Ecaterina Andronescu

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Ecaterina Andronescu
Andronescu 2009.jpg
Minister of Education
In office
20 November 2018 – 2 August 2019
Prime MinisterViorica Dăncilă
Preceded byValentin Popa
In office
2 July 2012 – 21 December 2012
Prime MinisterVictor Ponta
Preceded byIoan Mang
Succeeded byRemus Pricopie
In office
22 December 2008 – 1 October 2009
Prime MinisterEmil Boc
Preceded byAnton Anton
Succeeded byDaniel Funeriu
In office
28 December 2000 – 19 June 2003
Prime MinisterAdrian Năstase
Preceded byAndrei Marga
Succeeded byAlexandru Athanasiu
Senator of Romania
In office
30 November 2008 – 20 December 2020
Deputy of Romania
In office
22 November 1996 – 14 December 2008
Personal details
Born (1948-04-07) 7 April 1948 (age 74)
Malovăț, Mehedinți County, Romanian People's Republic
Political partySocial Democratic Party (PSD)
EducationPolitehnica University of Bucharest
Websiteecaterinaandronescu.wordpress.com

Ecaterina Andronescu (Romanian pronunciation: [ekateˈrina androˈnesku]; born 7 April 1948) is a Romanian engineer, professor, and politician. A member of the Social Democratic Party (PSD), she sat in the Romanian Chamber of Deputies from 1996 to 2008, representing Bucharest, and was a Senator from 2008 until 2020, for the same city. In the Adrian Năstase cabinet, she was Education Minister from 2000 until June 2003. She held the same position in the cabinet of Emil Boc from 2008 to 2009, in the Victor Ponta cabinet during 2012, and finally in the Viorica Dăncilă cabinet for under 9 months between November 2018 and August 2019. She is married and has one child.[1]

Biography[edit]

Background and first ministerial position[edit]

She was born in Malovăț, Mehedinți County and became an engineer in 1972 upon graduation from the Oxidic Materials Science and Engineering department of the Politehnica University of Bucharest's Industrial Chemistry Faculty. In 1982, she earned a doctorate in the same field, and pursued further studies in Western Europe in the 1990s. From 1972 to 1983, she was an assistant lecturer at Politehnica, then lecturer from 1983 to 1990. From 1990 to 1994 she was a reader there, and she has been a professor at the same institution since 1994. From 1989 to 1992, she was assistant dean of the Industrial Chemistry Faculty, and dean from 1992 to 2004. She became the university's rector in 2004,[1] serving until 2012.[2] She has published over 155 scientific works in specialty journals in Romania and abroad; had over 60 scientific research contracts, including abroad; published three books; and has been awarded a patent.[1]

In 1996, Andronescu joined the Party of Social Democracy in Romania (PDSR; PSD since 2001). She had been a secretary of state at the Education Ministry since the preceding year, and at the autumn 1996 elections (which the PDSR lost), she gained a seat in the Chamber and left the ministry. Until 2000, she was secretary of its committee on education, science and youth,[1] continuing as a member until 2008.[3][4] Re-elected in 2000, she was appointed to the incoming Năstase cabinet, serving until 2003,[1] when Alexandru Athanasiu replaced her.[5]

As minister, she took a number of controversial decisions, including the reintroduction of a required examination for entering university faculties; changing of the modality of admission to high schools; and a change in the method for correcting the baccalaureate.[6] Critics charged that these "experiments" had introduced "anachronism and chaos" into the Romanian educational system, perturbing both pupils and teachers,[7] and Andronescu's reputed inability to justify and sustain her decisions earned her the nickname of Abramburica (a coined term mixing abracadabra and brambura, "aimless").[5]

Opposition and return to government[edit]

She was again elected to the Chamber in 2004,[4] and to the Senate in 2008.[8] During the latter campaign, she charged the incumbent National Liberal Party (PNL) government with immorality, corruption and incompetence regarding education, and touted her 2001–2003 efforts to introduce computers into classrooms and build gyms; these two programmes were themselves criticised at the end of 2004, after the PSD had been voted out of office, for the computerisation effort's weak results and for both having been undertaken after no-bid contracts worth tens of millions of dollars.[9] Additionally, during 2008, she initiated a law raising teachers' salaries by 50%; this measure won unanimous parliamentary approval.[6]

Following her election to the Senate, where she served on the culture committee until 2010, also becoming vice president of the education committee in 2009,[10] she was named Education Minister once again.[11] During this cabinet stint, Andronescu again attracted controversy. In May 2009, the authors of the nationwide high school admission test made two errors when writing the questions, prompting the resignation of two Education Ministry employees,[12] and contributing to worries among PSD leaders that Andronescu was damaging their party's image.[13] She later indicated a willingness to scrap the test in its current form, citing unpopularity among teachers.[14] That July, she announced her ministry would no longer issue diplomas for the private Spiru Haret University (and might seek its outright closure), claiming that institution had failed to undergo accreditation and authorisation for its offerings.[15] This action reportedly displeased PSD president Mircea Geoană for not being cleared with him in advance;[13] the university itself took the government to court and won the right to continue operations.[16]

