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on the study of the mother tongue for pupils
belonging to national minorities and attend schools
with tuition in Romanian

On the strength of the Law on Education No. 84/1995 and Order No. 4646 of the Minister of National Education pupils belonging to national minorities who study in schools teaching in Romanian have the possibility to study their mother tongue.

Article 180, Title VII of the Law on Education stipulates: “The parent or the lawfully instituted guardian shall decide on the minor child's right to choose the language of study at school.”

I. The study of the mother tongue

1. The study of the mother tongue shall begin with the first class of the primary school.

2. Should a pupil or more (group/class) not have studied his/their mother tongue previously and would he/they wish to join a study group/class in function, other than the first class, he/they have to prove knowledge of the mother tongue of the respective level by taking a language test. The test shall be taken with the teacher of the mother tongue from the school and does not concern the beginners (first class).

II. Number of pupils and study formations

1. Study formations shall include grades and groups in accordance with Article 158 of the Law on Education No. 84/1995 and the Order No. 4150/1998 of the Minister of National Education, Appendices 1-2/d.

2. According to Law on Education No. 84/1995, Title V, Chapter I, Article 158 paragraph 2, the county school inspectorates shall submit for approval all the requests concerning study formations with the number of pupils under the established limit. In localities with a reduced number of pupils, (under 10 per cycle) simultaneous education may be organized under the terms provided.

III. Number of lessons for the study of the mother tongue

1. In the grades I-IX the number of lessons devoted to the study of the mother tongue shall be 3-4 lessons per week.

2. Considering that these lessons are part of the framework plan for grades I-VIII, school principals will include these lessons in the timetable of the school.

IV. Appointment of the teaching staff

1. In grades I-IV the mother tongue shall be taught, as a rule, by teachers who know the pupils' mother tongue. The teacher of the class shall have priority in the teaching of these lessons, if he or she speaks the language and belongs to the respective community. Since the mother tongue lessons are not part of the compulsory work quota of the teachers in schools with tuition in the Romanian language, they shall be paid by the hour.

2. In case the teacher of the class does not speak or wish to teach the mother tongue, the lessons may be distributed to another appointed teacher or supply teacher of the school who speaks the language. The lessons are included in that teacher's work quota in case the respective teacher does not have a full work quota in the school, or they may be remunerated by the hour if exceeding the maximum obligation.

3. In grades V-VIII, in vocational schools and high schools the mother tongue lessons shall be taught by teachers specialized in that subject or personnel without a special qualification, but who can prove with documents or by testing a good command of the mother tongue that they are to teach.

V. Content of the teaching

Pupils belonging to various national minorities attending schools with tuition in Romanian shall study their mother tongue on the basis of teaching curricula approved by the ministry and of school textbooks elaborated on their strength or authorized in accordance with Order No. 3811/1998 of the Minister of National Education.

The purpose in the study of the mother tongue is to put into practice the general and operational objectives of the educational reform in Romania.

Teachers shall have the right to select from the textbooks, texts which they consider adequate for the pupils' level of knowledge, recommending for supplementary reading those which cannot be studied in the number of lessons provided.

VI. Attendance and assessment of pupils

1. The assessment of the pupils’ knowledge is in conformity with the methodology of assessment. In grades V-XII, the pupils shall have a written paper (essay) every semester in the study of the mother tongue.

2. The capacity examination in the study of the mother tongue for this category of pupils shall be effected in accordance with the decision of the board of directors, following the compulsory consultation of the parents.

VII. The study of Romany as mother tongue

Considering the specific character of education for the Gypsy population, the following supplementary provisions shall be observed:

1. The study of the Romany language as mother tongue is carried out in conformity with the provisions of Chapter I, 1,

2. In the case of pupils whose parents frequently change their domicile, these can begin to study in any class at any moment of the school year irrespective of whether they have permanent residence in the respective locality.

Likewise, the study of the Romany language can be introduced at all levels at any moment of the school year, including the case of gypsy pupils who do not speak the language and wish to study it.

The parents of the pupils can submit the request for the study of the Romany language individually or collectively. The school management and the teaching staff have no right to influence the options of the pupils and the parents concerning the study of the Romany language as mother tongue.

2. Appointment of the teaching staff

In the case of a limited number of teachers qualified in Romany language - in their absence - the lessons of Romany language as mother tongue shall be assured by Gypsy high school graduates (with a certificate of final examination in a secondary school).

In exceptional cases, these lessons may be taught by high school graduates without a certificate of final examination in a secondary school or with graduates with at least 10 grades. Having in view the existing financial regulations, their payment can be assured by non-governmental organizations that set as a goal the schooling of the Gypsy population.

3. Assessment

1) The Gypsy pupils shall choose or not - according to their will - the Romany language as a supplementary subject at the capacity examination.

2) In grades V-XII the semestrial written paper (essay) in Romany language is optional.

VIII. Final provisions

1. County school inspectorates and the management of schools shall have the obligation to inform parents and pupils of various ethnic groups on the present Instructions so that they may knowingly benefit of their rights.

2. School principals shall communicate in advance to the school inspectorates they belong to, the required number of textbooks for mother tongue, having permanently in view the special printing conditions (once every four years for each title) for reduced number of copies.

3. County school inspectorates shall have the obligation to provide schoolbooks for minorities, transmitting correctly and in time the number of textbooks required.

4. The Department for the Education of National Minorities of the Ministry of National Education, through its specialized inspectors, shall grant support in the correct and efficient unfolding of the process of teaching the mother tongues of the national minorities. This shall be ensured in collaboration with all the responsible and interested factors inside and outside the educational network.

5. The present Instructions make void the Instructions approved by Order No. 4787/1996 of the Minister, as well as any other dispositions or regulations contrary to the present Instructions.

Source: Government of Romania, Department for Protection of National Minorities