The costs of the “hammer-lessons”
By Andrei Munteanu
After 19 years of independence, the Republic of Moldova seems like being in the same state of tension, interminable pressures both external and internal, with huge problems of slightly different nature. There have been some periods of illusory improvements, but they were closely correlating with the increase of population incomes coming from Moldovan labor-migrants abroad, and dynamic growth of countries where they used to work.
The newly created, one-year-old Alliance for European Integration displays, compared with previous governments, highest potential of governance, with more reasonable visions and managerial approaches, but still, there’s some considerable difference in the views of the leaders and frictions among them.
Given that their major common interest is to hinder eventual communists’ coming again to power, while being quite scattered on other issues, the chances of setting the country on a sustainable pathway to development still leaves much to be desired.
No doubt – keeping the communists in disadvantage is of crucial importance for the country, but, given that this objective is far from being enough, there is considerable risk of despair implication, among the population, shouldn’t they manage to build more credible and veritable trust in the societal consciousness. There’s still a huge risk that they will compromise the democracy as a value, as it did Ion Sturza’s cabinet, before massive winning of elections by communists in 2001.
Like always, there are severe pressures on behalf of CIS-promoters, mainly Moscow, but, still, no one will ever build up a dignified future only by means of blaming on others. When we hear that Moscow imposes restrictions on imports of Moldovan wines, fruits or vegetables, and later restrictions of Moldovan transport companies, the government should not take it only as a “blackmail”, but also as a signal that on Russian market there is also much more severe competition, and that even if Moscow gives us some more “hammer-lessons”, we have nothing to do but learn the good side of them.
The good side of the latter, in my view, could be as follows:
(i) The current Moldovan government has to admit what the others before displayed reluctance many years ago, in the early period of independence - that it is high time to shift the national economy towards knowledge based economy. This implies first of all a need of radical change of attitude towards education in the country, in line with raising awareness that the Moldovan society is experiencing an “educational relevance vulnerability”. Moldovan population was taught, even imposed by soviet empire, keep bragging that we have no illiteracy, that we benefitted of “full-fledged” educational programs, and very little was discussed, if any at all, about the quality of that education supplied in Moldova, which was tailored to supporting interest of the Bolshevik regime in this country. It is not hard to guess how “relevant” was that education for eventual development in case the country chooses a pathway to independence. One can guess that our eastern neighbors, even many political forces in thins country, would never want us to speak and even think about this, but this is unavoidable. Should we believe the statistics from Nationmaster.com, even Cuba – as one of the most convinced communist country of the former soviet era - changed their attitude towards education inasmuch as now invest almost 20% of their GDP in this field.
(ii) Moldovan government should not disregard the idea that the future of Moldova is really blur if they continue to tolerate this double dealing in state policies – declaring education as national priority (as stipulated in the Constitution) and, on the other hand, displaying too much indifference towards the education field in terms of funding, non-transparent way of assigning ministers and key decision makers in the field, severe shortage and outdated schoolbooks. The current minister of education, for instance, is a very weak figure for such a responsible historical time for the country.
(iii) For Moldovan government is high time to admit that if they really want democracy established in the country, without relevant and due mass educational support can be very risky for the longer run.
(iv) Moldovan government must admit that the Moldovan population has been savagely violated the right to make choices based on due cognitive basis; the chronic improper attitude of previous Moldovan governments towards education as growth factor is a proof of that.
(v) The government must admit that in the former Soviet time the population of the Republic of Moldova has been subjected to hard discrimination in terms of higher taxes levied and lower investments per capita, in health care and education, compared to averages of other former soviet republics. We got to the point of this population learning more valuable things, in terms of attitudinal skills, entrepreneurship and business culture, as gastarbeiters in the Western countries, than in many educational establishments in the country.
(vi) It is high time for Moldovan politicians admit that, at least for this country realities, the quality and seriousness of subjects and matters discussed in the university halls, is not less important versus to what is discussed in the parliament, or at ministerial collegiums.
(vii) In nowadays’ situation only Romanian, USA and EU countries’ support in providing scholarships for Moldovan students and researchers is not enough at least because the population is aging almost everywhere, in richer countries too, and in line with huge benefits from the scholarships supplied, the living standards in host countries are much more attractive than in Moldova. This means we should enjoy this support, though very significant, as complementary, but still rely mostly on domestic educational system.
The story of Moldova’s troubles continues, and this is proved by recent particularly worrisome statements made already by AEI party leaders, inter alia the statement that
(i) it (AEI) does not exist any more de facto, and that
(ii) some leaders of the alliance did not want and still do not want to contribute to its consolidation.
On the other hand, one could also raise the question – don’t these statements mean that they reflect some hidden interests of some groups over the national interest of Moldova to keep its statehood and reach eventual prosperous living? You never know.
Further on this kind of statements continue with more of the like – that the “businesspeople in Moldova need to be protected by law”… What about the other citizens? Don’t we need the same protection for all of us? What if there’s not enough capacities in the country to protect particularly the businessmen in Moldova by law? Should we import these capacities or rather build up by our own? What would be the costs and implications of eventual import of capacities? For how long to import, up the next “hammer-lesson”?
With regard to Moldova I think the some times ago saying: “Fight or die” should be paraphrased as: “Invest in education… or get disappeared”.