She worked on pushing a new educational code through Parliament, but the PSD's former government partner, the Democratic Liberal Party (PDL), has its own proposals; despite her expressed wish, the debate became entangled in the autumn presidential campaign, where the parties are supporting rival candidates.[17][18] In September, Prime Minister Boc threatened Andronescu with dismissal if she did not annul an order allowing the Education Minister (as opposed to school inspectors) the power to change school directors; she countered that this would decrease the politicisation of the process, while Geoană commented that Boc alone could not dismiss her without consulting his party.[19] Boc's move followed rising discontent with her within the PDL, whose members Ioan Oltean and Radu Berceanu suggested that Andronescu herself was trying to politicise the educational process.[20] The PDL also suggested that Andronescu's proposals aimed at sabotaging Boc's own reform project, which the party claimed was addressing the fundamental issues.[20] Together with her PSD colleagues, Andronescu resigned from the cabinet on 1 October 2009, in protest at the dismissal of vice prime minister and Interior Minister Dan Nica.[21] Boc himself took over her ministry, on an interim basis.[22]

Plagiarism controversy and subsequent developments[edit]

In July 2012, Andronescu became Education Minister a third time, appointed by Prime Minister Ponta. When President Traian Băsescu signed off on her appointment, he requested that she confirm she had not plagiarized her doctoral thesis. This came amid a backdrop of plagiarism scandals that, among other effects, had forced her predecessor Ioan Mang to resign. Andronescu, although finding the request "demeaning" for her professional career, declared she had never committed plagiarism.[23][24][25] That November, integru.org, a Romanian website run by anonymous academics and focused on plagiarism detection charged that for a 2003 article, Andronescu and her co-author had lifted significant passages without attribution from three other works. The allegations were published by Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung; in response, the minister stated that her actions did not amount to plagiarism.[26][27] Also in the same period, an article in Nature charged she had signed off on a plagiarized 500,000 research funding request;[28] she denied ever having signed the document.[29] A third incident arose over an article published, with minor differences, four times between 2006 and 2007; integru.org alleged that Andronescu, whose name appeared on the authors' list the last three times but not the first, plagiarized the first group of authors.[30] At the December election, she retained her Senate seat with a nationwide high of 68%,[31] but was not reappointed to Ponta's cabinet when it formed later in the month.[32] In the Senate, she has served as president of the education committee since 2012.[33] At the 2014 European Parliament election, she won a seat as an MEP.[34] However, Ponta, as party chief, persuaded her not to take office, saying she was too important domestically to be permitted a job abroad.[35] She was returned to the Senate at the 2016 parliamentary election.[36]

Within her party, Andronescu has held several posts since 1997: vice-president of its Bucharest chapter; member of the central executive bureau; member of the national council;[1] vice president, since 2010;[37] and interim president of its Bucharest chapter, since 2012.[38] In 2002, she was made a Knight of the Order of the Star of Romania. The following year, she became a corresponding member of the Baia Mare Technical Academy. She holds honorary doctorates from five Romanian universities.[1]

Fourth Minister of Education term[edit]

