Tuesday, November 28th 2023, the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement launched the report for the International Civic and Citizenship Education Study 2022, based on data from 24 countries, including Romania.
It is the first time that Romania has participated in this study, coordinated by the team of the Educational Testing Laboratory within the Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences of the University of Bucharest. Our country’s participation to the study was financed through the project FSS2022 (Unreeling the participation of Romania in IEA-organized comparative international studies on education), by the European Education and Culture Executive Agency and Romanian American Foundation.
The ICCS study evaluates the civic competencies of 8th grade pupils and investigates the manner in which they progress. This edition of the study included aspects related to global citizenship, durable development, migration, evolution of political systems and using digital technologies for civic engagement. Moreover, ICCS collects data concerning different aspects that help professors teach and students learn, for instance, the opportunities for civic participation in schools.
“The project is designed to serve as a model of constructive relationship between the academic and the private settings and aims to inform the Romanian public, including decisive political agents about the impact that the fourth wave of structural changes of Romanian economy has on the research, development and innovation sector, on the financial-banking sector and the energy sector. Thus, in the context of the massive changes that have reformed contemporary Romanian economy, but also of the global impact of technological revolution, the fourth wave marks the necessity to adapt to a new socioeconomic structure, and the manner in which the sector transformations will be managed will have a major importance in what concerns the future of Romania in the next decades”, underlined professor Lucian Ciolan, PhD, representative of Romania for the General Assembly IEA and vice-rector for Development Projects, Lifelong Learning and Educational Infrastructure of the University of Bucharest.
“Romania will belong to its most active citizens, and civic education is essential from this point of view. We want adults who will vote at elections, but most of all, we want adults who know their rights and responsibilities, who know how public institutions work, who are preoccupied by contemporary social issues and threats to representative democracy. Romania’s participation in the ICCS study is important not only because it shows us where we are in comparison with other states, but also because the results of the study are an important indicator in establishing the steps that will improve the policies and practices in the field of civic education. ”, mentioned Ligia Deca, the Minister of Education of Romania.
“It is very important for Romania to take part in this study. On the one side, we have an image showing how 14-year-old pupils understand the world they live in and how well they are prepared for their roles as citizen. Pupils are interested in the political and social issues of our current times, marked by wars, technology, pollution, and consider that the voices of experts should be taken into consideration more in everything that concerns public interest decisions.
On the other side, the results remind us that the development of civic competencies is a continual process in school, it is not done just through certain disciplines and only at certain times. For pupils it is very important how they practice civic principles in day-to-day life at school: their relationhips with colleagues and professors, their contribution in making certain decisions and in learning experiences, responsible behavior regarding consumption, the environment or volunteering for the community. The national report, containing the analysis of the results will be launched in March 2024”, concluded professor Cătălina Ulrich Hygum, PhD, ICCS coordinator for Romania and teaching staff of the Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences of the University of Bucharest.
What do Romanian pupils know and what can they do from a civic perspective?
The knowledge and civic thinking abilities were measured on a scale with 4 levels (A, B, C and D).
An important percentage of the pupils (18.3%) are at A level, which means that they can identify the relation between the social organizing processes and legal mechanisms which are used to control them, they are aware of the benefits of political/civic actions, they can evaluate positions, political actions or laws according to the principles which fundament them.
Most pupils (30.6%) are at B level, which means that they are familiarized with abstract concepts such as representative democracy, they recognize the manner in which institutions and laws can be used to protect and promote values and the principles of society, they understand the influence that an active citizen can have on a local community and beyond it.
Less than a third of the Romanian pupils are at level D or lower (24.3%), which means that they can operate with civic/citizenship elementary notions, practical and explicit – for instance, they know that all people are equal in front of the law.
Civic implication in school and community:
- Most Romanian pupils, 86%, voted for choosing the class representative in the Pupils’ Council, in comparison to 78%, the average for the countries participating to ICCS 2022;
- Less than a third of Romanian pupils (28%) have a high/very high interest towards politics and social issues;
- More than a third of Romanian pupils (38%) source their information from TV by watching national and international news;
- More Romanian pupils (55%) than the average of the European countries participating to ICCS 2022 (37%) declared that they are registered in volunteer groups that help the local community.
Trust in state institutions, voting intentions and engagement
- Most Romanian pupils (7 out of 10) consider that democracy is the best form of government, but their level of satisfaction with the political system is lower than the 2022 ICCS average, and only 4 out of 10 pupils have high trust in the Government, Parliament, respectively traditional media;
- To a greater measure than the 2022 ICCS average, Romanian pupils declare that they intend to vote in the future;
- Romanian pupils intend to participate in legal civic and political activities (to contact the chosen representative, to take part in peaceful protests/marches, to collect signatures for a petition) to a degree similar to the 2022 ICCS average.
Attitudes and participation intentions for protecting the environment
- Most Romanian pupils, approximately 6 out of 10, consider that climate change, respectively loosing biodiversity represent a global threat for the environment;
- To a greater extent than the pupils from the other countries participating to the study, Romanian pupils consider that in the future they will get involved in activities related to environmental protection, and almost 9 out of 10 pupils consider they will encourage the others to make efforts to help the environment (for example, by using less water);
- Romanian pupils’ preoccupation with the global threats for the environment is greater in those pupils with a higher level of knowledge and civic thinking abilities.
In March 2024, the specialists from the University of Bucharest will present data and analysis referring to results registered for Romania in the ICCS study.
ICCS (International Civic and Citizenship Education Study) is an international comparative study initiated by the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement, which aims to evaluate civic and citizenship competences of 8th grade pupils.
24 countries participated in the 2022 ICCS study: Brazil, Bulgaria, Taipei (China), Columbia, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany (North Rhine-Westphalia), Germany (Schleswig-Holstein), Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Holland, Norway, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovak Republic; Slovenia, Spain and Sweden. In total, approximately 82.000 pupils from around 3.400 schools took part in the study, next to approximately 40.000 teachers.
In Romania, the tests were administered on paper on a group of 158 schools. Participants included 2768 pupils (1357 boys and 1411 girls), 2242 teachers and the principals in the respective schools.
The test consisted of 11 clusters of items which measured pupils’ civic knowledge and the capacity for analysis in the field of civic and citizenship education. Moreover, the pupils answered the European survey and another survey with questions regarding their background, school context, perceptions and conceptions. In addition, in each school selected for the study, the principal and a number or randomly chosen teachers answered questions about the characteristics of the school and the community.