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Bulgaria:National Reforms in School Education

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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

2017

(January - March)

Ordinance №1 for the terms and conditions for reimbursement of travel expenses or rent cost of the pedagogical staff from the institutions within the system of pre-school and school education was issued on 16th January 2017 and came into force from 1st January 2017.  It gives right to the pedagogical staff working under employment contracts at state or municipal institutions within the system of pre-school and school education, whose place of employment is in a small village (up to 5000 inhabitants - new) outside their home place, of reimbursement of expenses incurred for transport or rent within the place of employment. Comparing with the repealed ordinance, this one introduces a right for reimbursement of costs for rent a home within the place of employment subject to certain conditions and to a certain amount.

An Annex to the Collective labour agreement between the Minister of Education and Science and the trade unions for education came into force from 1st January 2017. It defines increasing of 10% of the minimum amount of the basic gross monthly salary for the system of the pre-school and school education. This is in pursuance of measures taken by the Ministry of Education and Science together with the social partners for increasing of the minimum amount of the basic gross monthly salary of the pedagogical staff with not less than 10% and of the additional remunerations with not less than 20%.

By Ordinance of the Minister of Education and Science dated 14th March 2017 are endorsed Rules for determination of the basic salaries of the heads of the municipal and state schools and of the Centres for personal development support and other units. By them it is set the basic gross monthly salary for year 2017, which amount can’t be less than 825 BGN per month. The increasing is 10% compared with year 2016. The amount depends on the number of the enrolled pupils at the schools, respectively the centres and units. There is an increasing of the additional remunerations too.

2016

(January - March)

Work commenced on updating the National Qualifications Framework of the Republic of Bulgaria in relation to the new educational structure established by the Law on pre-school and school education.

Operations under the "Science and education for smart growth" associated with providing grants for development of the system of career guidance in school education have been launched.

The early warning system for possible early school leaving has launched with the purpose of reducing relative share of early school leavers;

Developing of state educational standard for quality management institutions has started. The aim is to provide a higher quality of school education.

2014

(October - December)

The National Assembly voted the new government of Bulgaria on November 7, 2014. 

The project of the new Act of pre-primary and school education is introduced in the National Assembly on 21.11.2014. 

In the project is introduced a new understanding, new vision of educational standards with a focus on achieving the goals and targets – a complex of compulsory requirements for the results in the system of pre-primary and school education, and the conditions and processes to achieve them. It is introduced a new educational structure in the school education system for clarity and orderliness - basic degree in two stages: primary (I - IV grade) and pre-secondary (V - VII grade), and moderate with two stages: the first high school (VIII – X grade) and a second high school (XI and XII grade).

Gradually will be implemented a full-day organization of the school day and from V to VII grade as a tool for prevention of dropping out of school, identification, development and satisfaction of talents, interests and needs of students, providing specialist care in their preparation.

Provides autonomy of schools to develop curricula, educational programs expanded and additional training as well as to distribute the curriculum within the relevant stage, depending on the needs of students.

Create opportunities for validation of competencies in non-formal education and informal learning as part of the educational process. It develops self, individual, remote and combined forms of training. The goal is: more opportunities for access to education for different categories of persons and drop-out prevention and early leaving from the education system.

The project contents a system for training teachers.

External evaluation of the quality of education will be carried out by the National Education Inspectorate on the basis of objective criteria, grouped by areas, which will include the overall management of the school, the activities of pedagogical staff, the results and achievements of the students and their progress, as well as the support by learning problems, relationships with parents, representatives of local authorities and other stakeholders.

In October the government adopted a Plan for the Enacting of the Strategy for Reducing the Number of Early School Leavers for the period 2014/2015.

The Plan supports the key measures aiming to prevent and compensate for early school leaving. Its enactment will contribute to early access to education and the integration of students as a prerequisite for effective personal development.

The main goal of the plan is to facilitate the interaction between different institutions, so schools have more support in dealing with the issue of early school leaving. The interaction will happen on all levels – national, regional and municipal.

Some of the specific measures envision:

  • Updating the methods used for identifying and tracking children in risk of early school leaving;
  • Hiring additional staff to work with children in risk of early school leaving;
  • Improving access to extracurricular activities;
  • Facilitating partnership between business organizations and vocational schools.

