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November 17, 2013

Authorities affirm homeschooling in Moldova

A district prosecutor has dropped a case against a homeschooling family in Stefan-Voda, Moldova. Prosecutor Serghei Trofimov stated that there is nothing in Moldovan law to prohibit parents from choosing to home educate their children, reversing the district’s original position that homeschooling deprived the children of an education. The Bugaian family, whose three children are enrolled in HomeLife Academy and are receiving instruction from their parents, believe they are likely one of the first families to homeschool in Moldova.

“We are excited to see how God has worked in our situation,” Vitalie Bugaian told Home School Legal Defense Association. “The prosecutor’s decision opens the way for a lot of families in Moldova to have a better education for their kids!”

Vitalie and Natasa Bugaian made the decision to start homeschooling in March 2013, when they had “had enough of the public school in the village” where they have lived since 2010.

“The sanitary conditions, the quality of the studies, insecurity for our child, and lack of transparency on the teachers’ part were some of the reasons that made us search for a different educational option,” explained Mr. Bugaian. “Also, we weren’t given the opportunity to choose to study different subjects like English, computers, or Bible study.”

But what worried the parents most was their 9-year-old daughter’s behavior while attending public school.

“She developed a hatred toward family, parents, work and studies, Bible study, and God. She was hard to please, insecure, and lost the joy for life. This marked a turning point for our family life,” stated the Bugaians. “God reminded us about homeschooling.”

The Bugaians first learned about homeschooling in 2006 when Natasa Bugaian’s sister told them she had started homeschooling her son in America. Shortly thereafter, while living in the Czech Republic, the Bugaians met an American couple who homeschooled their four children.

“As we searched on the Internet, we found out more details,” said Vitalie Bugaian. “For instance, we thought that homeschooling was done only in the U.S., but we found out that it is spread worldwide. Another discovery was the HSLDA videos on YouTube that encouraged us much to homeschool our children.”

The family initially received permission from local school authorities for their daughter to attend school on a reduced schedule, allowing them to effectively homeschool the remainder of the time. During the summer holiday, the family researched and selected curriculum, joined HSLDA, and enrolled in Home Life Academy. They began homeschooling full-time in fall 2013. However, not long afterward, local and regional school authorities visited the Bugaians’ home on multiple occasions.

“The local school authorities said that by refusing to let our go children to their school, we were depriving them of their right to education,” said Vitalie Bugaian. “They alerted the police, who opened a case against us and referred the matter to the district prosecutor. If found guilty, we would have faced fines and our daughter being taken back to school by force.”

One month later, after furnishing documentation from Home Life Academy and a letter from HSLDA and participating in a press conference where they explained homeschooling and its benefits, the family received good news. The prosecutor dismissed the case against them, since, as he said, “there is no legal basis against this type of education in Moldova.”

The legal basis for parents’ right to direct the education of their children is found in Moldova’s Constitution and education law. Article 35 of the constitution specifically states that the “prior right of choosing an appropriate educational background for children lies with the parents.” The country’s education law further confirms this right in article 60, explaining that “parents have the right to choose the school and language for their children.” Parents are required either to provide a “form of compulsory education (public or private)” or to “carry out instruction in the home.”

HSLDA Director of International Relations Michael Donnelly expressed support for the Bugaians and other families like them around the world who have defended their right to direct the education of their children.

“We are pleased that Prosecutor Trofimov has affirmed the Bugaian family’s choice to home educate their children,” stated Donnelly. “It is encouraging to see that more and more families are discovering the benefits of homeschooling and choosing this form of education even in the face of an uncertain legal climate or potential interactions with officials. The Bugaians are pioneers joining the ranks of many other families worldwide.”

Contact the Bugaian family via email.

 More Information

Learn more by visiting HSLDA’s Moldova page.