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Bulgaria:Legislation

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Overview Bulgaria

Contents

Bulgaria:Political, Social and Economic Background and Trends

Bulgaria:Historical Development

Bulgaria:Main Executive and Legislative Bodies

Bulgaria:Population: Demographic Situation, Languages and Religions

Bulgaria:Political and Economic Situation

Bulgaria:Organisation and Governance

Bulgaria:Fundamental Principles and National Policies

Bulgaria:Lifelong Learning Strategy

Bulgaria:Organisation of the Education System and of its Structure

Bulgaria:Organisation of Private Education

Bulgaria:National Qualifications Framework

Bulgaria:Administration and Governance at Central and/or Regional Level

Bulgaria:Administration and Governance at Local and/or Institutional Level

Bulgaria:Statistics on Organisation and Governance

Bulgaria:Funding in Education

Bulgaria:Early Childhood and School Education Funding

Bulgaria:Higher Education Funding

Bulgaria:Adult Education and Training Funding

Bulgaria:Early Childhood Education and Care

Bulgaria:Organisation of Early Childhood Education and Care

Bulgaria:Teaching and Learning in Early Childhood Education and Care

Bulgaria:Assessment in Early Childhood Education and Care

Bulgaria:Organisational Variations and Alternative Structures in Early Childhood Education and Care

Bulgaria:Single Structure Education (Integrated Primary and Lower Secondary Education)

Bulgaria:Organisation of Single Structure Education

Bulgaria:Teaching and Learning in Single Structure Education

Bulgaria:Assessment in Single Structure Education

Bulgaria:Organisational Variations and Alternative Structures in Single Structure Education

Bulgaria:Upper Secondary and Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

Bulgaria:Organisation of General Upper Secondary Education

Bulgaria:Teaching and Learning in General Upper Secondary Education

Bulgaria:Assessment in General Upper Secondary Education

Bulgaria:Organisation of Vocational Lower Secondary Education

Bulgaria:Teaching and Learning in Vocational Lower Secondary Education

Bulgaria:Assessment in Vocational Lower Secondary Education

Bulgaria:Organisation of Vocational Upper Secondary Education

Bulgaria:Teaching and Learning in Vocational Upper Secondary Education

Bulgaria:Assessment in Vocational Upper Secondary Education

Bulgaria:Organisation of Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

Bulgaria:Teaching and Learning in Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

Bulgaria:Assessment in Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

Bulgaria:Higher Education

Bulgaria:Types of Higher Education Institutions

Bulgaria:First Cycle Programmes

Bulgaria:Bachelor

Bulgaria:Short-Cycle Higher Education

Bulgaria:Second Cycle Programmes

Bulgaria:Programmes outside the Bachelor and Master Structure

Bulgaria:Third Cycle (PhD) Programmes

Bulgaria:Adult Education and Training

Bulgaria:Institutions Providing Adult Education and Training

Bulgaria:Main Programmes and Provision in Adult Education and Training

Bulgaria:Teachers and Education Staff

Bulgaria:Initial Education for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

Bulgaria:Conditions of Service for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

Bulgaria:Continuing Professional Development for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

Bulgaria:Initial Education for Academic Staff in Higher Education

Bulgaria:Conditions of Service for Academic Staff Working in Higher Education

Bulgaria:Continuing Professional Development for Academic Staff Working in Higher Education

Bulgaria:Initial Education for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

Bulgaria:Conditions of Service for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

Bulgaria:Continuing Professional Development for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

Bulgaria:Management and Other Education Staff

Bulgaria:Management Staff for Early Childhood and School Education

Bulgaria:Staff Involved in Monitoring Educational Quality for Early Childhood and School Education

Bulgaria:Education Staff Responsible for Guidance in Early Childhood and School Education