Following the resignation of Valentin Popa after a controversy regarding the teaching of the Romanian language in areas with Hungarian ethnic majorities, Andronescu was nominated for a fourth time to occupy the Education Ministry. She was removed from office on 2 August 2019 by prime minister Viorica Dăncilă following a controversial statement that "young girls should know better than to get in cars with strangers" regarding the kidnapping of Alexandra Măceșanu and Luiza Melencu.[39]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g (in Romanian) Profile at the Romanian Government site Archived 2014-01-17 at archive.today; accessed 19 September 2009
  2. ^ (in Romanian) Cristina Olivia Moldovan, "Mihnea Costoiu, omul de încredere al Ecaterinei Andronescu, noul rector al Politehnicii" ("Mihnea Costoiu, Confidant of Ecaterina Andronescu, New Politehnica Rector"), Evenimentul Zilei, 23 March 2012; accessed 2 December 2012
  3. ^ (in Romanian) 2000-2004 Profile at the Romanian Chamber of Deputies site; accessed 19 September 2009
  4. ^ a b (in Romanian) 2004-2008 Profile at the Romanian Chamber of Deputies site; accessed 19 September 2009
  5. ^ a b (in Romanian) Ciprian Ciucu, "Între Abramburica și Ecaterina Andronescu" ("Between Abramburica and Ecaterina Andronescu"), Observator Cultural, Nr. 459, January 2009; accessed 20 September 2009
  6. ^ a b (in Romanian) Alexandra-Livia Dordea, "Ecaterina Andronescu Revine la Educație" ("Ecaterina Andronescu Returns as Education Minister"), Evenimentul Zilei, 17 December 2008; accessed 20 September 2009
  7. ^ (in Romanian) "Tineretul PD solicită 6% din PIB pentru Școală" ("PD Youth Seeks 6% of GDP for Schools") Archived 2007-06-29 at archive.today, Ziua, 20 June 2003; accessed 20 September 2009
  8. ^ (in Romanian) Election results Archived 28 November 2009 at the Wayback Machine, alegeri.tv; accessed 19 September 2009
  9. ^ (in Romanian) Raluca Alexandrescu, "Meșterul Manole, Miorița și 'societatea cunoașteri'" ("Meșterul Manole, Miorița, and the 'Information Society'") Archived 2017-01-01 at the Wayback Machine, Revista 22, 29 October 2008; accessed 20 September 2009
  10. ^ (in Romanian) 2008-2012 Profile at the Romanian Chamber of Deputies site; accessed 19 September 2009
  11. ^ (in Romanian) "Guvern de regățeni, cu 'moț' ardelean" ("Old Kingdom Government, with a Few Transylvanians") Archived 2009-05-22 at the Wayback Machine, Adevărul, 19 December 2008; accessed 19 September 2009
  12. ^ (in Romanian) "Ministerul Educaţiei a acceptat demisia persoanelor responsabile de gafa din teza unică la Istorie" ("Education Ministry Accepts Resignation of Persons Involved in History Test Gaffe"), Realitatea TV, 22 May 2009; accessed 20 September 2009
  13. ^ a b (in Romanian) Roxana Preda, "PSD nu o lasă din braţe pe Ecaterina Andronescu" ("PSD Does Not Drop Ecaterina Andronescu from Its Arms"), Evenimentul Zilei, 19 July 2009; accessed 20 September 2009
  14. ^ (in Romanian) "Andronescu: Toată lumea din teritoriu este împotriva tezelor unice" ("Andronescu: the Whole Country Is against the Single Thesis"), Mediafax, 24 August 2009; accessed 20 September 2009
  15. ^ (in Romanian) Raul Florea, "Universităţile 'Spiru Haret' şi 'Petre Andrei' au fost scoase în afara legii. 56.000 de absolvenţi, în aer. Andronescu, pentru Gândul: 'Aceste diplome nu respectă legea'" ("Spiru Haret and Petre Andrei Universities Now Extralegal. 56,000 Graduates, up in the Air. Andronescu, for Gândul: 'These Diplomas Do Not Respect the Law'"), Gândul, 11 July 2009; accessed 19 September 2009
  16. ^ (in Romanian) "Universitatea 'Spiru Haret' a câștigat primul proces cu Guvernul. Guvernul are dreptul să facă recurs" ("Spiru Haret University Wins First Suit against the Government, Which May Appeal"), Gândul, 14 August 2009; accessed 20 September 2009
  17. ^ (in Romanian) Eugenia Mihalcea, "Guvernul, rupt în două de legile educaţiei" ("Government Split in Two by Education Laws") Archived 24 September 2017 at the Wayback Machine, Jurnalul Naţional, 19 August 2009; accessed 20 September 2009
  18. ^ (in Romanian) Monica Iordache Apostol, "Sparge Educația buba Coaliției?" ("Will Education Break the Coalition?") Archived 2014-05-29 at the Wayback Machine, Jurnalul Național, 20 August 2009; accessed 20 September 2009
  19. ^ (in Romanian) Eugenia Mihalcea, "Ecaterina Andronescu, amenințată de Boc" ("Ecaterina Andronescu, Threatened by Boc") Archived 23 September 2017 at the Wayback Machine, Jurnalul Național, 19 September 2009; accessed 20 September 2009
