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EACEA National Policies Platform


6. Education and Training

6.1 General context

Last update: 22 March 2024
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  1. Main trends in young people's participation in education and training
  2. Organisation of the education and training system
  3. Main concepts

Main trends in young people's participation in education and training

The measures specifically for the social inclusion and motivation of children and students for education are set out in the Strategic Framework for the Development of Education, Training and Learning in the Republic of Bulgaria (2021-2030). A mechanism has also been created for the institutions to work together to cover and include in the education system children and students of compulsory school and preschool age. The Ministry of Education and Science in Bulgaria actively carries out activities for desegregation and prevention of secondary segregation in schools, for attracting and educational support for children and students from vulnerable groups, inclusion and motivation of parents who have a poorly developed attitude towards education, with the aim of reducing the number of school leavers.

Based on a survey among stakeholders for a subsequent assessment of the impact of the Strategy for the Development of Vocational Education and Training in the Republic of Bulgaria for the period 2015-2020, the following challenges to the education of young people in Bulgaria have been identified:

  • Need to update and restructure the List of occupations for vocational education and training.
  • Slow procedure for development and updating of state educational standards and educational content
  • The lack of a comprehensive system for forecasting skills and a system for tracking the realization of vocational education and training graduates
  • Early leaving the education system can be limited by offering shorter, flexible and hybrid paths and forms of learning
  • Need to expand the possibilities of the institutions of the professional education and training system to carry out literacy activities
  • Building partnerships between schools and enterprises with activities at the regional level on planning, coordination and the involvement of employers in the institutional process related to the development of dual training
  • Lack of assessment of the needs for upgrading the professional competences of teachers
  • Low participation in continuing vocational training in the context of lifelong learning
  • Deficits in the professional guidance and career counseling system

Organisation of the education and training system

School education in Bulgaria in Bulgaria is compulsory by the age of 16. It starts at the age of 4, as compulsory school and pre-school education in state and municipal kindergartens and schools is free of charge for children and students.

Basic organization of education for the youth age group (15-29 years):

Training for acquiring secondary education takes place in two stages:

1) First high school - from class VIII to class X inclusive

2) Second high school - from XI to XII grade inclusive

According to the preparation, school education is general, profiled and professional. Profiled education is carried out at the secondary level through general education and extended training - in the first high school stage, and through general education training - in the second high school stage, where it can also be carried out through extended training. Vocational education takes place at the secondary level - in the first and second high school stage, through general education and professional training.

After the successful completion of secondary education, there is the possibility to continue education in a university, where students, doctoral students and specialists are trained. In universities, students can acquire the following educational and qualification degrees:

- Education and qualification degree "professional bachelor" 

- Education and qualification degree "Bachelor"

- Master's degree

- Education and scientific degree "doctor"

Main concepts

“Early school leaving” (Отпадане от училище) is the act of leaving a school by a school student up to 18 years of age before completing the last high school class, if the person is not enrolled in another school. 

“Early school leaver” (Преждевременно напуснал училище) is a person at the age of 18 to 24 who has completed at least primary education and does not participate in any form of education or training.

"Special educational needs" (Специални образователни потребности) of a child and student are the educational needs that may arise due to sensory disabilities, physical disabilities, multiple disabilities, intellectual disabilities, language-speech disorders, specific learning disabilities, autism spectrum disorders, emotional and behavioral disorders.

"Non-formal learning" (неформално обучение)is education that is organized by institutions outside the system of vocational education and training;

"Validation" (Валидиране) is assessment and recognition of compliance between competencies acquired through non-formal and informal learning, and the requirements for completing a class, stage or degree of education and/or for acquiring a professional qualification and issuing the relevant official document for the purpose of: 1. access to education in schools from the preschool and school system education; 2. access to training to acquire a professional qualification; 3. facilitating access to the labor market.