Bulgaria:Other Education Staff or Staff Working with Schools

Bulgaria:Management Staff for Higher Education

Bulgaria:Other Education Staff or Staff Working in Higher Education

Bulgaria:Management Staff Working in Adult Education and Training

Bulgaria:Other Education Staff or Staff Working in Adult Education and Training

Bulgaria:Quality Assurance

Bulgaria:Quality Assurance in Early Childhood and School Education

Bulgaria:Quality Assurance in Higher Education

Bulgaria:Quality Assurance in Adult Education and Training

Bulgaria:Educational Support and Guidance

Bulgaria:Special Education Needs Provision within Mainstream Education

Bulgaria:Separate Special Education Needs Provision in Early Childhood and School Education

Bulgaria:Support Measures for Learners in Early Childhood and School Education

Bulgaria:Guidance and Counselling in Early Childhood and School Education

Bulgaria:Support Measures for Learners in Higher Education

Bulgaria:Guidance and Counselling in Higher Education

Bulgaria:Support Measures for Learners in Adult Education and Training

Bulgaria:Guidance and Counselling in a Lifelong Learning Approach

Bulgaria:Mobility and Internationalisation

Bulgaria:Mobility in Early Childhood and School Education

Bulgaria:Mobility in Higher Education

Bulgaria:Mobility in Adult Education and Training

Bulgaria:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Early Childhood and School Education

Bulgaria:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Higher Education

Bulgaria:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Adult Education and Training

Bulgaria:Bilateral Agreements and Worldwide Cooperation

Bulgaria:Ongoing Reforms and Policy Developments

Bulgaria:National Reforms in Early Childhood Education and Care

Bulgaria:National Reforms in School Education

Bulgaria:National Reforms in Vocational Education and Training and Adult Learning

Bulgaria:National Reforms in Higher Education

Bulgaria:National Reforms related to Transversal Skills and Employability

Bulgaria:European Perspective

Bulgaria:Legislation

Bulgaria:Institutions

Bulgaria:Bibliography

Bulgaria:Glossary

Law provisions

The Constitution of the Republic of Bulgaria, promulgated, State Gazette, issue 56 of 13th July 1991, last amended State Gazette issue 12 of 6th February 2007, sets out the major principles of free development of education (Article 23) and the right of every Bulgarian citizen to education (Article 53).

The Public Education Act, promulgated, State Gazette issue 86 of 18th October 1999, last amended State Gazette issue 61 of 25th July 2014 regulates the structure, functions and management of the system of public education. According to this Act, the system of public education shall include kindergartens, schools and auxiliary units. The Public Education Act stipulates that the system of public education shall ensure education in conformity with state educational requirements (standards), which should be met by the education and training of pupils/ school students. It recognizes the democratic principles and traditions underlying the relevance of the Constitution, and stipulates that all citizens shall have the right to education, and they shall be entitled to constantly heighten their education and qualifications. It states that the right to education shall be exercised in full compliance with the principles of transparency of the management and predictability of the development of the public education system. According to the Act, any restrictions or privileges based on race, nationality, sex, ethnic and social origin, religion and social status shall be inadmissible.

The Level of Education, General Education Minimum and Curriculum Act, promulgated, State Gazette issue 67 of 27th July 1999, last amended State Gazette issue 68 of 2nd August 2013 regulates the state educational requirement (standard) for the level of education, the general education minimum and the curriculum in the public education system. This state educational requirement determines the conditions and the procedure for completing one level of education and passing to the next level, as well as the characteristics of the general education minimum and the curriculum. This Act states that general education shall be determined by the purpose of the Bulgarian school to ensure to all Bulgarian citizens an opportunity to develop themselves, and shall be built on the principles of respecting the basic human rights, children`s rights, the traditions of Bulgarian culture and education, the achievements of world culture, the values of civil society, the freedom of consciousness and the freedom of thought. It defines the basic objectives of general education system, and specifies the responsibilities, the compulsory, compulsory elective and free elective subjects, instruction of pupils in 8 cultural and educational spheres, the issues concerning the general educational minimum and the curriculum.

