The auditors recommended that EU commission should set clear targets in reducing child poverty as approximately one out of four children are at risk of poverty or social exclusion in the 27-nation bloc.

The report shows Romania to top the list with 38% of its children at risk of poverty or social exclusion, while Denmark, the Netherland and Slovenia report the lowest such rates.

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