The national pre-university educational system includes the following levels:
early education (age 0–6);
primary education including the preparatory grade and grades 1–4;
secondary education, comprising:
- lower secondary education (gymnasium – grades 5–8);
- upper secondary education, (typically at age 15), which can be:
- high school education (grades 9–12/13) organised into two cycles: lower high-school (grades 9–10) and upper high-school (grades 11–12/13);
- vocational education and training (3 years minimum, in vocational schools)
- post-secondary, non-tertiary education comprising post–high-school education.
High school education comprises the following pathways and profiles:
- Theoretical pathway (humanities and sciences profiles)
- Vocational pathway (military, theological, sports, arts, pedagogical profiles)
- Technological pathway (technical, services and economics, and natural resources and environmental protection profiles).
Compulsory education lasts 11 years (preparatory to grade 10, age 17).
At the end of grade 8 (at age 15) the students can take a national test (called Evaluare nationala - the National Evaluation).
Graduates of grade 8 can continue their studies at high school or in vocational education and training.
For the final high-school grades (grade 12 grade for day courses, grade 13 for evening courses) there are 37 weeks (of which 33 are courses’ weeks and 4 are for the bacalaureat examination).
Qualifications are set by the Ministry of National Education and Scientific Research according to the National Qualifications Register.
Modern/foreign languages (including English) are taught from primary level. In lower secondary education, pupils study two compulsory modern languages and in high school they can add a third modern/foreign language. Modern languages are also taught in vocational schools.
In pre-university education there are intensive and bilingual classes, especially at high school level. A bilingual programme means that the students may have (according to the profile) 5-6 classes of a foreign/modern language and they also study the Geography, History, Culture and Civilisation of the country whose language is studied.
A 10-point system is used in pre-university education, with 5 being the minimum pass mark.
High school graduates can take the examen national de bacalaureat in order to obtain the diploma de bacalaureat;
The bacalaureat exam is organised each school year in two sessions, high school graduates are allowed to sit one or the other.
To achieve the bacalaureat candidates must take three oral exams and three written exams.
Graduates having attended high school in minority languages (Hungarian, German etc.) take Hungarian/German etc. language and literature as an additional fourth oral and written examination.
The bacalaureat exam is a national examination and includes oral (A–D tests) and written (E tests) examinations. The tests’ contents are devised under the coordination of The National Center of Evaluation and Examination. The C test evaluates the four linguistic competences in a foreign/modern language (reading, writing, listening and speaking) according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages.
Exam A and E a) – Romanian language and literature (compulsory)
Exam B and E b) – mother tongue and literature (Hungarian, German, Ukrainian, Turkish, Slovakian, Croatian, Serbian) for candidates having attended the high-school education in minority languages
Exam C – foreign languages (English, French, Italian, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, Japanese, Greek, Hebrew) – compulsory
Exam D – digital competences – compulsory
Exam E c) – compulsory subject (history or mathematics) depending on the academic profile and specialisation
Exam E d) – subject of candidate’s choice, depending on the academic pathway, profile and specialisation:
- humanities profile: geography, psychology, economics, sociology, philosophy, logic and argumentation;
- sciences profile and military profile: physics, chemistry, biology, informatics (computer programming);
- services and economics profile: geography, psychology, economics, logic and argumentation;
- technical profile/natural resources and environmental protection profile: physics, chemistry, biology;
- vocational pathway, excepting military profile: geography, logic and argumentation, psychology, economics, philosophy.
Considered to be broadly comparable in standard to UK Level 3.
For further information on the qualification level you may wish to refer to UK NARIC, which is the UK body responsible for providing comparability of overseas qualifications.
For the oral bacalaureat exams the candidate receives certificates for linguistic and digital competences recognition (including the descriptive supplement in Europass format), as follows:
- Certificate of linguistic oral competence in Romanian;
- Certificate of linguistic oral competence in the mother tongue for the graduates having attended the high-school education in minority languages (Hungarian, German etc.);
- Certificate of linguistic competences in a modern/foreign language;
- Certificate of digital competences.
The C test of the bacalaureat exam evaluates the four linguistic competences in a foreign/modern language (reading, writing, listening and speaking) according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages.
