As Bulgarian children returned to school on Monday, 400 teaching positions remain unfilled across the country and Bulgaria's teachers' union predicts that the country's shortage of teachers will reach nearly 40,000 by 2026.
www.foxnews.com | 9/17/18
Education in Bulgaria is overseen by the Ministry of Education and Science. Full-time education is mandatory for all children aged between 7 and 16. 6-year old children can be enrolled at school at their parents' discretion. Education at state-owned schools is free of charge, except for the higher education schools, colleges and universities. The curriculum of Bulgarian Educational system focuses on eight main subjects: Bulgarian language and Literature, foreign languages, mathematics, information technologies, social sciences and civics, natural sciences and ecology, music and art, physical education and sports. The school year starts on September 15 and ends in May or June depending on the grade level of the students. Classes meet five days a week and usually take two shifts (morning and afternoon). The school year is divided into two terms with Christmas, Easter and Summer holidays. The grading system is based on numerals, where 6 is the highest and 2 is the lowest grade a student can obtain. In 2003 Bulgaria’s literacy rate was estimated at 98.6 percent, with approximately the same rate for both sexes. Bulgaria traditionally has had high educational standards. In the post-communist era, low funding and low teacher morale have damaged the system to some extent, particularly in vocational training. Adherence to classical teaching methods has handicapped development in some technical fields. The current system of primary and secondary education, introduced in 1998, has 12 grades, in which attendance is compulsory from age seven through age 16. In 1998 enrollment in the primary grades was 93 percent of eligible students, and enrollment in the secondary grades was 81 percent of eligible students. The ratio of females to males in primary schools was 0.97, and the ratio in secondary schools was 0.98. Because of Bulgaria’s low birthrate, total primary- and secondary-school enrollment has decreased in the post-communist era, causing reductions in teaching staff and facilities. At the same time, the number of private schools increased by 10 times during the 1990s. Bulgaria’s higher education system was fully reorganized in the mid-1990s. Between 1995 and 2002, the number of university graduates increased from 33,000 to 50,000. In 2002 some 42 institutions of higher learning were in operation, and 215,700 students were enrolled. In 2003 some 4.9 percent of Bulgaria’s national budget was devoted to education.