Mihail Minescu
Vice-Rector
Petroleum & Gas University (UPG)

12 August 2019

The Petroleum-Gas University of Ploiesti was established in 1948 with the main objective to train specialists with higher education for the main branches of the Romanian Oil and Gas Industry. At present, the academic structure includes five faculties: Petroleum and Gas Engineering, Mechanical and Electrical Engineering, Petroleum Technology and Petrochemistry, Economic Sciences and the Faculty of Letters and Sciences. Mihail Minescu is in charge of international relations and partnerships with the economic environment.

 

Petroleum & Gas University recently celebrated 70 years of activity. How does it serve the energy industry at present?

The University was initially founded in Bucharest but moved to Ploiesti in 1967 in order to be closer to the industry, considering that Prahova County’s enduring oil & gas industry, including refineries and petrochemical plants. This gave students numerous opportunities to practice throughout their learning years, a circumstance that has changed overtime unfortunately. Presently we have three engineering faculties in the field of oil and gas, that have been operating since the university was founded, and we added two new faculties namely the Faculty of Economic Sciences and the Faculty of Letters and Sciences.


 Petroleum and Gas sits at the core of the University’s specializations. What can you tell us about the current talent pool in this field? 

The current situation is not the most favorable due to objective conditions, namely the decrease to approx. half of the number of high school graduates over the past five years, the fact that more than 4 million Romanian citizens work and live now abroad, and the birth rate has fallen sharply. To our regret there has been a degradation of quality in the act of education itself. A measure of stimulating high school graduates to choose our university is to grant as many scholarships from commercial companies without making conditional the graduates' choices when finishing their studies while concluding summer internships, for all our students.

Another direction of action is to increase the degree of internationalization of higher education university. Taking into account the name the University has acquired over time by the quality of its graduates (over 10,000 PGU graduates from more than 80 countries), we are taking actions to attract foreign citizens to undertake university studies in our country. Also, the university is in an advanced process of ascending study programs (bachelor and master degree) with English teaching.

 

How does Petroleum-Gas University of Ploiesti work with the economic environment? Are you satisfied with the collaboration? 

The partners of the Petroleum-Gas University of Ploiesti are located all over the country and especially where there is oil and gas industry. Most partners are from Prahova County and neighboring counties. The collaboration between the university and the economic partners takes place on several levels: scientific research activities, solving some technical problems, organizing practical work for students and beyond. The university also benefits from the material support of commercial companies for the provision of laboratories, for the sponsorship of scientific and cultural events. For instance, from sponsorships from economic agents, we have a laboratory for additive technology (3D printing).

We are trying to convince our industry partners that the most important help they can provide is to facilitate  internships, for all university students. We understand that for commercial companies, the existence of more students in practice raises additional problems for them, but they also have to understand that if they graduate well-trained, including the practical component, they have to make some sacrifices.

 

Given these circumstances, what can we look forward to from the Petroleum-Gas University in the coming few years?

With priority, we want to improve the quality of education. We look closely at the industry's needs as regards the competencies of graduates and we also look for new ways to adapt to the requirements of the students and the way in which the necessary information is transmitted to them. In other words, teachers need to adapt their teaching style to the demands of the new technology.

Recently, we organized two workshops (with a longer cycle) with employers' representatives, in collaboration with the FPPG (Employers' Federation of Oil and Gas), focusing on the correlation between the skills acquired by the graduates and the employers' requirements. A conclusion that emerged from the two workshops (2018, 2019) is that we need to focus more on digitization and we have already begun to think about how best to integrate this into the curriculum. We are convinced that the need for lifelong learning is a reality and that people will probably change their professions for two or three times in their lives and try to find the best ways to adapt the educational act to meet these needs.

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