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CHILD DEFENDER

The problem of informal payments to schools and the enrollment process deficiencies in educational institutions were discussed at the meeting of the Children's Ombudsperson with a group of mothers

The Ombudsperson for Children's Rights, Maia Bănărescu, discussed the process of registration in educational institutions and informal payments problem in schools with representatives of three online communities: ilady.md (Alina-Violetta Toporovschi, Irina Hohlovici), ”Grupul părintilor solidari” (Iulia Nazaria, Cristina Frunză) and ”Mămici fermecate” (Geta Raşciuc, Natalia Bzovaia).

At the meeting held on 1st August at the Office of the Ombudsperson, the women complained that the methodology for enrollment of children in first grade is not respected – the number of places available is not published, the procedure and timetable for registration are not shown in the educational institutions and displayed on the website of the specialized authority in the field of education. Moreover, the registration process is not transparent and organized incorrectly, so most parents are forced to pay bribes to ”catch” a place in an institution.

Women also have talked about the criteria for selection of children's enrollment in schools - after their intellectual level and depending on the financial situation of the parents, which also refers to the quality of education. Teachers pay particular attention to classes with wealthy parents or / and a high intellectual coefficient and neglected the rest, instilling a sense of inferiority.

Mothers are in favor of the centralization of the registration process in schools, so that there is proper management of applications, the sole selection criteria in their opinion should be the order in which the files of applicants are received.

Maia Bănărescu supported the idea of the ​​mothers to develop an electronic guide for parents, which lists all the steps you need to follow a parent to enroll children in an educational institution, the authorities responsible for the proper organization of the process and they can contact the authorities when their rights are violated. However, the Ombudsperson asked the participants at the discussion to encourage parents through online platforms to take legal actions, including address the Ombudsman for the Rights of the Child, in case of violation of the child rights to education.

At the meeting, the participants analyzed economic factors invoked by educational institutions that leads parents to accept formal payments. Thus, with or without parents' associations, parents contribute regularly with generous amounts to supplement the salaries of the teachers. Some parents feel compelled to resort to informal payments from the desire to provide children with better educational conditions, while others say they do so out of gratitude to teachers.

The Ombudsperson feels that the current situation was created due to underfunding of the education system and the lack of effective tools for prevention and sanction favors informal payments as normal.

Children's Rights Ombudsperson and the initiative group established a series of actions/proposals for streamlining the enrollment in schools and kindergartens and eliminate informal payments in education. At the first stage, the Ombudsperson proposed that the group of mothers, through online communities would consult parents' opinion regarding informal payments, and request the presentation of concrete cases of informal payments. The recommendations ought to be formulated and sent by the Ombudsperson to the authorities in charge.