Moldova - Higher Education
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At the tertiary level, colleges provide short-term higher education typically for two to three years. Universities provide education that lasts for four to six years to meet long-term needs. During the Soviet era, preference for higher education was given to Russian and Ukrainian students. In 1940, there were only 10 students per 10,000 people in Moldova. This had increased to 170 per 10,000 in the year 2000, with a growing representation of ethnic Romanians. According to 1996 UNESCO statistics, 93,759 students were enrolled in tertiary education of which 51,411 students were females. Of these students, 38,295 were in social sciences, 30,074 were in natural sciences, 9,181 were in medical sciences, 8,375 were in education (including religion and theology), 4,377 were in humanities, and 3,457 were classified as others. In 1996, 13,249 students graduated from the tertiary level.
In the year 2000, there were 53 colleges. Out of these 53 colleges, 48 were state governed and 5 were private. According to their area of specialty, 9 colleges were pedagogical, 10 were agrarian, 6 were medical, 5 were art and music, 9 were economics and law, 8 were technical, 2 were technological, 2 were military, 1 was ecological, and 1 was foreign language. At the university level, there were 28 institutions. Of these, 13 were state owned and 15 were private. About two-thirds of the students in the tertiary level were being supported by the state, and only one-third were paying for their studies.
Post university or doctoral and postdoctoral education in Moldova is also available for graduates from higher education. The admission is competitive and based on criteria established by the state attestation commission and the agreement with Academies. In the public sector, three Academies have been established. The Academy of Sciences is the oldest and was founded in 1961 in Moldova. In the year 2000, it had six sections: Physical-Mathematical, Biological and Chemical, Humanities and Social, Agricultural, Medical, and Technical. With a shift to the market economy and greater demand for professionals in economics and management, Moldova started the Academy of Economic Sciences in 1991. The academy had the following faculties: Management, Marketing, Accounting, Finance, International Economic Relations, Cybernetics, Economic Statistics, and Informatics. In 1999, there were 8,435 students enrolled in the Academy of Economic Sciences and there were 547 faculty members working in its 23 Departments. In 1999, eight years since its inception, 8,716 students had graduated from the Academy of Economic Sciences. The third Academy in Moldova is the Academy of Public Administration. The Doctorate of Philosophy (Ph.D.), which culminates with a thesis defense, is awarded after post university education. The Doctorate of Science (D.Sc.) is conferred after two years of postdoctoral research work and attestation by a State Commission.
Higher education for graduates in professional positions is also available. The only public institution for higher technical education in the country is the Technical University of Moldova (TUM). At TUM, the education is offered in 58 branches of engineering, with 95 options, and undergraduate education is for a minimum four years. At the completion of undergraduate education, the Diploma of Licentiate Engineer is awarded. At the graduate level, TUM also awards a master's degree, a Doctorate of Philosophy (Ph.D.), and a Doctorate of Science (D.Sc. or postdoctoral degree). In 2001, TUM consisted of 9 faculties, 13 colleges, and had an enrollment of close to 10,000 students. The university had 750 faculty members with 4 serving as members of the Academy of Sciences (considered as the most prestigious recognition), 45 professors with Doctor of Science degrees, 400 associate professors with Doctor of Philosophy degrees, and 195 lecturers with minimum masters' level training.
An internationally respected trade institution of its own kind in Moldova is the College of Wine Culture. The College was established around 1850 and draws students from all over Eastern Europe and other parts of the world; it graduates about 300 wine experts every year.
In 2000, according to the Department of Statistics and Sociology in Moldova, only one in eight who completed higher education got a job. At the beginning of 2001, more than 75,000 students were registered for higher education in Moldova, a large number on part-time basis. Law and Economics were the most prestigious specialties in 2000.
Students pursuing higher education also seek opportunities to study abroad. Romania is the most popular destination for pursuing higher education because of proximity, language, and similarity in culture. Several exchange programs with universities in Romania have been established. The United States and countries in Europe are also popular places for seeking higher education by students. As reported in the media, the selection procedures for awarding these exchange scholarships are often a source of contention between politicians and academicians with each wanting greater role in selection and blaming the other for corruption.