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Emil Boc: Romania has placed research and development as a top priority

Prime Minister Emil Boc describes to Public Service Review how Romania is tackling the economic downturn by bridging the gap between research, investment and its citizens

What is the importance of areas such as education in boosting economic growth, and how can such sectors be supported?

Areas such as education and R&D, in which the quality of human resources is lower, are key to future economic growth, especially for those countries that, similar to Romania, have a high human resource potential that has not yet been fully exploited. The convergence towards the EU average development level, implemented to reduce the disparities between the more developed countries, cannot be achieved unless the workforce is efficiently involved in the economic activities that are required by the information society.

In Romania, a large part of the population performs agricultural activities, while other services are less developed. Consequently, the role played by education and professional training in boosting economic growth is very important. This is why Romania adopted the objectives set by the Europe 2020 Strategy – to implement reforms targeted on ‘intelligent growth’, based on knowledge and innovation, and to improve the education and professional training system.

In this respect, the Romanian government took action to implement a comprehensive and essential reform of the education system through the new Education Law, assumed by the government through a vote of confidence in Parliament. The reform is focused on raising the quality of teaching and learning, based on the competencies transferred to the students by highly trained and skilled teachers, as well as providing fair and efficient financing of the system. The new law guarantees effective decentralisation, which will provide better management of the school network.

What are the Prime Minister’s priorities for other important public service areas, such as research and health?

Romania has placed research and development as a top priority. Therefore, this year we have increased the budget for research by more than 40%. At the same time, we have amended legislation to ensure the efficient allocation of funds. Romania is involved in large international projects, such as CERN, in Geneva, and FAIR, an anti-proton research facility. In addition, the present government is supporting the building of the extreme light infrastructure in Romania, designed to develop the world’s most powerful laser. The key to our success is to attract the human resource, represented by Romanian scientists, who are working in top universities and institutes abroad.