The Romanian educational system faces challenges such as student underachievement and low state expenditure. As public education is taught in Romanian, most expats choose to send their children to international or private schools, especially as the quality of education is higher in these schools.
The Romanian school year is typically split into summer and winter semesters. The first semester begins in September and lasts until February. The second semester is from February to June. Vacation times are generally scheduled over Easter, Christmas and in the summer.
All children in Romania must attend school from the age of five, but many children also attend kindergarten at three or four years old.
Public schools in Romania
Public education in Romania is free for residents. There aren’t many first-class schools in the country and those schools with a good reputation often have long waiting lists. As a result, overcrowding at these schools is common and results in classes being split into morning and afternoon shifts to accommodate more students.
Schools in Bucharest and other large cities are often better than schools in rural areas since they are better equipped and adequately staffed. Rural schools might only offer certain years of schooling and have a limited amount of teachers.
Given that students are taught in Romanian, public schools might not be the best option for expats unless their children are young and the family intends to stay in the country for the long-term.
Private schools in Romania
The number of private schools in Romania has increased since the fall of communism. Private education is available from kindergarten level through to high school and does not usually follow the national curriculum. Romanian private schools can be expensive.
International schools in Romania
For expats in Romania, international schools are the most popular schools. All of these schools are situated in Bucharest. Although there isn’t an extensive selection, there are a few to choose from. Tuition is expensive, but these schools all offer quality education for the expat community.
International schools in Romania can benefit parents too, as they can be useful for making new acquaintances and forming social connections.
International schools usually offer the International Baccalaureate programme, the British IGCSE programme, or a combination of these. In order to enrol in a Romanian international school, expats will have to provide a selection of documents including application forms, school records, references and the child’s birth certificate.
Special-needs education in Romania
Children with special needs, depending on the severity of their needs, can enrol in either specific special-needs schools or mainstream schools. The Romanian government implemented a policy of inclusion with the aim of integrating special-needs children into mainstream schools, and therefore providing all children with the same educational opportunities.
The majority of the schools in Bucharest and other big cities, including international schools, have facilities and teachers that can assist children with a variety of special needs. Many schools also have specialised occupational therapists and other special needs professionals in place to help these children. Only if a child is not able to adapt to mainstream schooling, will they be transferred to a special needs school.
Tutors in Romania
Private home or online tutors are available in Romania to assist children with particular subjects and additional school support. Expats moving to rural areas will most likely struggle to find a tutor, however. Those living in Romanian cities may find it useful to hire a tutor to help their child adapt to their new school curriculum, if different from their schooling at home, as well as the language of instruction. Romanian can be a difficult language to learn and it may be useful to have extra Romanian lessons with a tutor.
There are many websites and companies that advertise private online or home tutors in Romania. These companies include Verbling, Tutoroo and TeachMe2.
Are you an expat living in Romania?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Romania. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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