Moldova

Moldova is a landlocked country in Eastern Europe. According to Article 35 of the Constitution of the Republic of Moldova 4, the right to education is a fundamental right of every citizen. The access to education is equal, free and merit-based, and the state education is free and secular. The national education sector is regulated by the Education Code-5, in force since 23 November 2014, which sets the legal framework of legal relations concerning planning, organisation, functioning and development of the education system in the Republic of Moldova. In addition, the Government of the Republic of Moldova approved on 14 November 2014 the Education Development Strategy for 2014-2020 “Education 2020”6. The strategic objectives in the area of education are also set in the Association Agreement-7 signed between the Republic of Moldova and the European Union. The “Education 2020” strategy is the main policy document in the area of education. It sets the medium-term tasks and objectives for education development and defines the priority development directions and orientations of the education system in the Republic of Moldova. Therefore, the Ministry of Education has developed its sector expenditure strategies and yearly action plans based on those stipulated in the strategy.

RegionCentral Europe
CapitalChișinău
LanguageMoldovan
Population2,681,735
Expenditure on higher education2,1 %
Unemployment4,3 %
EuroUniversities in top 1000
EuroUniversities in top 2500
EuroUniversities in top 5000
EuroUniversities in top 10003
Students95,000
Foreigner students2,1 %
Enrollment rate in higher education72 %

First Cycle Programmes

The Bachelor study programmes (cycle I) are offered by the majority of educational institutions in the Republic of Moldova. The admission to an institution that offers Cycle I courses is done based on the Baccalaureate Diploma (obtained after graduating 3 years of high school (lyceum)). In addition, some higher education institutions organise also an admission examination for certain specialties.

Branches of Study

The higher education at cycle I Bachelor level is the most higher education requested/accessed by youth in the Republic of Moldova. Nevertheless, in the recent years, the number of students in cycle I has been continuously decreasing, a phenomenon caused by migration and the gradually lower number of population in the Republic of Moldova. With the exception of the Public Administration Academy under the President of the Republic of Moldova, and the Institute of Education Sciences, all other higher education institutions in the Republic of Moldova offer Bachelor courses. According to the data of the National Statistics Bureau, in the academic year 2015-2016, the most requested areas of Bachelor higher education are, in decreasing order, the following:
• Social sciences, economy and law;
• Education sciences;
• Engineering, technologies, architecture and constructions;
• Humanities and arts;
• Life sciences;
• Exact sciences;
• Services;
• Agriculture.

Admission Requirements

Admission to Bachelor studies is done yearly, on competitive basis, during July-September. The main requirement to be admitted is the holding of a Baccalaureate Diploma or similar study document, issued by an educational institution accredited by the national education authority. The selection of candidates is carried out by admission commissions established at every higher education institutions. Candidates can register for the admission competition for cycle I in several specialties in several domains, at one or more higher education institutions. Following the publication of results, they must choose one single domain in one single institution. 15% of budget-funded places are allocated to students from socially vulnerable categories. With the establishment of the university autonomy, the higher education institutions in Moldova set their own criteria of selecting students when they organise the admission competition. Thus, besides the file-based competition, some institutions organise admission examinations for certain specialties, such as arts, journalism, in the area of military, security and public order, etc. According to the Regulation Framework of each HEI regarding the organization of admission at Bachelor studies, during the admission of students to Bachelor studies, universities will take into account their own mission, the institutional strategy, as well as the requirements of the labour market, based on the Nomenclature of Professional Development Domains.

Curriculum

The Ministry of Education developed and implemented the “Reference University Curriculum Framework”. This document defines the conceptual and methodological aspects of the curriculum policies at the national level and is in line with the provisions of the National Strategy Moldova 202020 that recommends the “modernisation of the educational system in order to respond to the individual needs of young people and to meet the requirements of the labour market, by increasing the economic productivity and the employment rate”. The higher education institutions in Moldova that offer Bachelor studies have the freedom and responsibility to develop their own curriculum and study programmes, taking into account the National Qualifications Framework 21. The curriculum is approved by the Senate of the institution. The study programme should correspond to the qualification given to the institution’s graduate. In certain cases, such as medicine and pharmacy studies, the content of the education programme is developed in coordination with the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education. In the Republic of Moldova, the teaching language is Romanian. If there are requests to study in Russian, English or French faculties can create groups with teaching in Russian, adapting the study programmes accordingly. Newly created programs have to be approved by the Ministry of Education.

