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June 30, 2011

Homeschooling in Romania: The Current Situation

By Gabriel Curcubet

As president of the Romania Home School Association (RHSA), it is my privilege to respond to a request by HSLDA to explain the current situation in Romania as it relates to homeschoolers. The first thing the reader should know is that Romanian education law does not explicitly provide for any form of homeschooling. This does not affect Americans and other expatriates living and working in Romania, but it does affect all Romanians in this nation of 22 million people. The language of the constitution gives parents the right to educate their children according to their faith. In actual practice, though, one cannot legally choose to homeschool.

In spite of this difficult situation, RHSA is helping these nationals to homeschool their children. Most Romanian homeschoolers are Christian believers who understand that they are responsible for the education of their children. They therefore make extraordinary sacrifices to buy Christian textbooks, manuals and educational tools. They also, in some situations, enroll their children in homeschooling academies outside Romania, which our government recognizes.

Despite the fact that few people in Romania had ever heard of homeschooling 10 years ago, the idea is now becoming more and more popular in some circles. In fact, one year ago we (RHSA) came close to having homeschooling officially legalized. Unfortunately, it did not happen. But we continue to try. For at the heart of this effort, we Christians believe with conviction that we are responsible for the education of our children. We have legal problems and also difficulty obtaining good materials. The average Romanian is also hard-pressed to pay for the costs of homeschooling. However, we press on, looking to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, for His help in this. And later this year, we hope to make another effort to have homeschooling legalized.

Currently, some Romanian homeschoolers are using a gap in the law which allows Romanian citizens to enroll their children in foreign schools. This is mainly for public school children, but Romanian homeschoolers take advantage of this opportunity, too. This is working for now, but at anytime, any homeschool parent could be charged for “unlawful” action. And if this should happen, it would be very difficult to win because Romanian authorities interpret the law in their own way, saying that all constitutional rights must be regulated by law. This has the effect of putting all their laws above the constitution!

There are thousands of Romanian nationals who would love to homeschool if it could be done legally and in line with their modest incomes. Their desire to glorify God by giving their children a Christian education is so great that they are ready to make great sacrifices and face the danger of prosecution. The Romanian Home Schooling Association is working hard to legalize homeschooling in Romania, but until homeschooling becomes legal inside Romania, it is critical that homeschoolers outside Romania help Romanian homeschoolers.

As you probably know, there are Swedish and German homeschoolers who are being prosecuted for continuing to homeschool. We can avoid this here in Romania if we can find a state-approved homeschool organization in the United States that will work with us (RHSA). Those who homeschool here do not need to face what is now happening in Germany and Sweden. For there are schools in the U.S. that our government would recognize, although we have not found any of them yet that are willing to help us. Some of them may feel that working with us would jeopardize their standing in the U.S. Others may not be interested in us because the average Romanian homeschooler cannot begin to pay for their materials and the grading of tests. However, if we could find a state-approved school in the U.S. that would let us translate their materials into Romanian—we would do all the work—and let us do all the grading under our teachers, it would be possible for thousands of Romanian nationals to home school with their modest incomes and do it safely under the laws of Romania.

As I have said, we must continue in our efforts to legalize homeschooling in Romania, but the key to our efforts at this time is to find a state-approved (not necessarily state-accredited) homeschool organization in the U.S. that will work with us. Please pray and help us find such a school as this in the U.S. Your efforts can help thousands of Romanian families home school their children and do this without prosecution. God bless you!

Gabriel Curcubet is the president of the Romanian Home Schooling Association.

 Other Resources

Learn more by visiting HSLDA’s Romania webpage.