In an interview with the newspaper of the Romanian Patriarchate, Lumina, Professor Dr. Ioan-Aurel Pop, President of the Romanian Academy and one of Romania’s most distinguished historians, harshly criticized the way education is being carried out in Romanian schools and says that if his country continues on its current path, instead of teaching classical subjects, it will “decay, sinking into nothingness, barbarization.”
The President of the Romanian Academy explained that “Young people are influenced by several negative factors. First of all, many of them are neglected by families, which have ceased to be a framework of preschool education, balance, dialogue, wonderful fairy tales, and a cradle of faith. Secondly, the school no longer provides a thorough education, but instead provides a superficial, formal one, at the level of minimum resistance.”
“Family and school alike guide students to realize themselves elsewhere, to take the world into their own heads,” Pop continued. “‘Education’ through digital means – so fashionable today – presents the ‘catastrophes’ of the Romanian past and the ‘nothingness’ of the present. If this is how our past and present world is, how can the future be anything but ‘dark’? But all is not lost yet. I believe that we can recover and impose what is right in society, i.e. the balance or moderation of life lived in good and truth, under the sign of faith. It is enough to look at the past and see how we got here, in a troubled world where many nations died out, melted into others, disappeared. Romanians, however, still exist and that’s not thanks to us, the epigones, but to our parents, grandparents, and ancestors.”
“Concern for the study is much lower than in the past for several reasons. One is the misconception that you can get ahead in life without serious schooling. But this means the death of civilization and culture. Confidence in the book, in school, and in education must be restored. Serious school does not mean the acquisition of practical skills for life – they are ensured otherwise – but a serious general culture. And general culture is done through extensive readings. There is still the prejudice that we don’t need fiction, poetry, novels, short stories, dramaturgy, because they can all be found on Google! How absurd! If they’re not in our heads, it’s as if they don’t exist…”
“School is work and not play, obviously work appropriate to the children’s ages. If we make school fun, if we transfer the memory from students’ heads to computers, laptops, and tablets, if we teach children only ‘practical tips’ (hygiene, sex, nutrition, public circulation, environmental protection, entrepreneurship, digitalization, sports, etc.), instead of the Romanian and universal language and literature, religion, mathematics, physics, biology, chemistry, history, geography, music, drawing, physical education, then we ensure decay, sinking into nothingness, barbarization,”
Pop called on Romanians to return to “values and virtues verified by faith” and to stop “bowing down” to the West. “Among the European peoples, we are the ones who pour the most ashes on our heads. I have not met in my travels any people who destroy themselves in the way we do. No one surpasses us either in imitation or in lack of dignity. We bow before those who curse us, who treat us with insults, we glorify those who falsify our history, who destroy our language, who despise our faith. It is beautiful that, from the 18th century onwards, we made great efforts to adapt to the advanced West, to be like them, although this could only be with painful renunciations for us, those gifted by God with a spiritual endowment other than Catholics and Protestants.”
“We did not necessarily live in this world through the competitive-individualistic spirit, nor through fierce competitions that went to the physical elimination of the one who was not like us. We were neither intolerant nor the most racist, as some interested parties would like to insinuate. We lived with the ‘eternity’ of the village, with the peace and quiet of the mountains, valleys and plains, with churches and wooden houses, with herds moving to places where they live and winter, with the ringing bells of ‘salt on the hill.’ We made our lives according to our own rhythms and routines and took the West as a model at the right time, only the West was a bit tired. Today, when we see his ‘hard work,’ we should no longer cower even in front of his errors, but keep what is good from that great civilization and value our good.
The President of the Romanian Academy concluded by saying, “If we were only stupid and backward, we would not have reached the 21st century as a people, but we would have disappeared into nothingness, we would melt into other nations. The fact that we have remained is a sign that we can overcome evil. If we return to the virtues and values verified by faith, then we will be able to sow in the souls of young people trust and hope for the future of Romania and the world.”