Country Listing

Romania Table of Contents


Political Education and Socialization

Education was a political socialization process from preschool through university and beyond. In kindergarten ideological training aimed to instill love of country, the PCR, and President Ceausescu. In addition, children were introduced to the Marxist concept of work, largely through imitation of the everyday work world. Instruction stressed equality between the sexes in the working environment and the equal importance of physical and intellectual work. Much of the ideological training was dedicated to socialist morality, which emphasized obedience to discipline and commitment to building socialism over the welfare and advancement of the individual, as well as honesty and politeness.

Although ideological training in preschools was indirect, as children progressed through the system, it began to resemble other academic subjects. Students were increasingly obligated to participate actively in ideological training. The emphasis was placed on conformity and anti-individualism. Violations of the dress code, which dictated dress, hairstyle, and general appearance, were viewed as ideologically incorrect behavior. The primary source of teaching materials for political instruction were party newspapers, and typical topics for discussion were Ceausescu's speeches, decrees by the Central Committee, and the role of industry in the country's economic development. At the high school and university level, students read classical texts of Marxism-Leninism and studied the Romanian interpretation of them.

In addition to the ideological training accomplished within the education system, political training was supplemented by extracurricular activities arranged for young people through the national youth organizations--the Pioneers and the Uniunea Tineretului Comunist (UTC), or Union of Communist Youth (see Glossary) --which were closely affiliated with schools but controlled by the PCR. Students in the fifth to eighth grades were members of the Pioneers, and students at the high school or university level were UTC members. Membership in these organizations, which supervised almost all extracurricular activities, was mandatory. In the 1980s, however, the youth organizations were battered by criticism because of the younger generation's political apathy and infatuation with Western values, music, and dress. The UTC was castigated for the antisocialist nature and "narrow individualism and careerism" of young people and many of its traditional responsibilities were transferred to educational and cultural organs.

Ideological profiles were kept on each student throughout his or her academic career, and failure to exhibit correct ideological behavior was noted. Upward mobility within the education system, and hence, upward social mobility, depended on getting passing marks in discipline and ideological studies as well as in academic studies. University students who demonstrated political activism, perhaps by serving as UTC officers, often were invited to join the PCR.

Data as of July 1989