The Vocational Education and Training (VET) Act, promulgated, State Gazette issue 68 of 30th July 1999, last amended State Gazette issue 61 of 25th July 2014 defines the purpose and the tasks of the vocational education and training system, its structure and nature, regulates the organisation, institutions, management and financing of the system of vocational education and training, and the social relations in connection with:

  1.  ensuring the right to vocational education and training of the citizens according to their personal interests and possibilities;
  2. meeting the needs for qualified manpower which is competitive on the labour market;
  3. providing conditions for functioning and development of the system of vocational education and training based on cooperation between its institutions and the bodies of the executive power and the local independent government and the social partners;
  4. validation of professional knowledge, skills and competences.

The VET Act sets general requirements for the organisation in the vocational education and training system, and defines conditions and procedure for acquisition of professional qualification. It defines a State Educational Requirement for VET, regulates the graduation, certification and acknowledgement of vocational education and vocational training, and the vocational education and vocational training content. it regulates the vocational education and vocational training for students with special educational needs and/or chronic diseases, for students from raising and educating children deprived of parental care and for persons deviant behaviour. The VET Act regulates both vocational training in the formal school education system and vocational education and training outside this system, i.e., non-formal vocational training and in-service training for adults, regardless of whether this is provided by state or non-governmental bodies. It’s the most recent amendments and supplements are related to improving quality assurance in VET, introduction of a system for validation of non-formal and informal learning, dual training, and training in professions, which are sheltered with regards to regional economy development.

The Higher Education (HE) Act, promulgated, State Gazette issue 112 of 27th December 1995, last supplemented, State Gazette issue 101 of 22nd November 2013 regulates the constitution, functions, management and financing of higher education in the Republic of Bulgaria. It defines the objective of higher education, namely to train specialists of high qualifications above the secondary school level and to develop science and culture. It states that the higher secular education is independent of ideologies, religions and political doctrines, and shall be provided in keeping with universal human values and national traditions. No privileges or restrictions shall be allowed in higher learning in connection with age, race, nationality, ethnic origin, gender, social background, political convictions or religious denomination, except for the cases expressly stated in a particular higher school's Rules of operations on grounds relating to certain peculiarities of the training process and the future profession. This act defines the functions of the state in the management of higher education, the types of higher schools, and their opening, transformation and closing. It introduces the principle of academic autonomy within the Bulgarian higher education system. The HE act regulates the structure and organisation of studies at higher schools, the procedures on awarding honorary titles, the organisation of research at higher schools, the admission of students, doctoral candidates and specialising trainees, the accreditation of higher education institutions, the issues related to property and financing.

The Law on School and Pre-School Education became effective 01.08.2016. It achieves the following:

  • a new understanding of educational standards with a focus on achieving specific targets and goals;
  • connecting the National Qualifications Framework with the skills and competencies childreen need to master in pre-school and school education;
  • defining new types of school education -  general, extended, supplementary, specialized, vocational and profiled;
  • introduces a new educational structure with 2 stages:
    • general education with two stages: intial (I - IV grades) and main (V - VII)
    • secondary education with two stages: first  (VIII - X grades) and second (XI and XII grades);
  • creates opportunities for students in small towns and villages to finish their secondary education in their place of residence.

The Development of Academic Staff in the Republic of Bulgaria Act, promulgated, State Gazette issue 38 of 21st May 2010, last amended, State Gazette issue 68 of 2nd August 2013 regulates the social relations connected to academic degrees and academic posts in the Republic of Bulgaria. It defines the principles on which academic degrees shall be conferred and academic posts held, as follows:

  1. the autonomy of the higher education institutions, as well as decentralisation of the procedures related thereto which this Act regulates;
  2. free choice of academic development and impartial assessment thereof;
  3. ensuring that the quality of education and scientific research is in the public interest;
  4. international recognition, as well as exchange of experts and information in carrying out procedures, with a view to creating an integrated educational and research area.

The Act regulates the conferral of the higher education and academic degree of doctor of philosophy and of the academic degree of doctor of science.

