The Ministry of Education and Scientific Research, the State Secretariat for Religious Affairs, and the Seventh-day Adventist church in Romania signed in November 2015 a collaboration protocol on teaching religion – the Seventh-day Adventist denomination – in the primary and secondary education, respectively organizing the secondary and tertiary theological education by the Seventh-day Adventist church.
The document was signed by the Minister of Education and Scientific Research Sorin Mihai Cîmpeanu, the president of the Seventh-day Adventist church in Romania, Pastor Marius Munteanu, and the State Secretary for Religious Affairs Victor Opaschi.
The protocol sets the frame for the collaboration between the three institutions, “in order to improve the educational process by taking on the common responsibility, according to the particular competencies of each signatory institution” and it stipulates that primary and secondary educational institutions have the legal responsibility of respecting the religious beliefs and values of their students.
According to the protocol, the religion curriculum – for the Seventh-day Adventist denomination – is developed by the Ministry of Education in collaboration with the Seventh-day Adventist church and the State Secretariat for Religious Affairs and is endorsed according to the law. This implies that religion manuals used by Adventist educational institutions are approved by the Seventh-day Adventist church and are endorsed according to the law.
For a better education and an efficient cooperation in the area of religious education, the signatories will share biannual and as often as needed, evaluating reports on the regulated aspects, and proposals for the improvement of the protocol.
In addition, the representatives of the Seventh-day Adventist church may take part, as guests, to school inspections, and the representatives of the three signatory institutions shall be invited to the national/regional events that one of them organizes in the area of religious and theological education.
“We are glad that, following the discussions and negotiations with the Ministry of Education and the State Secretariat for Religious Affairs, resulted a protocol appreciated and accepted by all those concerned. Of course, there are still aspects that can be improved in the future, as the protocol is flexible and may be adapted to future challenges,” said Marius Munteanu, president of the Seventh-day Adventist church in Romania.
“We see this protocol as a new stage in institutional collaboration”, pastor Munteanu highlighted, “but also as a tool that can be improved by adding provisions that would also respect the religious practices of the Seventh-day Adventist church, and the religious liberty of its students in regard to school olympics and other similar contests that take place on Saturdays, given their optional character.”
Regarding provisions, rights, and obligations, the protocol is similar to those signed by the Ministry of Education and the State Secretariat for Religious Affairs with other representatives of the denominations recognized by the Romanian state.
After 1989, the Seventh-day Adventist church in Romania started to develop an important network of educational institutions. Today, there is an Adventist Theological Institute, a school of nursing, three theological and two theoretical high schools, more than 50 kindergartens and several schools.
The percentage of students attending Adventist high schools in Romania who pass their maturity exams is double compared to the national average. These results that became a tradition and the presence in the top of Romanian Christian high schools prove the reality and professionalism of the Romanian Adventist schools.
Romania has a population of approximately 21 million people. There are about 67,000 Adventist members in the country.