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Bulgaria:Political and Economic Situation

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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

Economic regions (areas of planning)

For the purposes of planning, programming, management, resource assurance, monitoring and evaluation of regional development, distinct areas have been introduced in Republic of Bulgaria. They are divided into different levels in compliance with the requirements of the general classification of territorial units for statistic purposes, applied in the European Union. Regions in Republic of Bulgaria are divided into two levels: level 1 and level 2.

Regions which form level 1 (NUTS 1), do not represent administrative territorial units and have territorial range as follows:

1.Region „Northern and Southeastern Bulgaria” including Northwestern region, Northern Central region, Northeastern region and Southeastern region.

2.Region „Southwestern and Southern Central Bulgaria” including Southwestern region and Southern Central region.

Regions of level 2 are distinctly established by a decree of the Council of Ministers of Republic of Bulgaria and include six regions for territory planning. Each of the Planning regions covers the territory of several regions in the country. In December 2007 the borders of some of those regions were altered due to a requirement of EUROSTAT for the territorial units within the framework of the European Union, according to which a minimum of 800 thousand and a maximum of 3 million people must live in a single region.

Regions which form level 2 (NUTS 2), do not represent administrative territorial units and have the following territorial range:

1.Northwestern region which includes the regions Vidin, Vratsa, Lovech, Montana, and Pleven.
2.Northern Central region which includes regions Veliko Tarnovo, Gabrovo, Razgrad, Ruse and Silistra.
3.Northeastern region which includes regions Varna, Dobrich, Targovishte and Shumen.
4.Southeastern region which includes regions Burgas, Sliven, Stara Zagora and Yambol.
5.Southwestern region which includes regions Blagoevgrad, Kyustendil, Pernik, Sofia and Sofia-capital.
6.Southern Central region which includes the regions Kardzhali, Pazardzhik, Plovdiv, Smolyan and Haskovo.

Economic development

In 1989 Republic of Bulgaria entered the path of democratic transformation and development of free market relations. At this initial period the market was characterized by a minimal administrative interference and regulation due mostly to the lack of existing practices at this particular moment of transition. So the governments of the years of transition were urged to gradually build up the normative framework which is supposed to defend the interests both of society and of the very economic subjects.

The first two years after the admission of Bulgaria to the European Union /2007-2008/ were successful from the point of view of the socio-economic development of the country and brought a number of positive changes, characterized by comparatively high total economic growth (over 5%), a trend of decline of unemployment, maintaining low consumer price index, high level and rise of direct overseas investments, increase in real household income.

These positive macroeconomic changes were partly eliminated by the increasing impact of the worldwide economic crisis following 2009. Effects were related mostly to: decrease of the rate of increase of the gross domestic product (GDP), as it gradually turned into negative growth; sharply decreased foreign direct investments (FDI); rising of unemployment.

In the years 2009-2010 the percentage of unemployed people has raised by 3.4 points to 10,2% which was accompanied with decrease of employment rate by 2,68 points to the level of 46,7% and this corresponds with the rate of employment in 2006.
Data of the last eight years has shown comparatively less employment among the population between 25-30 and 50-55 age segment which is considered as “working age”.

In recent years a trend is preserved unchanged keeping the employment rate of the population over 50 years of age lower than that of the population of the younger age groups. For the age group of 50-55 it is predetermined mainly by comparatively large segment of retiring males. For those over 55 years of age the employment rate falls considerably due to mass female retirement of those who have completed the statutory retirement age. It should be noticed that in 2012 the retirement age changed and currently it is 63 for women and 65 for man.

The rising unemployment affects more men (for them the increase during last year was 3,9 percent points) than women (increase of 2,9 percent points). The growth is especially sensitive in age groups 15-24 and 25-34 where it is respectively 7% and 4,5%.

