Constatand cu ingrijorare lipsa de atitudine ferma a Ministerului Educatiei si Cercetarii (MEC fost MECT) in rezolvarea unor probleme concrete care i-au fost aduse la cunostinta in mod constant in ultimul an de zile, FAR a decis abordarea institutiilor europene pentru a impulsiona procesul de reforma din invatamantul superior.
Astfel traducerea in engleza a “Studiul FAR?(traducere fisier pdf), lansat simultan cu desfasurarea “Conferintei Nationale a Invatamantului Superior? din 4 noiembrie 2003, a fost trimis impreuna cu scrisoarea de insotire inclusa in acest comunicat de presa cat si alte documente aditionale urmatoarelor institutii si organizatii europene cat si persoane,
European Commission, Education and Training
Council of Europe
European Association of Institutions in Higher Education
The European University Association
European Association for International Education
ACA - Academic Cooperation Association
Baroness Emma Nicholson
Drs. Arie Oostlander
Deasemeni, materialele respective au fost trimise urmatoarelor institutii ale statului,
Presedintia Romaniei, Domnului Presedinte Ion Iliescu
Guvernul Romaniei, Domnului Priministru Adrian Nastase
MEC, Domnului Ministru Alexandru Athanasiu
FAR isi exprima speranta ca acest demers va fi abordat ca un act civic indreptat doar impotriva celor care saboteaza in mod sistematic nevoia societatii de a derula o reforma autentica.
Din partea grupului de initiativa,
Nota: Expedierea a avut loc la data de 11 martie prin serviciul de posta EMS.
Nagoya, March 10, 2004
Dear Sir/ Madam
Vicious historical conditions left dictatorship-freed Romanian society craving for democracy and economic development. Led since December 1989 by inefficient politicians, Romania ended in having at the same time a record number of universities and of highly educated youth leaving the country. Aggressive interference of politics in the academic life, nepotism, lack of perspective, corruption in distributing funds (some coming from the European Union), blocking the transfer of generations, degradation of the education level, all of these are just a few of the problems that young researchers have to face in Romania for a pay of approximately 100 Euro. Refusing to be diluted in the mass of people that generate and sustain this situation, or being pushed out by the despotic attitude of their hierarchical superiors, young researchers choose to leave the country. Many Romanian researchers and academic staff participate to various programs of study and research in developed countries. Interacting with efficient societies where an individual receives appreciation with respect to his education and skills, many understand that the changes in the Romanian mentality are too slow and that individual efforts to improve the actual situation are just a waste of time. Their decision to cut the bonds with their country is not explained by their lack of interest, but mainly by frustrations that political leaders do not take the right steps toward a real reform for European integration.
One year ago an official request was sent to the Romanian Presidency and to the Ministry of Education to initiate a public debate about the necessity to limit the nepotism in public universities. Mass media also offered numerous examples of universities filled up with relatives. Instead of a concrete action to limit nepotism, the government offered a very clear “answer? to this matter by naming the daughter of one cabinet minister as state secretary of youth. The adviser on social problems of the Prime Minister (himself professor at Bucharest University), the Dean of the Faculty of Sociology is working in the same faculty with his wife, daughter and son in law. All of them were awarded with a 600,000 USD scientific grant from World Bank to study “poverty?. It is therefore obvious that blocking nepotism in Romania is not a priority. Nepotism affects most public institutions in Romania. A law including specifications about “conflicts of interest? was introduced in 2003; however, employees in universities were excepted.
The campaign against nepotism was sustained by several newspapers and a web site was created to mediate this initiative (www.nepotism.org) where 89 people signed a “letter of support? for introducing regulations against nepotism in public universities. Nepotism is not the only problem suffocating Romanian Universities. The different perspective for communication offered by Internet allowed interconnecting Romanian researchers all over the world attracted by the popularity of www.nepotism.org. This led to the formation in October 2003 of the Romanian Academic Forum (FAR, Forumul Academic Roman www.forum-academic.com) that prepared for the National Conference of Higher Education held in 4th November 2004 a study entitled
“Proposal for the reform of the Romanian higher education system”
Over 250 academic staff, researchers, Ph.D. students, and undergraduate students endorsed this study so far. The study was also published and debated by several national newspapers . Yet, four months later, there is no sign that the Ministry of Education is willing to consider any proposal of the study in order to fulfill the Bologna convention, which Romania signed. These days the public universities are undergoing the four-year term elections. The election campaign is once again politically dominated or limited to groups of interest and power. Even in Romanian universities of tradition, candidates for leading positions do not respect the limit of two consecutive mandates, the regulations for retirement or they simply do not fulfill adequate standards of scientific activity for the title of Professor. These leaders have access to political decision by acting in parallel as parliamentarians, cabinet members and professors, and adopt decisions exclusively in favor of their own interest and in total disregard with any solidarity among generations.
