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New Minister of Education changes the rules: School principals who failed the exam may remain in office

de Mariana Bechir 10.1.2017

concurs-director-titularizare-scoli-educatieThe new Minister of Education, Pavel Nastase, changed one of the principles of the competition organised for principals from secondary school. Principals and deputies who did not take or failed the exam for the positions are allowed to remain in office at the schools where there was no winner.

The contest has been organized in autumn, 2016 for the first time after eight years since the previous contest.

Since 2008, no such vacancy has been filled by exam, but by the so-called “secondments in the interest of education” and this was often the way to appoint leaders or wives of leaders from the ruling parties’ local organizations to the school management.

The appointments were made by the county school inspectorates, based on a procedure that was a mere formality, not an objective evaluation of management projects.

The decision to organize contests in all kindergartens, schools and high schools already triggered harsh reactions from major political parties, given that the schools have been used as promoters during elections by all governments.

The new minister has annulled one of the most important changes

The new methodology, as opposed to those practiced so far, includes a detail that scares the system: acting principals who would not pass the exam will no longer be allowed to keep the position, no matter if someone else promoted to that position or not.

Article 24 of the methodology:

The following persons cannot be appointed to the vacant positions or those becoming vacant between contests:

  1. a) persons who held the position of principal or deputy principal at the school in question, prior to the contest, and did not participate at the examination;
  2. b) persons who participated, but have not passed the exam

For each test of this year’s contest, the maximum score is 50 points, and the minimum score for passing the test is 35 points. “Admitted” candidates are those who achieved a score of at least 35 points at each test and a total score of at least 105 points at the three tests of the exam.

If no candidate obtained 105 points, it would be appointed another person who did not participate in the contest. The duration of the secondment can last until the following contest, but no more than one year.

The interim principal can be a “titular teacher, member of the body of national experts in the educational management”, appointed by secondment in the interest of education or delegating the duties of the office, by decision of the General School Inspector, based on the recommendation from the teaching council from the respective schools, with the opinion of the board of the school inspectorate and the written agreement of the appointed person”, provides the new methodology.

Why the new rule has been introduced

The prohibition to hold the position offered to the interim principals, those appointed by “secondment in the interest of education”, became necessary following the experience from last year, when there were competitions organized, also for the first time in eight years, for the general and deputy inspectors.

During the exam, after the first or second phases, many of those holding these positions who realized that they would not win the posts withdrew. They knew that neither they, nor their competitors would pass, so they preferred to keep the position through this manoeuvre.

A valid manoeuvre, as the methodology allowed the continuity in their positions if they did not participate and nobody else could get the required score.

Former Senator Liviu Pop, now Secretary of State at the Ministry of Education, explained before the competition to cursdeguvernare.ro, the huge interest to keep these posts of principals: while a level I teacher earns a net salary of 2,000 lei, a school principal earns 4,000 lei, due to the management allowance and the merit category.

Exam pass rate, as high as for baccalaureate – only 63.26%

The exam passing rate for principals from the secondary schools is 63.26% (4,066 of 6,427 posts put out to contest) and for the deputy positions – 53.84% (1,339 of 2,487 posts), after solving the complaints filed for the contest started in September.

Ironically, this rate is slightly below the one reached at the Baccalaureate organised this year, of 66%.

The posts of principal:

  • 4,066 posts of principal filled by examination
  • 3,513 posts will be filled by teachers who held this position before the competition at the same school
  • 32 posts will be assigned to teachers who previously held the position of principal at another school
  • 124 posts will be assigned to teachers who previously held the deputy position at the same school
  • 5 posts will be filled by people who previously served as deputy principal at another school
  • 307 posts will be filled by teachers from the same school who never held the position of principal/deputy principal
  • 85 posts will be assigned to teachers with no prior management positions, but coming from another school

The posts of deputy principals:

  • 1,339 posts filled by contest
  • 50 posts will be assigned to teachers who held this position at the same school until the competition
  • 4 posts will be assigned to teachers who previously held the position of principal at another school
  • 1,074 posts will be assigned to teachers who held in the past the position of deputy principal at the same school
  • 9 posts will be assigned to persons who held the position of deputy principal at another school
  • 203 posts will be filled by teachers from the same school who previously did not hold any management positions
  • 19 posts will be assigned to teachers from another school who previously did not hold any management positions

The administrative and financial management and educational management contracts of those who have passed the exam are for a duration of 4 years.

For 3,509 posts remained vacant, they will be appointed by secondment in the interest of education persons who meet the following requirements:

  • They are not persons who at the time of the exam were principals or deputy principals and did not participate in the exam or if they participated, lost the exam
  • They are not persons who participated in the exam, but did not pass
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