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May 3, 2010

Romanian Homeschoolers Seek Good Law

Until 2000 very few people in Romania had ever heard of homeschooling, much less practiced it. This began to change when a small group of evangelical Christians in the country felt the need to give their children a Christian education and, after two years of study and prayer, they organized the Romania Home School Association (ROHSA). When issues arose concerning the legality of the practice, ROHSA contacted the late Chris Klicka—then HSLDA’s director of international relations—who provided great encouragement and direction to Romanian homeschoolers. Since then, homeschooling has gradually moved forward in Romania among a few dedicated families.

Romania’s constitution guarantees religious freedom, including the right of parents to give their children an education in line with their religious beliefs. However, the right of parents to homeschool for either religious or philosophical convictions has never found its way into legislation formally recognizing the practice. Families who homeschool their children must be very careful to teach all the subjects in the Romanian curriculum, test their children and keep good records of what they do. This is challenging, because it is difficult for students who are not enrolled in the Romanian school system to get Romanian textbooks. Another problem is that without a recognized high school diploma, it is impossible to enter any Romanian university. Even worse, entry-level jobs are very hard to find without a recognized high school diploma.

At times, families are visited by local school authorities. These authorities have been cooperative and have seemed mainly concerned that the children were not being educationally neglected. Nevertheless, ROHSA recognizes that some form legislation is probably coming soon and is working hard among elected authorities to create a well-written bill.

Robert Rapp works with national missionaries in Central and Eastern Europe to start churches and also helps families learn about homeschooling. He notes that the first-ever Romanian Homeschool Conference was a great success this year.

“After seven years, homeschooling in Romania took a big step forward this year,” Rapp declared. “The first nationwide Romania homeschool conference took place in Arad on March 13–14. Chris Klicka’s book, Home Schooling—the Right Choice, was available in the Romanian language because of a grant from The Home School Foundation. When the conference ended, attendees agreed to develop regional homeschooling support groups with each church trying to develop its own association to work closely with ROHSA.”

Rapp also asks for prayer for the country.

“The Romanian Parliament is currently considering legislation of some kind, and ROHSA is asking for prayer that it will be well-written and allow homeschooling to operate legally, without unnecessary limitations or heavy bureaucratic measures. Please pray for ROHSA President Gabriel Curcubet as he travels to influence key people. And ask for favor in the eyes of the ministry of education and the parliament.”

HSLDA Attorney and Director of International Relations Mike Donnelly notes that legalizing homeschooling in Romania is an important step.

“To see homeschooling explicitly legalized and free in a former communist country,” said Donnelly, “would send a powerful message to the rest of the world—especially countries like Sweden and Germany that are seeking to repress homeschooling. HSLDA is pleased to support homeschoolers in Romania and all over the world as they seek freedom to exercise their fundamental right as parents to determine what is best for their children without government interference. I know Chris Klicka would be so delighted to see this progress.”