In mid-2014 the government adopted a National Plan for the Enactment of the National Strategy for Development of Pedagogical Staff (2014 – 2020). In October, it adopted an action plan for the period 2014 – 2016 (incl.) The measures envisioned are dealing with introducing a unified system for quality assurance in preparing pedagogical staff, as well as a system introducing differentiated pay. The enactment of the plan will facilitate the adoption of a reform aiming to encompass the period from career counseling of graduating high school students through university education of students in pedagogical majors and the continuing education of pedagogical staff.


The government adopted a National Strategy for Encouraging and Increasing Literacy (2014 – 2020). The document aims to put functional literacy as a national priority and guarantee cooperation between literacy initiatives.

The measures envisioned will try to determine the reasons leading to sufficient literacy with specific attention to groups in which the economic circumstances hinder learning opportunities, as well as ones for which language is a barrier to quality education. The specific goals set are tied to those of “Horizon 2020”.

In addition to combatting illiteracy among students, the Strategy also envisions literacy classes for adults, which will allow them to continue their education.

(June - October)

The government is working on the passage of a new Law on school and pre-primary education.
An important aspect of it is the implementing of the National Programme for the Development of school and pre-primary education (2006-2015). It requires development of:

1.Programs for pre-primary education in educational fields and age groups - 36 programs for four age groups, by 9 educational fields.
As of the 2003/04 school year attendance of preparatory group for the school is compulsory and since 2010 the age is extended from 5 to 7 years old children. This way the compulsory preparatory group begins 2 year before the enrollment to 1st grade in the school.

The compulsory pre-primary preparation for school follows and approved program, adopted since 2003 by 9 educational fields – Bulgarian language, developed on a module principle, which offers content suited to the educational needs of children (for children who have been attending kindergarten; for children who have not attended kindergarten prior to their enrolment in the preparatory group; for children whose mother tongue is other than Bulgarian and who have not attended kindergarten) as well as Mathematics, Social world, Natural world, Game culture, Artistic information and literature for children, Music, Arts, Construction-technical and every-day activities.
The programmes for the children from 3 to 4 and from 4 to 5 y. o. are not actualised for a long time.

The preparation of new contemporary programs as structure and content, which are related into a system along with the programs of the preparatory groups, is crucial for early childhood and care. On this way will be built a complete cycle in the area of early education.

(March - June)


The Ministry accepted the National strategy for development of the pedagogical staff (2014-2020). The document:
  • defines the strategical borders of the national politics for education, training and career development of pedagogical staff;
  • sets a model for a comprehensive approach and politics for the improvement of educational quality in the country; 
  • creates conditions for the increase of authority and improvement of the social status of teachers.
The strategy implies the creation of a unified system of education and continuing qualification, financial and IT provision for the educational system, equality and competitiveness of the qualification institutions and organizations. It provides a set of measures for the updating of grading and self-grading practices for teachers and their work, along with special measures and politics for young pedagogical staff - for their motivation, recruitment and keeping in the profession, and for providing resources for their career development. 

The strategy envisions the creation of a unified normative legislation for national regulation of initial preparation, continuing qualification and career development of pedagogical staff. It also includes updates to the curriculum and programmes of higher education schools concerning students taught for the professional qualification "teacher"; coordination the continuing qualification of pedagogical staff accroding to the requirements of business; development of a modular system for remote schooling of the pedagogical staff.

The strategy implements a unified system of control of preparation and continuing qualification of pedagogical staff, as well as a system of controlling the quality of work, professional and career development that leads to a differentiated pay of the pedagogical staff and the inclusion of the profession "teacher" in the list of regulated professions in the Republic of Bulgaria.

In order to acheive the strategy's goals there is a plan containing deadlines, responsible institutions, funding sources and expected results for the realization of thå actions. It will be updated every two years marking off the accomplished results and more measures for the improvement of the plan's realization will be added if needed. 

Effective as of September 1st 2014, 390 000 BGN from the budget of the Ministry of Education will be allocated to students with exceptional achievements in the areas of science, sports or arts. The awarded students will be chosen by a commission, half of whose members will be part of the student body.

By Decision N 533 of the Council of Ministers dated 22.07.2014 for addition of the Decision N 249 of the Council of Ministers since 2013 for adoption of standards for delegated by the state activities during 2014 are increased the amount of the standards for delegated by the state activities for function “Education”, considered since 1st September 2014.