Second Cycle Programmes

Branches of Study

Master programmes are offered by all types of higher education institutions in the Republic of Moldova, i.e. universities, academies, and institutes. Cycle II studies have duration of 18-24 months and correspond to 90-120 transferable credits, 30 for each semester. Master programmes can be directed towards conducting studies of the following:
• Master of science – deepening the knowledge in a scientific field which aims at the production of
original scientific knowledge; and
• Master of professionalization – professional development or strengthening of professional
competences in a specialised field and can form a basis for professional career.
According to official statistical data presented by the National Statistics Bureau, the most requested
domains of Master studies are the following:
• Social sciences, economy, law;
• Education;
• Engineering, technologies, architecture, constructions;
• Humanities and arts;
• Life sciences, exact sciences;
• Services; and
• Agriculture.
In the medical and pharmaceutical domain, the cycle II studies are represented by the “residency”, namely studies with a duration of 2-5 years organised by the Ministry of Health, that have as a goal the mandatory professional development of medical doctors and pharmacists by specialties.

Admission Requirements

The admission to Master studies education is organised through competition, based on the Bachelor diploma or another equivalent document recognised and approved by the Ministry of Education. The higher education institutions that offer courses in cycle II studies set their own admission methodology, based on general criteria set out by the Ministry of Education and the Nomenclature of Professional Development Domains and Specialties. Admission to cycle II studies in medicine and pharmaceutics is done through competition, according to the criteria set out by the Ministry of Health in coordination with the Ministry of Education.

Curriculum

The curriculum for cycle II studies is developed by each higher education institution that offers such studies, based on the National Reference Framework. The study programmes are approved by the Senate of the institution and the Ministry of Education, in accordance with the national regulations. Any institution that offers Master studies is subject to external evaluation of the study programme. The authorisation of the content is carried out by the National Agency for Quality Assurance in Professional Education. In case of residency studies (in medicine and pharmacy), the contents of the educational programmes are developed in coordination with the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education. The teaching language is Romanian. If there are requests to study in Russian, faculties can set up groups with teaching in Russian, the study programmes being adapted accordingly.

Third Cycle (PhD) Programmes

Organisation of Doctoral Studies

In the Republic of Moldova, doctoral studies are presented in the Regulation on organisation of cycle III studies, as a first stage of scientific career. The doctoral study programmes are developed as a component of higher education in continuation of cycle II higher education. The studies are organised within doctoral schools, which are structures set up within higher education institutions that offer doctoral studies in a certain domain or in interdisciplinary domains. Doctoral schools are funded from the state budget or other legal sources. Doctoral studies (180 credits) last 3 years. In case of medical, veterinary, agricultural, biological and pharmaceutical science studies, the courses are extended to up to 4 years. The courses can be organised on a full-time or part-time basis, in the latter case one study year being added. Based on sound justification, the duration of the doctoral programme can be extended by 1-2 years (interrupting the state budget funding) or the studies can be interrupted for up to 2 years and resumed later.

The cycle III studies can be of two types:
• Scientific PhD – produces internationally recognised original scientific knowledge, based on some scientific methods; it is a precondition for professional career development in higher education and in research; and
• Professional PhD – conducted in the areas of arts and sports, represents the reflection of some national and international high performances that can form a basis for professional careers in higher education and research in arts and sports. The most requested domains for cycle III studies are (according to statistical data provided by the National Statistics Bureau): Social and economic sciences; Medical sciences; Life sciences; Humanistic sciences; Engineering sciences and technologies; Agricultural sciences.

Admission Requirements

To be admitted to doctoral studies, candidates should hold a Master diploma or its equivalent. The selection of candidates is made by the doctoral supervisors that will guide the future doctoral students while later they would have to obtain a positive clearance from the Council of the doctoral school. The manner of conducting the selection of candidates is established by each separate institution/consortium. Resident doctors can register for a doctoral programme during their residency. The number of multiannual doctoral grants is approved by the Government, for duration of at least 3 years. The grant funding is allocated yearly by the law on state budget.

Status of Doctoral Students/Candidates

Candidates admitted to doctoral studies have the status of doctoral students. Those who study full-time receive a monthly scholarship and benefit from free health insurance. In addition, doctoral students can get positions of university assistants or scientific researchers (on a 25% contract) for a determined period, within the institution or consortium that organises the doctoral studies.

Supervision Arrangements

The relation between doctoral students, their supervisors and the institution that organises doctoral studies is regulated by the doctoral higher education contract. The document is developed by the doctoral school, cleared by the Council of the school and the Scientific Council, and approved by the Council for Institutional Strategic Development of the higher education institution. The contract includes the rights and duties of the parties, identification data, the selected research topic, the amount of the scholarship and/or the study fee, the working language, the thesis finalisation deadline, dispute resolution mechanisms, etc. The doctoral studies can be also carried out in co-tutoring, i.e. doctoral students are guided simultaneously by a doctoral supervisor from the Republic of Moldova and by one from another country, by 2 supervisors from different Moldovan institutions, or by 2 supervisors from the same institution, but with different specialisations. The co-tutored student signs study contracts with both institutions/signatory parties of the co-tutoring agreement.

