ORGANIZER: Laura Roxana
Laura Roxana Sonea wrote -
I have launched the social project entitled "The Right to Education", that implies providing schoolbooks and educational equipment to elementary schools in rural areas of Romania.
The motivation of our project is that more than half of the children in rural areas fail to complete primary school, due to the difficulties of living and the inability to acquire study materials that schools usually cannot provide them with. No matter how huge the desire of a child would be to study and overcome poverty by evolving into an educated person, his/her will is defeated by a multitude of obstacles.
Access to primary education has become selective! Children deprived of access to education are deliberately marginalized. Apparently, certain geographic and economic conditions can simply dictate a child's future and status as a person without rights, such as access to education; equal opportunities for overcoming poverty; as well as the right to dignity, through their condemnation to poverty. In our view: they are discriminated against.
THE GENERAL SITUATION
For approx. 12% of rural households in Romania, the only source of income is the child’s school allowance. Thereby, for too many children, their families must make tremendous efforts, only to cover their basic needs. But even if this allowance would exclusively be used for the child’s educational needs, it could only cover the price of two school books.
Our project’s first stop would be in Ialomita county. Communes (= group of villages) we address with priority have a poverty rate of over 50%. The situation here is illustrative for the whole country. There is maximum one institution of compulsory education within these communes. In other words, children between 6 and 12 years old, who wish to attend primary school, have only got a single school to go to within a radius of about 50 square kilometers.
Schools in rural areas of Romania seem to impose an undue burden for children.
About one third of Romanian pupils of the compulsory education is in rural areas, and is not benefiting from textbooks. According to the "Report on the State of National Educational System 2009-2010": in rural areas, only 45% of children manage to complete their primary school education and continue their studies; 45% of middle school pupils graduate and attend high school; while only 27% of young people who complete high school, manage to reach college.
Rural schools throughout Romania are faced with two difficulties: state neglect and scarcity.
They can only provide (if any) very old, outdated and deteriorated textbooks, completely incompatible with the current national syllabus. Usually, the children completely rely on the teacher’s creativity. This situation doesn’t help children sustain any national examination successfully.
Many rural schools have recently been disbanded, due to so called “uselessness”, because not many children were able to attend them. This aggravated the scarcity of the schools. Added the serious gaps of public transport in rural areas, making it difficult to get to school, especially for smaller children; as well as the harsh poverty at home, which forces the children to help out their parents by working in the household and on the fields, exhausting themselves, these children are making a heroic effort every day to go to school.
Through the current project, we intend to address one of these underlying problems: access to adequate study materials. We believe it's time to stop wasting the chances and the potential of generations of children, waiting for some centralized miracle, but to provide the children with the books they need, and by which they can increase their horizon of possibilities.