Bulgaria is the poorest country in the European Union if one takes into account the GDP per capita of population, calculated on the basis of purchasing power parity. And although Republic of Bulgaria retains its financial stability due to the strict rules established by the Bulgarian National Bank, total decline in economic activity led to reduction and non-fulfillment of the revenue part of the state budget. This required taking a number of reforms and restrictive measures in the public sector. Originally planned public funds for education in the state budget have been reduced, however, taking into consideration priority role of education in social development, the government keeps the amount of support per student at Secondary education. Public expenditure on education for the period 1999-2007 outlines  a  downward trend until 2001 when it reached 3,78%, followed by a short period of increase  in 2004-2005 when it reached a level of 4,51% and in 2008 it represented 4,61% of the GDP of the country.

According to EUROSTAT data, Bulgaria takes one of the last three places in Europe for public expenditure on education as a percentage of the GDP.

This negative picture is partly compensated by higher expenditure used by public and private educational institutions, according to EUROSTAT data (2007), and amounts to 0,62% of the GDP. Relatively large percentage of private expenditure on education in Bulgaria slightly fluctuates above or bellow the average for EU 27.

Political and legislative situation regarding education

Constitution of Republic of Bulgaria guarantees the right of each and every Bulgarian citizen to education as well as the academic autonomy of the higher schools. The right to education and ongoing qualification enhancement is also guaranteed by the National Education Act (NEA), as restrictions and privileges based on race, nationality, gender, ethnic and social origin, religion, and public status are not allowed.

Management and control body over the education is the Minister of education, youth and science who in his/her activity is assisted by the specialized administration of the ministry.

Relationships between the subjects and objects within the system of education are regulated by the following laws:

There are numerous secondary legislation normative documents – rules, regulations and instructions, which further develop the texts of law and largely centralize the processes in the school system. Management bodies in the Bulgarian education system ensure adaptation of the system to the new challenges, as well as sustainable development in compliance with the European standards and its ability to provide high quality and compatible knowledge and skills.

In recent years, Bulgaria is rapidly developed the non-formal educational services sector. The main directions are related to adult education, working with disadvantaged people, as well as extracurricular activities within the school institution. According to the results of National Statistical Institute’s surveys, the participation rate of population aged 25-64 in at least one form of LLP has increased significantly – from 16% in 2003 to 48,5% in 2007. There are many factors determining this increase, but most important are related to the overall country’s economic growth, changes in employer’s and people in working age attitudes to education and training, active actions of state institutions, accession of Bulgaria to the EU and implementation of many European programs containing measures and educational activities. The challenges of today that are facing the system of non-formal education are mostly directed to its legal regulation, the possibilities and options for certification and recognition of gained experience. Achievement in this context is the foundation of Non-formal education major at the Faculty of Education in Sofia University “St. Kl. Ohridski”. Significant practical experience in the establishment and development of youth policies, practices and models has the National Centre for European youth programs and initiatives (NCEYPI), which is the institutional representative in Bulgaria of the EU’s “Youth in Action” Program.

There is also a growing network of services in the field of career guidance and education within the public sector – education (secondary and higher) and employment, as well as within the private and nongovernmental sector. According to a 2007 survey of ETF/CINOP related to the development of policies for career guidance, Bulgaria successfully has applied models of services tailored to the recent European trends. However, the provision of career services is accessed to the traditional policy context, which considered guidance as institutional measures aimed at reducing unemployment and the gap between employees’ qualifications and requirements of the labor market. The main difficulties are associated with the need to widen access and ensure a better quality of guidance for all – students, employed and unemployed, disadvantaged and elderly. As of today, 2012, this trend is still valid.

General conditions of economy are generated by its revenue for the national budget and have strong indirect impact on expenditures in education and its quality. Unlike countries with a strong “export attention” economy, Republic of Bulgaria cannot benefit fully from the recovery process which began on world markets. Bulgaria cannot rely either on the pulling effect of the innovative industries or on science. The long process of overcoming the consequences of the economic crisis may also lead to possible negative psychological effects and thus to retain or even lower the current levels of investment and consumption. All these external and internal factors, affecting directly and/or indirectly the educational system in Republic of Bulgaria, draw a complex picture of its development in the short and long-term.