By this letter we would like to bring our efforts to improve the present status of the higher education and research system in Romania to the attention of the institutions for education of the European Union. Our study treats in detail specific problems that need concrete steps of reform. On February 18th 2004 the Commission of Foreign Affairs of the European Parliament recommended the adjustment of the negotiation program with Romania on the policy chapters due to inability to meet all criteria. We strongly urge the EU to understand that there is a tight interdependence between the academic and political systems in Romania that leads to their inefficiency, thus affecting the entire society . Laws are often neglected in Romania, the society being torn between groups of power gravitating around financial and familial interests. Thus, pressure from the EU on the Romanian government to immediately introduce a precise delimitation between political and educational activities by extending the application of the “conflict of interest? law to all employers of public institutions is badly needed.
With confidence in receiving not only advice, but also an essential official support from the European Union.
The Initiative Committee,
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Eugen Stamate, Nagoya University, Japan
(curriculum vitae, http://www.forum-academic.com/main/cv_stamate.pdf )
Asist. Prof. Dr. Eugen Brailoiu, Temple University, USA
(curriculum vitae, http://www.forum-academic.com/main/cv_brailoiu.pdf )
Sef Lucr. Dr. Dumitru D. Branisteanu, University of Medicine and Pharmacy Iasi, Romania
(curriculum vitae, http://www.forum-academic.com/main/dbranisteanu.pdf )
Asist. Prof. Dr. Cristian Apetrei, USA
(curriculum vitae, http://www.forum-academic.com/biomed/capetrei.pdf )
A large number of parliamentarians and cabinet ministers are at the same time involved in university teaching. The majority of rectors hold important position in political parties. There is a continuous pressure from people desiring to get involved in politics to spoil their curriculum vitae with doctoral degrees or academic titles obtained in a questionable fashion.
See the following synthesis, “The Bullet?, October 2003 (in English, http://www.cji-bullet.ro/article.html?id=377 and in Romanian http://www.cji-bullet.ro/ro/article.html?id=125 ), and “Evenimentul Zilei?, 22 septembrie 2003 (in Romanian http://www.expres.ro/topstory/?news_id=132190 and in French by “Le Courrier des Balkans? 23 September 2003, http://www.balkans.eu.org/article3605.html) and “Dosarele nepotismului? on the front page of www.forum-academic.com (in Romanian). So far a large number of news papers presented cases of nepotism among them, “Ziarul de Iasi?, “Evenimentul Zilei?, “The Bullet?, “Cotidianul?, ? Adevarul?, “Jurnalul National?, “Bihoreanul?, “Monitorul?, “Ziua de Iasi?, “Opinia Studenteasca?, “Evenimenul? etc.
Most positions in universities are not obtained by open competition but by using private connections, pressure from groups of interest, financial interest and family related influence. The principle of selection based on value is not the dominant factor in employment. The young employees are educated to show obedience to those individuals responsible of their admission in the system.
See details about the Puwak case, the formed minister for European integration (Associate Professor to Bucharest University).
The retirement age in Romania is 65; however, a very large number of professors teaching in public universities benefit of activity extension until 70 or even longer if they are Ph.D. supervisors. The life expectation for men in Romania is 67 and the research performance is far from EU standards.
None of the Romanian Universities rank in the top 500 universities in Europe.
 See the following URL: http://www.forum-academic.com/oficial/memoriu.htm (in Romanian)
 Daciana Sirbu (27 year old, master in law) is the state secretary of youth in the MECT, the daughter of the minister of agriculture Sirbu Ilie. A formal protest was sent to the presidency and Prime Minister following this unfortunate decision http://www.forum-academic.com/oficial/protest.htm
 ”The Bullet? October 2003 http://www.cji-bullet.ro/article.html?id=377 in English and “Evenimentul Zilei? 29 December 2003
http://www.expres.ro/investigatii/?news_id=141447 in Romanian
”Evenimentul Zilei?, 22 September 2003
 See the following URL: http://www.forum-academic.com/oficial/semnaturi.htm (in Romanian)
 In Romanian to the following URL:
 See the following URL: http://www.forum-academic.com/main/semnaturi_FAR.htm (in Romanian)
 See the following URL: http://www.forum-academic.com/main/semnaturi_stud.htm (in Romanian)
 “Observator Cultural? December 2003,
(http://www.forum-academic.com/news/obs_cultural_16dec2003.htm) “Dilema? November 2003, (http://www.forum-academic.com/news/Dilema_4dec.htm) “Evenimentul Zilei? 22 November 2003, (http://www.forum-academic.com/news/EVZ_22nov_0.htm) “Ziarul de Iasi? 6 November 2003 (http://www.forum-academic.com/news/ZDI_6nov.htm) etc.
 By law, parliamentarians in Romania can also teach in universities and perform scientific research, cabinet members too. The present premier minister is teaching to several universities and the former president was also teaching during his mandate.