Based on this increase by Decree of Council of Ministers № 212/22.07.2014 for approval of resources from the reserve – article 1, Law for the State Budget of Republic of Bulgaria for 2014 are approved and granted in addition resources – 4 006 067 BGN, for the period 1st September – 31st December 2014, allocated as follows:

  1. for the municipalities budgets  – 3 346 515 BGN
  2. for the Ministry of Agriculture and Food budget – 82 405 BGN 
  3. for the Ministry of Culture budget – 61 239 BGN 
  4. for the Ministry of Youth and Sport budget – 19 166 BGN 
  5. for the Ministry of Education and Science – 496 742 BGN

The resources are granted for implementation and execution of measures by the heads of state and municipal schools and kindergartens in the system of the public education for increasing the attractiveness of the teacher profession. The resources are ensured at the expense of the reserve - in the part for structural measures and programmes for the development of the education.

The Ordinance №1/2010 for the work salaries of the staff in the units of the system of the public education, which operates since 1st January 2013, is amended on 26th August 2014. By this amendment are increased the minimal amounts of the individual base month salaries of the pedagogical staff with normal duration of the work time, under which the salaries cannot be agreed (in force 1st September 2014).

2013

Currently, the Bulgarian Government efforts are focussed on implementing the key objectives set within the National Reform Programme – updated in 2013, in compliance with EU country specific recommendations. Several strategic documents and sets of measures, which are directly corresponding to the Erasmus+ programme, are adopted, under preparation, or expected to be adopted as of January 2014:

The National Strategy for Development of Higher Education (2014 - 2020) – the strategy will lay the foundations for the transformation of the current national system of higher education through consolidation and restructuring of existing HE institutions, to address the real needs of the national and world labour market and economy. Some of the Strategy’s main goals are as follows:

  • Stimulating interest in higher education and granting broader access to it;
  • Increasing the quality of instruction, encouraging student, teacher and researcher mobility;
  • Building a sustainable and effective relationship between higher schools and market institutions;
  • Building an integrated and effective network for scientific research activities and encouraging innovation in higher schools and research centers;
  • Modernization and decentralization of the management and funding system, corresponding to the worldwide tendency of granting higher schools with more autonomy, as well as market demand.
  • Expanding and stabilizing the lifelong learning network; applying forms for electronic distant learning.
The full text of the draft is available here.

The National Strategy for Development of Pedagogical Staff – the document is currently under preparation. However, it is important to acknowledge some of the initial considerations that underpinned the process of initiating this strategy. The focus is put on young inexperienced teachers, who have recently graduated. The main objective for the next few years is to support this particular target group, through different stimulating measures, in order to answer the need for more skilled and motivated teachers and trainers to ensure the provision of high-quality education. Concerning career development and continuous training of teaching staff, the strategy will identify different mechanisms to foster intranational and international working mobility. The full text of the draft is available here.

The National Strategy on Diminishing the Number of Early School Leavers (2013 – 2020) – the strategy’s main focus is on ensuring equal access to and support for personal development in the system of formal pre-school and school education, as an early prevention measure. The main objective of the strategy will be to promote cross sectoral partnerships in implementing integrated policy to guarantee an open access to education. Among the main measures will be the development of a set of diverse incentives to prevent early school leaving. The full text of the Strategy is available here. 2012 =

Reforms on Early School Leaving

In the academic 2010/2011 compulsory pre-school education for children 5 years of age was introduced. Further, in the academic 2011/2012 all municipalities must be included in this measure.  

Some of the key measures of the reform, in pre-school and school education, are:

  • Making pre-school education compulsory for 4-year-old children in the academic 2016/2017 year;
  • Expansion of the opportunities for a full-time organisation of the school day for pupils in the 7th grade;
  • Effective financing of the access and quality of all stages of school education;
  • Optimisation of the self and individual form of training, such as home schooling;
  • Development of the distance and combined forms of education, which will guarantee more opportunities for access to education of different categories of pupils and the reduction of dropouts and early school leavers;
  • Regulation of personal development support centers, which aims to integrate child and pupil care, as well as to develop children's skills and interests;
  • As of April 2012 a National program for support of schools which implement their own prevention and overcoming of class absence and reduction of early school leavers strategy has begun.

In the school strategies as a compulsory component “working with the parents” is foreseen to be included as well. By the end of 2012 a National Strategy for reduction of percentage of early school leavers will be implemented. The project of the strategy foresees the following opportunities concerning intervention: monitoring of early school leavers, including a detailed analysis of gathered data and elaboration of long term policies for prevention, intervention and compensation of early school leaving. The strategy will improve coordination and interaction among institutions.