Reference Information on the Issue of Romanian-Language Schools in Pridnestrovie

Reference Information on the Issue of Romanian-Language Schools in Pridnestrovie


In 2012, Pridnestrovian side took a number of unprecedented measures aimed at ensuring the proper functioning of Romanian-language schools in Pridnestrovie, thus marking the principled willingness to resolve a long-standing issue which plagues relations between the parties for more than 20 years already. In particular:

- free passage of material-technical resources and educational literature necessary for a full educational process was provided;

- free movement of children studying in Romanian-language educational institutions of Moldova was ensured;

- a simplified order of completing registration, as well as a simplified form of obtaining permits (licenses) enabling implementation of educational activities on the territory of Pridnestrovie was proposed to educational institutions;

- with the assistance of the Pridnestrovian side, a series of research missions was organized – in particular, CMI European center carried out two monitoring missions of the situation around Romanian-language schools, as well as the OSCE which in 2012 with direct participation of the OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities Knut Vollebaek produced a comprehensive eighty-page report on this issue;

- willingness was expressed to involve the above institutions in educational, pedagogic, sports and other youth activities, as well as to include them into target and social programs for their full adaptation. 

From the earliest days the Moldovan side demonstrated inertia and unwillingness to address the situation around these schools, consistently substituting the need for settling the key aspects of this matter by questions and demands of technical (non-substantial) nature: abolition of rental payment, providing premises for these institutions, and reducing prices for utilities.

Yet, the above OSCE report, on the basis of which the sides initially decided to build further work, contained recommendations on the need to resolve fundamental issues first (relating to registration and licensing) and then to settle all technical issues. OSCE recommendations, in fact, provided substantive basis for further work and implementation of concrete steps designed to improve the situation.

However, the Moldovan side not simply disregarded recommendations of international mediators, but also resorted to public obstruction of separate provisions of this Report prior to its official release in an attempt to exert pressure on the OSCE experts.  

Throughout 2013, the Moldovan side had been persistently evading from substantive discussions of matters and consistent implementation of recommendations set out in the OSCE Report, thus prolonging the illegal and unsettled mode of functioning of Romanian-language schools. Constant changes in the leadership of Moldova's working group on education were not contributing to the progress as well (current head of group is the third one over the last two years).

During the meetings of expert (working) groups on education held in 2012-2013, unwillingness of the Moldovan side for licensing of Romanian-language schools in Pridnestrovie prescribed by the OSCE recommendations became apparent.

As a result, Kishinev formally withdrew itself from resolving the so-called school issue on the basis of recommendations of international mediators and numerous initiatives of the Pridnestrovian side, without offering alternative ways to normalize the situation. Pridnestrovian side in the absence of any commitments and agreements has actually found itself in the situation when it has to ensure functioning of these schools which on orders from Kishinev refuse from any interaction with the Pridnestrovian authorities.

Implementation of the OSCE recommendations is being blatantly sabotaged by the Moldovan side despite the fact that all participants of the negotiations from time to time express support to this document, including in public (European Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighborhood Policy Stefan Fule openly supported OSCE recommendations and called upon the sides to stick to this document).

Current Situation

The stance of the Pridnestrovian side leads to the need for prompt normalization and legalization of work of these institutions on the territory of Pridnestrovie. First of all, proposals of the Pridnestrovian side, based on the OSCE recommendations, address normalization of administrative activity of the Romanian-language schools. Thus, lease contracts of two institutions (Gymnasium in Rogi village and Gymnasium in Korzhevo community) expired on June 1, 2013 and September 1, 2013 respectively. As a result, Pridnestrovian communal organizations cannot continue providing the needed services.

It is highly probable that the similar situation may arise around Alexandru cel Bun Lyceum in Bendery.

Despite the objective urgency of this issue and obviousness of its possible solution, educational institutions guided by directives from Kishinev refuse to pay rent of buildings which are on the balance of local authorities of Pridnestrovie, as well as to conclude new rental contracts.