Written examination subjects are marked out of 100, then converted to the 10-point scale.
For each written exam of the bacalaureat exam, 5 (five) is the minimum pass mark but a student will be considered as having passed the bacalaureat examination if the final average (for written exams) is minimum 6 (six);
High school graduates are awarded with Diploma de meit if they accomplish two conditions:
- a minimum grade average of 9.5 at the end of grades 9-12/13;
- 10 as final grade average at the bacalaureat exam.
The oral bacalaureat exams are:
- Exam A – Romanian language and literature, a public examination where the candidate is requested to answer questions in front of two teachers;
- Exam B – mother tongue and literature, similar to exam A but only for candidates having attended high school education in minority languages (Hungarian, German etc.);
- Exam C – foreign languages. Candidates choose between English, French, Italian, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, Japanese, Greek, Hebrew, at the point of registration;
- Exam D – assessing digital competences;
The written bacalaureat exams are:
- Exam E a) – Romanian language and literature.
- Exam E b) – mother tongue and literature organised just like Exam E a) but only for students having attended high school education in minority languages (Hungarian, German etc.)
- Exam E c) – a compulsory subject (history or mathematics) which depends on the candidate’s academic profile and specialisation.
- Exam E d) – a subject which depends on the academic profile and the qualification/specialization and is chosen by the candidate.
No computers are allowed in these exams, and they are manually graded by two separate correctors.
To pass the bacalaureat examination candidates have to accomplish simultaneously the following conditions:
- attend/take oral exams A, B, C, D;
- attend all the written exams (E) and score at least 5 (five) in each;
- the final average (for written exams) is a minimum of 6 (six).
High school graduates who attended but did not pass the bacalaureat examination from 2003, are allowed to ask for recognition of the results of passed exams.
Some UK HEPs regard the bacalaureat as acceptable as a group qualification satisfying general HE entrance requirements.
From 2010-11 the procedure for the bacalaureat exam followed a new set of elements for preventing fraud.
Candidates eliminated for fraud or attempts at fraud can no longer sit for the following exams of the same session, and the results of the passed exams are not recognized for the next bacalaureat session. Candidates eliminated for fraud are not allowed to sit for the next 2 sessions of the bacalaureat exam, and when they do, they sit for all exams.
Entry of candidates in the examination made without fulfilling the legal requirements or candidates receiving information, documents or other forms of aid obtained fraudulently, which helped them solve the exam topics, lead to the candidates’ elimination. If a local grading committee detected fraud all candidates are declared rejected.
Candidates who violate the rules can be eliminated from the examination even if none of the prohibited items found during examination were used.
Starting with the 2014-2015 school year, to ensure a higher degree of objectivity, the evaluation/grading of the written exams is done in another county.
The whole process of preparing the bacalaureat can be audited, so as to ensure the security of items / subjects and assessment and grading standards/scales. Similarly, all activities of transfer / acquisition / distribution of variants of topics and grading scales are monitored in real time.
For 2015-16 the two sessions of the bacalaureat exam were scheduled for the following periods: June 13th – July 16th and August 16th – September 1st, 2016.
Results for the first session of the bacalaureat exams were available from 12 July 2016. Results from the second session of the bacalaureat exams were available from 29 August 2016.
Following publication of each session’s results, students have two to three days to make any queries about their results. Queries will usually be resolved within this timeframe, and final results are published on 16 July and 1 September 2016 respectively.
- The results of the bacalaureat are published on http://bacalaureat.edu.ro (in Romanian)
- After declining between 2004 and 2010, the pass rate in the bacalaureat has increased from 45.7% in 2011 to 67.8% in 2015.
- The table shows the number of successful candidates with grades obtained:
High school graduates are awarded with the high school graduation diploma (diploma de absolvire a liceului). These graduates can continue their studies in post-secondary non-tertiary education.
Access to higher education is only for high school graduates who have passed the bacalaureat exam.
The bacalaureat exams are monitored through a specific procedure designed by The National Bacalaureat Commission; the procedure involves video and audio cameras surveillance.
For more information about education in Romania see the government website: www.edu.ro (in Romanian)