The Student and Doctoral-Candidate Loans Act, promulgated, State Gazette issue 69 of 5th August 2008, last amended, State Gazette issue 68 of 2nd August 2013 regulates the terms and procedure for extending loans to students and doctoral candidates with state financial support. Its purpose is to improve the conditions for access to higher education. This Act is founded on the following principles:

  1. participation of students and doctoral candidates in the financing of their instruction;
  2. encouraging the competition between the higher schools for providing higher-quality higher education;
  3. guaranteeing persons equal access to higher education irrespective of their social status;
  4. cooperation between the State and the banks in connection with the extending of loans to students and doctoral candidates.

According to the Act, eligibility to apply for a loan shall be limited to students and doctoral candidates, who are Bulgarian citizens, citizens of another Member State of the European Union, of another state of the European Economic Area or of the Swiss Confederation, who at the time of submission of the request for conclusion of a loan contract meet simultaneously the following requirements:

  1. have not reached the age of 35 years;
  2. are studying full-time for acquisition of an educational and qualification degree of “Bachelor” (Bachelor or “Professional Bachelor in..”) or “Master” or of an educational and scientific degree of “Doctor” at a state or private higher education institution or scientific organization established and functioning in accordance with the law under Article 47 (1) of the Higher Education Act;
  3. have not acquired the same educational and qualification or educational and academic degree;
  4. have not been suspended and have not interrupted their instruction, with the exception of the cases provided for in this Act;

This Act defines the institutions in the student and doctoral-candidate loans scheme, the state financial support, and regulates the issues related to loan extension, absorption and repayment 

The Scientific Research Promotion Act,promulgated, State Gazette issue 92 of 17thOctober 2003, last amended, State Gazette issue 68 of 2ndAugust 2013 settles the principles and mechanisms of implementing the state policy of encouragement of scientific research in the Republic of Bulgaria. This Act states that the scientific research is a national priority and has a strategic importance for the development of the country. The Act underlines that the scientific research shall be based on the principles of ethics, transparency, publicity, accessibility and applicability. The encouragement of scientific research activities shall comprise financial incentives for scientific research, the creation of conditions for using the scientific potential resources and their development in compliance with the country's priority trends of development, the creation of conditions for protection and for marketing of scientific products, and assistance for their dissemination in all spheres of the public life.

The purpose of this Act is to create conditions for improving the organisation of financing scientific research by the State with a view to achieving:

  1. new scientific achievements and their implementation for raising the quality of life in the country;
  2. new possibilities of scientific development as a source for raising the efficiency of the economy;
  3. increased public importance of scientific research;
  4. national and/or international independent expert assessment and monitoring of scientific research and results thereof;
  5. development of the human resources by increasing the role of scientific research in education in the higher education institutions;
  6. increase of the total volume of the resources and investments in the sphere of scientific research;
  7. targeting public resources to strategically important scientific spheres determined by the National Strategy for Scientific Research;
  8. accelerated international and interdisciplinary cooperation.

The Labour Code, promulgated, State Gazette issue 26 of 1st April 1986, last amended State Gazette issue 57 of 14th July 2006 among the other regulations sets out all the ways in which the people in employment can receive vocational training. According to this Act, continuing vocational training may only be pursued with the agreement of both employer and employee.

The Employment Promotion Act, promulgated, State Gazette issue 112 of 29th December 2001, last amended and supplemented, State Gazette issue 61 of 25th July 2014 sets out the options for the funding of continuing education and training by employers, the recruitment of new staff and the creation of training placements.

The Skilled Crafts Act, promulgated, State Gazette issue 42 of 27th April 2001, last amended State Gazette issue 68 of 2nd August 2013 provides for the conditions and procedure for the exercise of a craft. It defines the craftsmanship organisation, and regulates the craft training.

The Non-Profit Making Legal Entities Act, promulgated, State Gazette issue 81 of 6th October 2000, last amended State Gazette issue 42 of 5th June 2009 allows an adult education to be provided by another kind of institutions: foundations and voluntary associations which pursue social or private aims, provided that they are not profit-making (NGOs).

Cultural Centres Act, promulgated, State Gazette issue 89 of 22nd October 1996, last amended State Gazette issue 97 of 10th December 2010 gives local authorities particular responsibility for maintaining cultural centres.

