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His Excellency

Mr Teodor Melescanu

Minister of State, Minister for Foreign Affairs

of Romania



The Hague

26 February 1996

Reference :

No 413/96/L

Dear Mr Minister,

Please permit me to express my gratitude to your Government for the way it organised my visit to your country on 14-19 January, which concentrated very much on the Education Law and its implementation and which included meetings with headmasters and teachers in 8 minority schools in Brasov and the county of Covasna. I had ample opportunities to get fully acquainted with the views on the law of both Government and opposition.

Regarding my findings, I have to mention first of all that they confirmed the views I have expressed in a press statement I made on 1 September last year in Bucharest, which I attach for your convenience. Let me underline that I consider especially significant the clarifications and assurances which I received from your Government and which I enumerated in my statement.

On the basis of the conversations I had in January, I should like to add some recommendations.

First of all, I noticed that a considerable number of regulations regarding the implementation of the law are still under preparation. I do realise that this is a complicated process which requires considerable expertise. However, I express the hope that ways will be found to speed it up. I noticed in my contacts with heads of schools that the absence of a number of implementing regulations causes considerable uncertainty, even more so because the text of the law allows for a considerable flexibility in implementation.

Experience all over the world shows that, after a law has been implemented for some time, unforeseen weaknesses and deficiencies become visible. That certainly applies to a complicated law such as the Romanian Law on Education. I would therefore recommend that a general revision of the Law will be undertaken in the beginning of 1997.

According to article 124 of the Law, university entrance examinations have to be taken in Romania, except for subjects in which university tuition in the mother tongue is provided, such as teacher training and the arts (article 123). On the other hand, under the old system, all university entrance examinations could be taken in the mother tongue. I welcome the decision of your Government to allow the old system to continue for the current school year, and I should like to make a plea for this exemption to be continued for the 1996 university entrance examinations. I would hope, furthermore, that in the framework of a general revision of the Law in 1997 a return to the old system will be made possible.

These were the recommendations I should like to submit to you, Mr Minister. I look forward with great interest to your reply.

Yours sincerely,

Max van der Stoel

OSCE High Commissioner

on National Minorities