  20. ^ a b (in Romanian) Izabela Niculescu, "Ecaterina Andronescu – Oltean îi cere demisia, Berceanu îi bate obrazul" ("Ecaterina Andronescu – Oltean Asks for Her Resignation, Berceanu Slaps Her Cheek"), Cotidianul, 4 September 2009; accessed 20 September 2009
  21. ^ (in Romanian) "Miniștrii PSD şi-au depus demisiile la cabinetul premierului Emil Boc" ("PSD Ministers Submit Their Resignations in the Office of Prime Minister Emil Boc"), Mediafax, 1 October 2009; accessed 1 October 2009
  22. ^ (in Romanian) "Premierul Boc a anunțat interimarii PDL pentru ministerele PSD" ("Prime Minister Boc Announces Interim PDL Ministers for PSD Ministries"), Mediafax, 1 October 2009; accessed 1 October 2009
  23. ^ (in Romanian) Sebastian Zachmann, "Ecaterina Andronescu, noul ministru al Educaţiei" ("Ecaterina Andronescu, New Education Minister"), Adevărul, 2 July 2012; accessed 2 July 2012
  24. ^ (in Romanian) Thomas Dinca, "Ecaterina Andronescu la Educaţie, propunerea lui Ponta" ("Ecaterina Andronescu for Education, Ponta's Proposal"), Ziarul Financiar, 29 June 2012; accessed 2 July 2012
  25. ^ (in Romanian) "Andronescu, despre cererea lui Băsescu: Este jignitor pentru cariera mea profesională" ("Andronescu, about Băsescu's Request: It Is Demeaning for My Professional Career") Archived 2012-07-06 at the Wayback Machine, România Liberă, 2 July 2012; accessed 2 July 2012
  26. ^ (in Romanian) Liviu Avram, "Ecaterina Andronescu e şi ea acuzată de plagiat" ("Ecaterina Andronescu too Is Accused of Plagiarism"), Adevărul, 29 November 2012; accessed 1 December 2012
  27. ^ (in Romanian) Andreea Ciulac, "Încă un ministru 'copy-paste'" ("Yet Another 'Copy-Paste' Minister"), Evenimentul Zilei, 29 November 2012; accessed 2 December 2012
  28. ^ (in Romanian) Marian Păvălaşc, "Ecaterina Andronescu, acuzată că a fost de acord cu un plagiat privind o finanțare în cercetare în valoare de 500.000 euro" ("Ecaterina Andronescu, Accused of Agreeing with a Plagiarized Research Finance Request for 500,000 Euros"), Evenimentul Zilei, 8 November 2012; accessed 2 December 2012
  29. ^ (in Romanian) Andreea Ciulac, "Androneasca se apără" ("Andronescu Defends Herself"), Evenimentul Zilei, 8 November 2012; accessed 2 December 2012
  30. ^ (in Romanian) Liviu Avram, Oana Crăciun, "Anchetă la Fizica Materialelor pentru a elucida cel de-al treilea plagiat în care e implicată Ecaterina Andronescu" ("Material Physics Investigation into Third Plagiarism Accusation against Ecaterina Andronescu"), Adevărul, 3 December 2012; accessed 3 December 2012
  31. ^ (in Romanian) "Ecaterina Andronescu, cel mai mare scor din ţară" ("Ecaterina Andronescu, Highest Score in the Country") Archived 2012-12-14 at the Wayback Machine, România Liberă, 10 December 2012; accessed 23 December 2012
  32. ^ (in Romanian) Dorina Călin, "Ecaterina Andronescu, despre motivele pentru care nu mai e ministru" ("Ecaterina Andronescu, about Why She Is No Longer a Minister"), Adevărul, 19 December 2012; accessed 23 December 2012
  33. ^ (in Romanian) 2012- Profile at the Romanian Chamber of Deputies site; accessed 29 May 2014
  34. ^ (in Romanian) "Cine sunt cei 32 de europarlamentari români" ("Who Are the 32 Romanian MEPs"), Gândul, 26 May 2014; accessed 26 May 2014
  35. ^ (in Romanian) Liviu Dădăcuş, "Ponta: Andronescu nu merge la PE, rămâne senator, preşedinte al Comisiei pentru educaţie" ("Ponta: Andronescu Is Not Going to EP, Remains Senator, Education Committee President"), Mediafax, 29 May 2014; accessed 29 May 2014
  36. ^ (in Romanian) Roxana Petre, "Ecaterina Andronescu, Traian Băsescu și Leon Dănăilă vor fi parlamentari de București" ("Ecaterina Andronescu, Traian Băsescu and Leon Dănăilă Will Be MPs for Bucharest") Archived 2017-09-23 at the Wayback Machine, România Liberă, 12 December 2016; accessed 17 December 2016
  37. ^ (in Romanian) Florin Ciornei, "'PSD, un 'dosar' greu pentru procurorul Victor Ponta" ("PSD, a Difficult 'Dossier' for Prosecutor Victor Ponta"), Evenimentul Zilei, 22 February 2010; accessed 13 July 2010
  38. ^ (in Romanian) Cristian Andrei, "Ecaterina Andronescu, preşedinte interimar la PSD Bucureşti" ("Ecaterina Andronescu, Bucharest PSD Interim President"), Gândul, 8 February 2012; accessed 9 April 2012
  39. ^ "Viorica Dăncilă o demite pe Ecaterina Andronescu de la Ministerul Educaţiei". www.digi24.ro (in Romanian). Retrieved 2 August 2019.

External links[edit]