Employability

Holders of a PhD title in a certain domain can enjoy facilities when they aim at continuing their activity in the academic or scientific environment. While relations between academia and the business environment are encouraged by central authorities, they are not regulated in any way. The PhD diploma entitles its holder to activate in the area of sciences, arts and sports and to occupy leadership positions. Moreover, the graduates of a doctoral programme gain the right to register for post-doctoral programmes.

Assessment

During the cycle III studies, the doctoral student is piloted by the doctoral supervisor, with whom he/she should be in permanent contact. The doctoral supervisor is responsible for the structure, content, conduct and organisation of the scientific research programme of the student. In his/her turn, the doctoral student is obliged to present activity reports to the doctoral supervisors and the guiding commission as often as requested. The student can be expelled in case of violation of quality or professional ethics standards, including proved plagiarism or reasoned invalidation of the doctoral thesis by the National Accreditation and Attestation Council. The distribution of 180 credits granted at the end of cycle III studies is decided by the Council of the doctoral school and approved by the Scientific Council of the institution, depending on the performances of the doctoral student.

Certification

The doctoral student receives a title, with the “Dr P” (PhD) acronym and a doctoral diploma in a professional field following the public defense of his/her doctoral thesis. The regulation on the organisation of doctoral higher education, cycle III, provides that the doctoral diploma should record the obtained evaluation: “Excellent”, “Very Good”, “Good” or “Satisfactory”. In addition, the document will include a mention in Latin, as follows:

  • For the evaluation “Excellent” – “Summa cum laude”;
  • For the evaluation “Very Good” – “Magna cum laude”;
  • For the evaluation “Good” – “Cum laude”.
    In the event that the doctoral student fails to defend publicly the doctoral thesis, he/she is granted a
    certificate ascertaining the attendance of doctoral studies.

Mobility and internationalisation in Higher Education

Student Mobility

Academic mobility among students is one of the priorities on the agenda of the Ministry of Education concerning modernization and internationalization of higher education. However, currently there are no national programmes or strategies promoting and ensuring student mobility in another country during their studies and that because of financial reasons. The main programme that offers students the possibility to enjoy academic mobility is the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union. It offers credit mobility to students from Bachelor, Master and PhD programmes and Master and PhD student mobility (Erasmus Mundus Joint Study Programmes). The students from the Republic of Moldova can also enjoy mobility in the framework of other programmes. For instance, the DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service) Programme and the Francophone University Agency (AUF) offer the possibility of conducting studies and internships abroad. The higher education institutions that receive or send students in academic mobility are also responsible of its management and of the validation of ECTS credits obtained by the students in the framework of academic mobility. Recognition of study documents obtained in another country is carried out by the Ministry of Education of
the Republic of Moldova based on a file submitted by the candidate.

Academic Staff Mobility

One of the priority actions of the “Education 2020” strategy 36 is “the promotion of academic and professional mobility of academic staff, masters and researchers”. The main objective of academic staff mobility is to ensure the exchange of experience with other academic, research and economic environments in order to continuously develop and improve the quality of academic staff. At national level, there are no mobility programmes for academic staff. There are some cooperation programmes between the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Moldova and the mirror ministries from other countries (e.g., the Ministry of Education of Romania), which provide, among others, academic staff mobility. At institutional level, based on University Charters and Institutional Development Strategies, collaboration agreements are concluded with universities in the country and abroad. These agreements provide interinstitutional mobility, as well as the manner of organisation, certification, funding, reporting, etc. At European level, academic mobility of academic staff is based on several community agreements, such as Erasmus Mundus, Erasmus+, CEEPUS, AUF, and bilateral agreements between universities abroad. So far, most academic staff benefited from academic mobility in the framework of the EU Tempus programme, i.e. over 1,200 persons. They include university academic and administrative staff, researchers, etc. that have attended short- or long-term training sessions in EU countries and other partner countries involved in TEMPUS projects. Recently, the universities from the Republic of Moldova have been encouraged to participate in KA 1 Credit Mobility Erasmus+ projects, which provide mobility of university staff for teaching or training activities. The scientific staff can benefit from mobility or research stays in the framework of the European Horizon 2020 programme. The travel and accommodation expenses can be covered from the budgets of the projects, in the framework of which the mobility is planned or from university budgets, if mobility is carried out on the basis of bilateral collaboration agreements. The salary of academic staff that benefit from mobility is maintained during the entire period of absence, in accordance with local provisions related to the training and development of staff.

European Higher Education Organization is a public organization carrying out academic, educational and information activities on higher education in Europe.

The EHEO general plan stresses that:

  • Higher education systems require adequate funding and, as an investment in economic growth, public spending in higher education should be protected.
  • The challenges faced by higher education require more flexible governance and funding systems, which balance greater autonomy for education institutions with accountability to stakeholders.

Thus, EHEO plans:

  • improve academic and scientific interaction of universities;
  • protect the interests of universities;
  • interact more closely with public authorities of European countries;
  • popularize European higher education in the world;
  • develop academic mobility;
  • seek funding for European universities.