Historia Universitatis Iassiensis 9, 93–120

Dragoș SDROBIȘ | Sub trei dictaturi. Note privind legislația învățământului superior din România (1938-1944)

Abstract. Romania’s entry into the age of dictatorships deeply affected the academic community, with higher education passing through three reforms within just four years (1938-1942). Taking into consideration that these institutions’ purpose was to prepare the future elite, the preoccupation of dictatorial leaders to subordinate Academia became a legitimate one. In contrast with the liberal spirit of the 19th century, the intellectual environment in such regimes was not called to stimulate creativity and inventiveness. Once an institution of critical thinking and training of intellectual professionals, the university was now supposed to inoculate ideological patterns and to form an obedient bureaucracy. The role of these new higher education institutions was to ideologically serve these regimes, in which freedom of expression had been replaced by the imperative of regimentation. Subsequently, higher education was supposed to focus its scientific and training efforts towards the economic development of the country and, later on, to the military success of Romania. The study aims at evaluating a significant chapter in the history of higher education in Romania, a necessary element in understanding the transition from the Western liberal pattern towards that of the Soviet “planned education” experienced during the Communist Regime. The pivot of this study will be the analysis of two distinct issues: the university autonomy and the link between higher education and intellectual professional labor market. A special attention was paid to the higher education reform implemented during Ion Antonescu’s military dictatorship. One can say that this reform had a peculiar significance: although it aimed at re-establishing academic freedom, it also assured the provisions for organizing the entire higher education system on Etatist principles. Taking into consideration the belligerent status of Romania, the 1942 law turned the higher education system into an instrument of the state, most necessary in the war effort.