FEP reaction to Romanian draft law on textbooks

Mr Klaus Werner Iohannis
President of Romania

Brussels 25th August 2017

Dear Mr President,

Yesterday, our Romanian colleagues informed us that the Minister of Education announced that he is preparing a draft law that will reintroduce the unique textbook, thus killing what was left of the educational publishers in Romania.

Hence, starting from next year, a single publishing house, Editura Didactica si Pedagogica, wearing the stigma of the former communist regime, will be publishing all textbooks.

This means that Romanian teachers and pupils will no longer have the chance to choose among a variety of textbooks and that the emulation between various publishers to produce the best textbooks will be gone.

We also understand that the announcement comes just a few days after the Minister of Education issued an order forbidding all auxiliary material in classes, under the penalty of firing the teachers who would disobey it.

We are startled that, while the European Institutions discuss copyright legislation to allow some uses of additional material in classes, the Romanian government might take such a unilateral and devastating decision.

It is crucial for all European pupils to be confronted with a variety of sources and diverging views, in order to be better equipped as informed citizens. It is crucial for all European pupils to be able to access the best possible educational material, published by a diversity of publishers, competing for excellency.

I personally experienced studying with a unique textbook, during the severe regime we had in Portugal before 1974. Fortunately, since, we have had a competitive market allowing teachers to choose the best possible textbooks for their pupils.

I, on behalf of the community of European publishers represented by the Federation of European Publishers, respectfully ask you to review these policies and to allow private sector’s publishers to continue providing the best possible educational material for the Romanian pupils.

Yours sincerely,

Henrique Mota

copy: Mr Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission

Letter to Romanian President