The current analysis has been prepared within the framework of project № 554834-EPP-1-2014-1-BG-EPPKA3-AL-AGENDA “National Coordinators for the Implementation of the European Agenda for Adult Learning”, implemented with financial support under the Erasmus Program+ of the European Commission.
The project has been implemented during the period 01.11.2014 - 31.10.2015 by the Ministry of Education and Science – a national coordinator on adult education in Bulgaria in compliance with Agreement № 2014-2461/001-001 of the Education, Culture and Audiovisual Executive Agency of the European Commission. The goal of this document is to inform interested parties about the state of the formal educational system for adult education and instruction in Bulgaria as well as to give recommendations on how to improve its functioning.
The analysis includes a description of different characteristics of the formal educational system for adult education and training in Bulgaria, as data covers the period between 2009 and 2013 and information dating back to an earlier period for statistical purposes.
In this way the analysis presents statistical data as well as information reviewed in a specific context and related to the structure of adult education offered at institutions as part of the formal educational system.
Statistical data is complimented by descriptions of regulatory acts as well as an analysis of how the system functions.
1.2. Structure/Content of Analysis
This report is divided into 8 sections:
Section 1 presents the common and specific goals, main activities under the project, as well as the structure and content of the analysis of formal school education and training for adults in Bulgaria. The methodology and the main definitions have been presented.
Section 2 offers a general overview of the regulatory framework guiding the formal school education and training for adults in Bulgaria.
Section 3 describes the state of formal school education and training for adults in Bulgaria by key indicators and with a focus on adult students enrolled in educational and training programs. The section includes an overview of the educational demographics of adult learners aged 25 – 64, and the participation of adults in different types of educational programs by degree awarded. The section includes information about the number of adults who have completed a level of vocational training by region.
- Section 4 offers an overview of the institutions within the framework of the formal educational system for adult learning.
- Section 5 presents the forms of education as well as the framework programs, school curricula and their applicability with regard to adult education and training within the framework of the educational system.
- Section 7 presents the key principles and finance schemes applied to provide financing for formal adult education and training as well as key tendencies related to European finance schemes.
- Section 8 presents a summary of results and conclusions based on an inquiry on the problems of adult education and training according to school boards and regional inspectorates of education.
The systematic overview of these sections offers answers to the following groups of questions:
- What are the main conclusions based on the current regulatory framework regulating the formal educational system for adult education and training?
- What is the structure of adult education and training within the formal educational system in Bulgaria?
- What is the state of the formal educational system for adult learning in Bulgaria by key indicators?
- What are the main recommendations made to overcome the challenges faced by the sector?
The investigation and analysis of the state and trends in the formal educational system for adult learning is subject to the goal and main tasks under the project, the scope, and the requirements set by the analysis.
The methodology of the analysis complies with the specifics of the main data sources and collection methods. The document is based mainly on information presented by EUROSTAT and the National Statistical Institute (NSI). The analysis covers acting legislation, programs, regulations, statute-books, and other documents, as well as implemented practices in the country.
An initial attempt has been made to determine the reasons behind the existing problems in the sector – scope of the analysis and to systematize the possible solutions in a conceptual, methodological, and practical aspect. A second focus and goal of the analysis is to identify the rights and responsibilities of interested parties, and recommendations are made on possible ways to make progress in this sector. The analysis highlights the main problems faced by the sector of formal adult education and training and proposes solutions to overcome them.
Up-to-date information is systematized and summarized, obtained as a result of an inquiry at an expert level in 28 regional inspectorates of education and among the school boards of 287 schools – educational institutions for adults during the 2014/2015 academic year.
Initial key conclusions based on the analysis are presented on an educational seminar with a theme “Monitoring the National Strategy for Lifelong Learning during the Period 2014 – 2020”, which took place on 25th and 26th June 2015 at the university center Batchinovo to the Southwest University (Yugozapaden Universitet) in Blagoevgrad. Representatives of state administrative organs, partners, and headmasters of educational institutions attended the seminar.
The preliminary version of the analysis was presented as open to suggestions and coordination with the project’s Steering Committee which includes representatives of different interested parties.
1.4. Working Definitions:
Formal education and training – Education in an organized and structured environment (i.e. educational institution or at work) with the clear purpose of educating (in view of goals, time, and resources). Formal education is a conscious activity from the point of view of the learner. It usually results in validation and certification. (CEDEFOP 2008);
Informal education – Education included in planned activities which are not intended for educational purposes (in view of goals, time, and support for education). Informal education is a conscious activity from the view point of the learner. (CEDEFOP 2008);
Adult student – a person aged 16 or older who is enrolled in an evening course, part-time, or individual form of education. Persons who are enrolled in daily form of education in vocational colleges are also included;
Suppliers of education – institutions that offer formal education and informal education;Interested parties – organizations, institutions, individuals or groups of people that will be impacted or can have an impact on the results and the expected effects of purposeful activities in the adult learning sector.
Drop-outs – the relative percentage of persons aged 18 – 24 who dropped out or left secondary school and do not participate in any form of formal or informal education during a period of four weeks before the study which focuses on persons of the same age. Unit of measurement - %
Lifelong learning – every educational activity which takes place during a person’s entire life to increase knowledge and enhance skills and competencies (EC Memorandum on Lifelong Learning 2000).
Competencies – a set of skills, knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors of employees that help achieve high results (good performance levels) in the role of an employee or in a certain organization.
Formal education and/or adult education in the educational system (including vocational colleges) follows educational manuals for adults (persons aged 16 or older) to complete a degree program or obtain a vocational training certificate. This working definition has been developed for the purpose of the present analysis and the general definition of formal adult education is taken into account as included in the International Standard Classification of Education as of 2011 (the International Standard Classification of Education or ISCED 2011). Also taken into account are Bulgarian legislation in this sphere and the differences in the methodological scope of adult education and training at the international and national level with regard to age reached. Adult students are categorized by indicators in section 3 in accordance with the educational manuals used to educate them.
Persons enrolled in literacy courses or other short-term courses that fall in the scope of informal education by definition are not included in the scope of adult students in formal education. They do not result in a degree or vocational certificate.
Statistical region – in compliance with order № РД 07-421/11.12.2008 of the Chairman of the National Statistical Institute, promulgated in State Gazette, Issue 11/10.02.2009 and into force as of 14.02.2009, the territorial units “statistical region” and “region” have been specified as follows:
Vidin, Vratsa, Lovech, Montana, Pleven
Veliko Tarnovo, Gabrovo, Razgrad, Ruse, Silistra
Varna, Dobrich, Targovishte, Shumen
Burgas, Sliven, Stara Zagora, Yambol
Kardzhali, Pazardzhik, Plovdiv, Smolyan, Haskovo
Blagoevgrad, Kyustendil, Pernik, Sofia-region, Sofia-capital