Student numbers in Romania have continued to fall sharply, amid growing concern about the country’s plummeting numbers of young people.
New figures show that 383,364 Romanian students were enrolled at domestic universities this autumn – a 6 per cent drop from the 405,638 who were registered in autumn 2016.
It means that Romania’s domestic student numbers have more than halved in less than a decade: in 2009, about 907,000 Romanians were enrolled in the country’s universities, the Romania Insider reports.
Among the factors contributing to the drop are the growth in the number of Romanians choosing to study abroad and falling pass rates on the high school graduation exam, the website says.
Tertiary dropout rates have also soared, and only 37 per cent of students graduated from university in 2016, it adds.
The decline in enrolments also serves to highlight Romania’s catastrophic demographic dip, which is blamed largely on an exodus of its citizens to other European countries in recent years.
It is estimated that as many as 3.4 million Romanians have left the country since it joined the European Union in 2007 – the largest peacetime exodus of any European country since the Second World War.
Only war-torn Syria has seen a higher percentage of its citizens emigrate, show figures released in February by the Immigrant Integration Research Centre at Move, an international conference discussing migration and the integration of migrants, according to the Emerging Europe website.
Romania’s population is predicted to fall as low as 15.2 million by 2050, having peaked in 1990 at 23.5 million.