In this context it is also important to note that Moldovan side doesn't omit the opportunity to charge rent from one of its public educational institutions functioning on the constitutional territory of Pridnestrovie, in Dorotskoye village. 

At the same time, a significant part of institutions lacks elementary conditions necessary for proper educational process. There are no catering places and hot meals for children; technical requirements needed to organize educational process on separate school disciplines are not followed.

A number of institutions take no measures in the field of sanitary-epidemiological, fire and other control, which jeopardizes lives and health of pupils and teaching staff.

At the current stage Pridnestrovie calls upon school administrations to complete procedures generally accepted for non-state educational institutions.

Current stage allows addressing issue of status for these institutions as educational. Therefore, the Pridnestrovian side gets legal ground to negotiate issues of tariff and rent reduction to be risen often by the Moldovan side. It should be noted that current tariffs for utilities provided by Pridnestrovian organizations to the above educational institutions do not exceed the maximum level of tariffs set in the Republic of Moldova.

Today, these institutions operate under the Ministry of Education of the RM; so, they have to be provided with all necessary resources for the housekeeping by the Government of the RM from Moldova's budget.

Finalization of entity registration procedure conjugates to necessary tax registration followed by tax reporting and provision of other relevant documents stipulated by the legislation of the PMR, as well as to tax payment by persons employed in these institutions on the territory of the PMR.

The fact that the Republic of Moldova strongly refuses to license Pridnestrovian schools with Romanian as a language of instruction gives the Pridnestrovian side cause for concern.

This aspect is of a principal character, and the mechanism of its solution was also reflected in the OSCE recommendations.  Along with this, the Pridnestrovian side repeatedly proposed different forms of simplified license procedure that would exclude any risks for these institutions.

Principled and uncompromising unwillingness of Chisinau indicates non-readiness of the Moldovan side to search for optimal forms of dialogue on this question because, as it is well known, education is one of the most sensitive elements under conditions of unsettled relations. This allows the Moldovan side to raise the degree of tension drawing broad international public attention to this problem, and to accuse Pridnestrovie of exerting pressure on these establishments.

In 2012 and 2013, Pridnestrovian and Moldovan education experts got acquainted with the experience of how work is organized in private educational institutions in EU countries.  During study visits to Germany, Denmark and Finland it was found that there is no practice of providing the non-governmental (private) educational institutions having a foreign language as a language of instruction with free premises, reduced utility tariffs and other forms of subsidies by the state of residence.

We should also mention the insufficiency of language issue as a reason. This approach is based solely on artificial politicization of the issue. In fact, Pridnestrovie provides free teaching of different foreign languages, including Romanian. Pridnestrovian schools form extracurricular groups to study Romanian language at parents' and children's will.

On February 7, 2014 following proposals of the Pridnestrovian side were announced during the official meeting of political representatives from Pridnestrovie and Moldova

1) Development of a mechanism of tax payment to the local budget in order to avoid double taxation of employers of these schools. Optionally, money, which is withheld by the Republic of Moldova as tax from teachers' wages, can be sent to local budgets of cities and districts, where these schools are located and teachers of these schools enjoy infrastructure, public transport, medical care and other social services provided by the Pridnestrovian budget.

2) Joint inspection visits aimed at identifying and managing risks to life and health of students and lecturing staff.

3) The priority shall be addressing the issue of rent in order to start academic year from September 1, 2014. Otherwise, Pridnestrovian organizations providing housing and public utilities would not be able to extend contracts for housing and public utilities, and а blocking solutions of these issues by the Moldovan side would result in self-breakup of these schools after the end of the current academic year. 

4) Joint development of procedure for facilitated licensing by the example of one school. Joint analysis of curricula and text books in order to find optimal way of presentation of controversial/sensitive historical facts.

5) Joint visit of political representatives from the sides and participants to the 5+2 format to educational institutions located in Tiraspol: Public Educational Institution “D. Kantemir Republican Moldavian Theoretical Lyceum”, Moldovan language of tuition, and Non-Government Educational Institution “L. Blaga Theoretical Lyceum”, Romanian language of tuition.