The bleak unfuture of education, now unfurled

March 29, 2021 by Lucian Mogosanu

I wrote quite a bit -- by my standards, at least -- about education in the past decade. I guess my first somewhat-serious piece on the matter was that old article written eight years ago where I pulled some predictions out of... not exactly my ass, since I had had twelve plus six equals almost twenty years of experience with the Romanian educational system at the time. Then I went on a PhD, which added another circa four years of intimate familiarity with the pedagogic subtleties of Romanians and that of Westerners, from Lausannians to Bostonians and from Delftians to Houstonians1. Then 2017 came and with it a turning point where I got out of the system and started pursuing this goal of educating (myself included) through more down to earth, personal, Socratic means, which only speak for themselves through practice.

So eight years ago I made the observation that the educational system was fat tailed. That is, looking at official statistics related to Romanian education, my immediate intuition was that a marked discrepancy between poor and excellent results could be clearly seen, while the average remained thin -- on one side I saw first-hand the kids who didn't even struggle all that much anymore, while on the other I saw Gologan and Stănășilă's performers; the same discrepancy was permeating the system, from teachers to the massive bureaucracy which mostly acted as an impediment to any sort of change, both good and bad. Then I saw that the new, more enlightened Western bureaucracy wasn't doing any more good, so I mostly let it be while I tended to my own business.

So after another good three-four years of words just passing my ear, I finally reach, in Anno Domini 2021, an article wherein lies quoted a declaration of the local аппарaтчик:

The bar "must be lowered intelligently" for post-pandemic national exams, thinks Sorin Cîmpeanu.

I shan't bother diving into the essence of this revolting gargle, for it is itself thin -- we all know that what's left of "the press" is merely a signalling mechanism between political actors, do we not? I will however remark that indeed, less than a decade later, there is nothing left there. I concluded my 2013 piece with:

All these being said, I'll resort to laying on the virtual paper how the future looks. It's clear to me that Romania can't pull good or even average teachers out of nowhere. Students in universities will continue racing for grades and diplomas and teachers will give zero profound fucks about the whole ordeal. Similarly to hospitals, entire schools will end up getting closed due to this lack, a lack which will be found in universities as well, universities which will remain devoid of knowledge as soon as the olds retire.

All in all, I foresee that Romanian education will devolve into a state of total chaos during the next decade. Looking at the economical situation, I'd say the young generation's best chance to a decent life would involve going back to the countryside2 and relaunching agriculture. This doesn't even look all that bad, and I don't wanna think about the worst. It's clear though that Romanian alphabetization may easily return to the level of 19303, and then hopefully another totalitarian regime will pull systemic education out of the disorder in which it will have lied.

... with the mention that not even totalitarian regimes are what they used to be, so fat chance of any saviour savin' them savins.

Between not-even-all-that-great covids and "school on4 Zoom and Microsoft Teams", everybody got the fuck out and there ain't nothin' left of institutionalized education. Dare I say that I've heard the juicy news! not only what the press spouts. But more importantly, I dare the reader yet again to prove me the contrary!

Post Scriptum: I wrote the first draft of this piece in late February. Meanwhile it looks like Romanians are finally going to cancel the whole damned thing after all.

  1. And it wasn't that big of a deal either. Younger Romanian academics who wanted to get their heads out of their asses had two options: leave or otherwise find someone abroad whom to talk to. Tertium non datur, unfortunately, 'cause in this petty world of academia money comes from either "industrie" or "fonduri europene", tertium non datur. 

  2. Compared to late 2019, rents have gone down in the town centre and way up at the periphery. Good things systematically cease to flow out of this city, which in the end makes it not that much of a city anymore... 

  3. I don't recall the exact number, was it 30%? Functional alphabetization is not that far off anyway, which in the long run bars most people from any sort of technology

  4. For the love of fucking Trompi, please, don't you think it would be worth reviewing Catch-22?

    On what Earth are you living, dear parents? dear... citizens. 

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10 Responses to “The bleak unfuture of education, now unfurled”

  1. #1:
    spyked says:

    Meanwhile Sorin Cîmpeanu got cancelled. To be replaced, most likely, with a worse version of himself.

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