OVERVIEW

The aim of guidance and counselling in Romania is to provide tailored personal development interventions and to facilitate transitions of individuals between different stages of the educational system and of working life. The current setup of the guidance and counselling services in Romania has been created in the 1990s, with successive updates afterwards. The main providers of these services are schools, universities and the public employment offices. 

 POLICY

 Guidance services are regulated separately  

  • Guidance services in schools are covered by the Law of education (1/2011) and by the Order of the Ministry of Education No. 5555/2011.

  • Since 1997 the Ministry of Education has mandated that all higher education institutions should set up and provide guidance services for students.

  • Guidance in public employment offices is regulated by the Law regarding unemployment and the promotion of employment (2002).

The national lifelong learning strategy has aimed to expand available guidance services, especially for adults, which currently only have the option of accessing public employment offices. Over 100 centres for lifelong learning have been envisaged to be open by 2020, with guidance among key services to be offered.

There is no national level guidance forum at the moment (2019). Each branch of counselling services tends to have its own development path. There are occasional meetings between representatives of different services.

There is one current legislative initiative which aims to offer an overarching framework for counselling services.  

SERVICES AND PRACTICE

The school counselling and guidance services have been the most rapidly developing area within the guidance system, going from a few dozen practitioners at the end of the '90s, to currently over 2000 counsellors. In K-12 education in Romania, the counselling and guidance activities are taking place either within school counselling offices or as a distinct school subject included in the National Curriculum. Counselling has been part of the curriculum, as a compulsory distinct discipline in lower secondary education, since 2004. While a reorganization of the entire curriculum on a competence-based approach took recently place, new school syllabi have been developed for the first three years of primary school (Personal development, starting with the 2012-2013 school year), for vocational schools - grades nine to eleven (Counselling and guidance, starting with the 2014-2015 school year) and for the lower secondary cycle - grades five to eight (Counselling and personal development, starting with the 2017-2018 school year). One counsellor supports at least 800 pupils (400 in the case of preschool pupils).

The Public Employment Offices are coordinated by the National Public Employment Service (NPES), under the Ministry of Labour. They cover all 41 counties and the Municipality of Bucharest, through 70 local agencies and 141 offices. In addition, the NPES runs 8 county level and 8 regional level training centres.

All universities have guidance and counselling offices, with services (individual counselling sessions, workshops, group counselling, testing of skills and aptitudes, etc.) accessible to all students. One of the main objectives of these services is to reduce student drop-out, which is a widespread phenomenon especially in universities with a technical profile.  

TRAINING

Becoming a school counsellor requires a BA level background in psychology, pedagogy or social studies. Several master’s degree level study programmes are available (Universiatea din Craiova, Titu Maiorescu University, University of Bucharest, Universitatea de Vest, Universitatea din Pitești). While they are not a prerequisite to becoming a guidance practitioner, they are very popular with practitioners and aspiring counsellors.

With most counsellors having their initial training in psychology, many pursue further acquisition of competences in this area through continuous education.

There are county and regional level centres for school counsellors and labour market counsellors which offer continuous training opportunities. School counsellors can also access the network of Teacher Training Centres.   

RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT WORK

The Institute of Educational Sciences (IES) is a public research institute under the Ministry of Education, which since 1990 has produced studies in the field of counselling and lifelong learning through a dedicated department. Among the topics addressed have been the training needs of school counsellors, the development of a national curriculum for counselling and guidance and the development of support materials for counsellors. 

The Refernet consortium in Romania is headed by the National Centre for TVET  Development, with input from stakeholders such as the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Labour, the National Authority for Qualifications, National Scientific Research Institute in the field of Labour and Social Protection, the Institute of Educational Sciences, and the National Agency for Community Programmes in Education and Training.

ETHICS

Attempts have been made to adopt an ethical code for guidance practitioners since 2004, but these efforts were hampered by the fact that guidance practitioners are split between several services, each with its own legislation. More recent efforts by the Association of Romanian Counselors have produced another ethical code, to which its members are bound to adhere, regardless of where they practice. Membership to the organisation is voluntary.

Many guidance practitioners have a background in psychology and, as such, they have to follow the ethical code of the profession.     

Last update by Euroguidance Romania (July 2019).