About Romanian education system

The Romanian education system is a complex and constantly evolving structure that plays a crucial role in the country's social and economic development. However, like many other education systems around the world, the Romanian education system faces various challenges and criticisms, such as outdated curricula, low levels of student performance, and inadequate funding.
Romanian education system

In this article, we explain the key features of the education system in Romania, so you have a minimum overview if you’re moving with your kids to Romania.

The Romanian education system offers both public or private schooling. The private schools form a system of alternative education that completes the classical education system, opening new perspectives and approaches to learning.

Compulsory general education consists of primary education, lower secondary education, and two years of higher secondary education. Pre-university education in Romania is being organized as a full-time education, as well as part-time education.

Schooling in the pre-university system is generally done in Romanian language, but also in other languages belonging to national minorities (in the case of large ethnic communities), or in international languages (usually done in private schools).

The Ministry of National Education is the institution that organizes and leads the national education system in Romania, in partnership with institutions under its coordination. The specific procedures and regulations are being established only by Government Decisions and orders of the Ministry of National Education. Below you can find more useful information about the Romanian education system.

Romanian Education System Stages

The national education system in Romania includes the following levels:

1. Early education (0-6 years)

The early education consists of the “before preschool” level (for children of 0-3 years), and “preschool education” (kindergarten – for children of 3-6 years). In all public schools across the country, the early education system is free of any charges. The before preschool level takes place in nurseries, kindergartens, as well as daycare centers.

Early education is also available in private facilities, most of the accredited by the Ministry of Education. Therefore, both public and private generally have the same educational content and the same national standards. They both follow the same curriculum and observe the same national standards.

2. Primary education

Primary education includes the preparatory grade (also known as “grade zero”), and grades from 1 to 4.

3. Secondary education

After finalizing 4 years of primary education, pupils promote to the Gymnasium level, which is part of the secondary lower education, and includes grades from 5 to 8. For getting access to a higher level of education, it is necessary to pass the national evaluation examination.

The secondary superior education can either be high-school education or a minimum 3-year professional education.

The high-school education includes the high-school grades from 9 to 12/13, and the pathways include theoretical, aptitude-based, and technological or a 3-year professional education. Those from professional education who pass the certification examination of the professional qualification can attend the high-school education courses.

Students that finish the high-school get a graduation diploma and the transcript of grades that attest the completion of high-school studies. Therefore, they have access to post-secondary education and the right to take the baccalaureate examination. Graduates who pass the national baccalaureate examination also get a diploma that gives them the right to access higher education.

4. The tertiary non-university education (post-secondary)

This education includes post-secondary education (after high-school).

The post-secondary education is organized in: post-secondary schools, in high schools, or in colleges.

Non-university tertiary education may be organized for high-school graduates who have or don’t have a graduate diploma. The non-university tertiary education has a duration of 1 to 3 years, depending on how complex the qualification actually is.

Read also: About Romanian healthcare system – practical aspects you need to know

5. The higher education

The structure of higher education consists of:

  • Bachelor (undergraduate) studies,
  • Master studies, and
  • Ph.D. studies.

Higher education in Romania is being organized in universities, institutes, and study academies. Higher education institutions can be state, private, or denominational. These institutions are offering educational activities based on study programs that provide initial and continuous training at the university level.

All the study programs operate on the principle of high-quality and correlation of the educational offer with the labor market. The national higher education system in Romania includes all accredited higher education institutions.

  • Bachelor (undergraduate) studies

The undergraduate degree programs are actually the first cycle of university studies. They are finalized by getting the bachelor diploma of level 6 according to EQF/CEC (European Qualifications Framework) and NQF (National Qualifications Framework). Undergraduate study programs can be organized as full-time, part-time, or remote education.

  • Master’s degree studies

The Master’s degree programs are the second cycle of the university studies. These studies are finalized by getting a master’s degree. The programs can be organized as either part-time, or full-time education.

  • PhD studies

This is the 3rd cycle of the university studies that allows you to obtain a Level 8 diploma according to the EQF/CEC and to NQF. Programs can be organized in the form of part-time and full-time education. The duration of Ph.D. studies is usually 3 years. In some special situations, the duration can be extended by 1 or 2 years, but only with the approval of the University Senate.

Private schools in Romania

Romania doesn’t only have public schools, but also good private schools as well. There are more than 400 private schools across the country. The majority of them are in Bucharest. The private school curricula are similar to the ones in public schools, as they must observe main principles of public education. However, many of them follow international curricula as well, such as British, French, German, or American schools curricula.

The teaching methods, as well as the level of teachers’ professional experience may be much better in some private schools than in the public ones.

Private schools do not provide boarding, but there are some international schools that may do. For taking the best decision for your children, we recommend you to visit the schools, and discuss with the teachers inside. Many of them offer open days for prospective parents. Some of them may also allow appointments on a regular day.

There are many important aspects that parents should consider when choosing a school for their children, such as:

  • Special needs

Is there any program for kids with disabilities or for talented children? Are there appropriate facilities for kids with disabilities? Is there a suitable staff to look after the kids’ special needs? Is there a language aid for your kid?

  • Staff

Do teachers from that school have appropriate qualifications?

  • Curriculum

What electives are being provided in addition to the national curriculum? What foreign languages is your child going to learn?

  • Extra activities

Does the school offer extra-curricular activities?

Read also: International transfer through a Romanian bank – how long does it take?

Some well-known private schools in Romania:

As we mentioned above, most private schools are located in Bucharest. The most prestigious of them are:

  • International Theoretical Computer Studies Highschool
  • The Bucharest European School
  • The American International School of Bucharest
  • Genesis Collegiate
  • Cambridge School of Bucharest

Private school fees in Romania

Fees in some of the Romanian private schools are not cheaper than in other EU countries. In some of them the fees are even higher. Generally, the fees range from 4,500 to 20,000 euros per school year, depending on the education cycle (primary, secondary, high-school, etc.) and on how prestigious the school is.

Nurseries in Romania

Nurseries in Romania are available to children between 1 and 3 years old. Yet, the exact age depends from one nursery to another. Some may even accept babies starting from 3 months. Nurseries provide either a basic 4-hour day-time care or prolonged service. Bucharest has around 40 public nurseries and plenty of private childcare facilities.

Kindergartens in Romania

Kindergartens in Romania accept kids aged between 3 and 6. They offer pre-school education. The country has lots of state-owned kindergartens. Yet, the demand is very high and that’s why parents must book a place a year in advance. Private kindergartens in Romania have several alternatives with regards to pedagogy, as well as the language of study. Some may provide education in alternative systems, such as Montessori, Step by Step, Waldorf, Freinet. Some may provide courses in English, German, or French.

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Enrolment of foreign children in Romanian schools

For a good integration of foreign children into the Romanian education system, they must benefit from a preparatory course for learning the Romanian language. The course is intensive and free of charge during the school year. The enrolment is being made throughout the calendar year.

Also, the attendance of the course can continue without a problem the following year. During the first year, minors are being enrolled at schools as listeners and viewers. They don’t receive grades and they aren’t registered in the class book. Once the year has passed, an evaluation committee will determine enrolment at school.

Need more information on the Romanian education system? Please post your question below.

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Andreea Fieraru

Andreea Fieraru


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