The Recognition of Professional Qualifications Act, promulgates, State Gazette issue 13 of 8th February 2008, last amended State Gazette issue 68 of 2nd February 2013 regulates the conditions and the procedure on recognition of professional qualifications acquired in other member states of the EU and in third countries, aimed to access and exercising regulated professions in the Republic of Bulgaria. This law transposes Directive 2005/36/EC on recognition of professional qualifications in the Bulgarian legislation.

Sub law provisions

The Regulations on the Implementation of the Public Education Act, published State Gazette issue 68 of 30th July 1999, last amended State Gazette issue 48 of 8th June 2010 cover many of the issues concerning the functioning and management of the educational system.

The Regulations on the Structure and Activity of the Regional Inspectorates of Education, promulgated, State Gazette issue 61 of 8th July 2003, last amended State Gazette issue 29 of 16th April 2010 are being used to regulate the structure and organization of the activities of the Regional Inspectorates of Education.

Ordinance № 2 of 18th May 2000 on the educational content, issued by the Minister of Education and Science, promulgated, State Gazette issue 48 of 13th June 2000, last amended State Gazette issue 58 of 18th July 2006 defines the levels of general education of students at the end of a stage and of a degree of education.

Ordinance № 4 of 16th April 2003 on the documents for the public education system, issued by the Minister of Education and Science, promulgated, State Gazette issue 41 of 8thMay 2003, last amended and supplemented, State Gazette issue 51 of 11thJune 2013 defines the state educational requirements on the documents for the public education system according to Article 16, item 10 of the Public Education Act.

Ordinance № 3 of 15th April 2003 on the system of assessment (title amended – State Gazette issue 73 of 2009, effective from 15th September 2009), promulgated, State Gazette issue 37 of 22nd April 2003, last amended State Gazette issue 70 of 9th September 2011) defines the state educational requirement on the system of assessment according to Article 16, item 5 of the Public Education Act. This state educational requirement defines the organization of assessment in school education and the organization of examinations for acquisition of a vocational qualification in the vocational training centres.

Ordinance № 4 on the Pre-Primary Education and Preparation, published by Minister of Education, Youth and Science, promulgated, State Gazette issue 80 of 3rd October 2000, last amended State Gazette issue 70 of 26th August 2005 defines the state educational requirement for pre-primary education and preparation.

Ordinance № 1 on Teaching of children and pupils with special educational needs and/or chronic diseases, issued by the Minister of Education, Youth and Science, promulgated, State Gazette issue 11 of 10th February 2009 regulates the teaching of children and pupils with special educational needs and/or chronic diseases

Ordinance № 3 of 17th May 2004 on the organization and sitting for state matriculation examinations, issued by the Minister of Education and Science, promulgated, State Gazette issue 46 of 28th May 2004, last amended and supplemented State Gazette issue 62 of 29th July 2014 defines the conditions and the procedure on organization and sitting for state matriculation examinations.

Ordinance № 3 of 19th June 2009 on the conditions and the procedure for ensuring free of charge training in Bulgarian language, as well as training in mother tongue and culture of students in mandatory school age – migrants’ children of member states of the EU, of the EEA, and Switzerland, issued by the Minister of Education and Science, promulgated, State Gazette issue 50 of 3rd July 2009 sets the order and the procedure on ensuring free of charge training in Bulgarian language, as well as training in mother tongue and culture for students in mandatory school age who are migrants’ children – citizens of the member states of the EU, the EEA and Switzerland. This Ordinance transposes in the Bulgarian legislation Directive 77/486/EEC on the education of the children of migrant workers.

Ordinance № 7 of 29th December 2000 on determining the number of classes and groups and the number of students in classes and groups at schools, kindergartens and service units (title supplemented, State Gazette issue 27 of 2008), issued by the Minister of Education and Science, promulgated, State Gazette issue 4 of 12thJanuary 2001, last amended and supplemented, State Gazette issue  17 of 28thFebruary 2012 regulates the order and the procedure on  determining the number of classes and groups and the number of students in classes at schools, the number of children in preparatory groups at kindergartens, the students in semi-boarding schools and hostels, the children and students in speech therapy offices, offices for visual support and hearing and speech rehabilitation offices.

