President Klaus Iohannis said on Thursday that the new academic year will be "the most difficult" since 1989, in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Agerpres.
"Today marks the beginning of a new academic year, which is undoubtedly the most difficult academic year since 1989. The rules of social distancing needed in the context of the health crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic make it difficult for an educational process in which mentoring has a central role. However, I am convinced that you will find the best ways to ensure both the quality of the educational act and the protection of the academic community from the risk of contamination with the novel coronavirus," the head of state said at the opening of the academic year at the "I.L. Caragiale" National University of Theatre and Cinematography (UNATC).
He stressed that this year would be difficult for the cultural act in general, in the context in which the performance halls have been closed for months, and the measures meant to control the epidemic will not allow a full return to normalcy in the next period.
"There is an inseparable link between the performing arts and the public. I especially appreciate the sacrifice made by the artistic community to contribute to the safety of society as a whole. At the same time, I am aware that there is a real need for support for cultural institutions, actors, directors, filmmakers and media creators, and that is why I am in constant dialogue with the responsible government authorities to find appropriate solutions to this segment that is deeply affected by the pandemic.
Together, the Government, other authorities, creators from all fields of arts and cultural industries and, last but not least, the academic environment, you have the responsibility to think and relaunch the cultural field. We will have to remedy not only the damage caused by the pandemic, but also some systemic gaps, which have made cultural consumption in Romania, in the last decade, well below the European Union average," said Iohannis.
According to the president, in post-pandemic, economic recovery efforts will need to be accompanied by greater support for culture, both by the state and the private sector.
"This is the message of encouragement that I want to send to the students of the National University of Theatre and Cinematography, as well as to the students from the other universities and art faculties in Romania. Art education is, after all, an essential pillar in constructing a really educated Romania," added Klaus Iohannis.
He said he chose to attend the opening of the academic year at UNATC given that it "shaped" Romania's recent culture.
"Through its graduates, the National University of Theatre and Cinematography has shaped Romania's recent culture and channeled the creative effort of personalities who have honored our country internationally," Iohannis said.
The head of state conferred on "I. L. Caragiale" UNATC the "Merit for Education" Order in the rank of commander at 70 years since the establishment of the institution.
"As a sign of appreciation of this rich activity of the institution, we decided to award the Merit for Education Order, in the rank of Commander," said President Iohannis.