I realize that there are few texts as boring to read as a white paper, but if you’re not afraid of charts and a mountain of statistics, you can read a very informative World Bank report on Romania in English here and in Romanian aici.
Entitled “Magnetic Cities” in some versions (oops!), it is, nonetheless, quite a lot of data that backs up what I’ve said many times before, namely, that the universities and the capital are the weak glue holding what’s left of Romania’s economy together.
This image is a bit hard to decipher at first, but what it shows is that a lot of people are leaving rural communities and relocating in the bigger cities across the country. Targu-Jiu, in particular, has witnessed spectacular growth, but an astonishing 15% of Romanians are interested in moving to Cluj-Napoca (and 14.4% to Bucharest).
But it’s not all good news.
From the report:
Although cities are critical for the performance of the Romanian economy, there is [sic] no coherent National Development Policies in place, or are there any state-funded programs targeting cities.
Sometimes, I honestly think there should be warning signs at the airport saying “Welcome to Romania – We Have No Coherent Policies.”
From the report (“migrants” refers to Romanians moving to a different place in their country, not foreign people):
Between 2001 and 2011, the period of rapid economic boom, an overwhelming share of migrants (66.3%) were young people (less than 35 years of age).
The most successful cities in attracting young people were largely the important university centers in the country – Cluj-Napoca (80.1%), Iasi (74.4%), Timisoara (70.2%), Bucharest (69.5%), Sibiu (68.4%), and Craiova (67.6%).
The downside to this is that industrial cities like Braila, Ploiesti, Galati, and Deva are rapidly on the decline.
And while I’m obviously glad that educational hubs like Cluj are expanding and attracting great people, this one salient fact can never be forgotten:
As good as the universities in Romania are, they can hardly compete with the universities in the developed world. There is no [sic] university in Romania that is in the Top 500 Shanghai University Ranking.
This means that it is important for students from Romanian universities to be exposed to professors, other students, teaching methods, and the last [sic] technical/academic advances from top-notch global universities.
Sounds about right to me.
And for your information, the University of Belgrade in Serbia(!) is in the Shanghai Top 500, as are two universities in Poland, so Romania has a lot of catching up to do even in comparison to former Communist countries.
AND NOW YOU KNOW!