Higher Education in Moldova at Crossroads or Throwing Good Money after Bad?

Sergiu Lipcean*, Romeo V. Turcan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Memorandum/expositionMemorandumpeer-review

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The Higher Education System in Moldova is at a critical juncture. Despite the legal framework improvement during the last years, the results have not met the expectations. The delay of institutional reforms targeting the optimisation of the oversized organisational infrastructure and the revision of the financing mechanism have cancelled out the positive effects of the new legislation and has led to the deterioration of higher education. The lack of political will, combined with the resistance from within the Higher Education Sector, to implement the much needed but politically and socially sensitive reforms have only amplified the problem.
The key stakeholders failed to anticipate and identify appropriate solutions to the overlapping challenges epitomized by the negative demographic trends, emigration, and the domestic and external competition, which deeply affected their capacity to replenish the university ranks with new students and competitive academic staff – a critical condition to ensure the survival of the entire sector in the long term. As a result of these developments, the quality and competitiveness of HES fell down despite substantial financial injections during the last years. Likewise, given the prioritisation of teaching as the key task performed by the academic staff, universities, especially the small ones, proved to be poorly endowed to compete on equal footing with other institutions for research grants following the implementation of a controversial reform of the research and development sector.
The $40M credit approved by the World Bank and designed to rescue the HES by increasing its quality, competitiveness and the relevance for the labour market will entail higher payoffs only under certain conditions. To achieve its declared goals and policy objectives requires radical institutional reforms. A long-term impact of this credit can be achieved only if the HES in Moldova is rationalized, restructured, and modernized. Thus, these three strategic policy objectives – rationalizing, restructuring and modernising – should be part of the ‘agreement’ between the World Bank in Moldova and the Government of Moldova. This will require the Moldovan Government to commit to these policy objectives in reforming the Higher Education Sector. Without such a commitment from the Moldovan Government, the impact of the World Bank credit on the Higher Education Sector will be invisible or marginal at best. The World Bank credit investing in the status-quo will be no more than just throwing good money after bad.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date12 May 2020
Number of pages28
Publication statusPublished - 12 May 2020

Publication series



  • Higher Education
  • World Bank
  • Univesity Autonomy
  • Restructuring
  • Rationalising
  • Modernising
  • Republic of Moldova


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