Ordinance № 11 of 28th March 2005 on admission of students in public and municipal schools, issued by the Minister of Education and Science, promulgated, State Gazette issue 29 of 5th April 2005, last amended and supplemented, State Gazette issue 82 of 20th September 2013 defines the conditions and the procedure on admission of students in public and municipal schools at:

  1. 8thclass – in profiled high schools, profiled intensive study classes in foreign language and secondary general education schools, vocational high schools and classes for acquisition of a vocational qualification in secondary general education schools and in profiled high schools;
  2. 9th class – in profiled high schools, profiled classes in secondary general education schools, in vocational schools, in non-profiled classes and in classes for acquisition of a vocational qualification in secondary general education schools, in profiled high schools and in high schools;
  3. 7th or 8th class for acquisition of a vocational qualification and basic education – in vocational schools and vocational training classes at basic, lower secondary and secondary general education schools.

This Ordinance also defines the conditions and the procedure on admission of secondary school graduated at public and municipal vocational colleges and vocational high schools.

Ordinances on the state educational requirements on acquisition of a vocational qualification by professions

Ordinance № 6 on the Requirements to the structure and activities of créches and kitchens for children, published by Minister of Health, promulgated State Gazette issue 103 of 2nd December 2008, last amended State Gazette issue 36 of 10th May 2011 defines the medical requirements to the structure and activities of crèches and kitchen for children.

The Ordinance on the state requirements for acquisition of higher education at the degrees of a Bachelor', 'a Master', 'and a Specialist in.., adopted by Council of Ministers’ Decree № 162 of 23rd July 2002, promulgated, State Gazette, issue 76 of 6th August 2002, effective since 6th August 2002, last supplemented, State Gazette issue 79 of 5th September 2003 defines the state requirements on acquisition of higher education at the educational and qualification degrees of a Bachelor, a Master, and Specialist in.. (..a given field). By changes in the Higher Education Act, which were made in 2007 the degree “Specialist in..” was replaced by a Professional Bachelor in.. (..a given field).

Ordinance on the state requirements on the content of the main documents issued by the higher education institutions, adopted by Council of Ministers’ Decree № 215 of 12th August 2004 (promulgated, State Gazette, issue 75 of 27th August 2004, effective since 27th August 2004, last amended and supplemented, issue 39 of 26th May 2009 defines the state requirements to the content of the main documents issued by the higher education institutions, as follows:

  1. Diploma for educational and qualification degree of a Bachelor’s, a Professional Bachelor’s, and a Master’s degree awarded, and a diploma supplement;
  2. European diploma supplement;
  3. Vocational qualification certificate;
  4. Certificate for recognition of a specialty in the field of health after higher education completed;
  5. Certificate for successfully passed course in specialized and language training in Bulgarian language for foreigners – students, specialising trainees, and doctoral candidates;
  6. Certificate for a professional qualification degree awarded;
  7. Certificate for a professional specialization in Education;
  8. Certificate for extra-training or extra-specialization.

Ordinance № 21 of 30.09.2004 on implementation of a system for credit transfer and accumulation in the higher education institutions, issued by the Minister of Education and Science, promulgated, State Gazette, issue 89 of 12 October 2004, effective since 12 October 2004 defines the conditions and the procedure for applying a credit transfer and accumulation system by the higher education institutions.

Ordinance on the state requirements for the organization of distance learning in higher education 'institutions, adopted by Council of Ministers’ Decree № 292 of 2nd November 2004,  promulgated, State Gazette, issue 99 of 9th  November 2004 regulates the state requirements for the organization of distance learning in higher education institutions on the Republic of Bulgaria.

Ordinances on the state requirements on acquisition of higher education in specialties that lead to practicing regulated professions