Bulgaria: Education at a glance, according to report of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development

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Source: National Network for Children – Bulgaria

On September 12, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development published its report covering the education sphere for 2017. The data for nearly 40 countries presents a picture in which the educational situation in Bulgaria is largely in line.

Natural and technical sciences are gaining increasing popularity among graduate students, and they are also the ones that are best paid post-graduation. Post-secondary education is up to 56% better paid than those who have completed upper secondary education.

The aging trend of the teachers’ guild and the freezing of wages to levels that are not attractive to young professionals and are lower than those in other areas with the same level of education and qualifications are widespread across Europe and the world. At least 36% of teachers are aged 50+, an increase of 3% compared to 2005.

Especially typical for Bulgaria is the feminization of the teaching profession. The higher the level of education, the less feminized it is, but in pre-school education it reaches 97 and even 100%;

Vocational education is still not popular among students around the world. General education programs are preferable to the vocational programs among the 15-19 age group by 37% compared to 25% in favor of the former, although they offer no less good prospects for career development.

The problem of shortage and/or lack of quality in early childcare and education services is not exception for Bulgaria. Due to small public investment in early childhood education, significantly more children enter private educational institutions at this educational level than in primary and secondary schools.

In Bulgaria statistics show that in the big cities there are still not enough places in the nurseries and kindergartens and the adult-to-child ratio is too high (in favor of the first), while in small settlements there is lack of services, or even when there are such, families fail to cover the monthly fee and provide the child with the opportunity to take advantage of the service.
Against this backdrop, childcare services based on mutual support and cooperation between families such as parent cooperatives, day care, maternity assistant, etc. are not legalized in the country.

On the other hand, the Ministry of Education and Science calls the lower threshold of compulsory education to be lifted то 4-year-old in order to support the integration of children from risk groups. This intention, with all its positive sides for these groups, meets the resist of parents of many children who do not want them to start kindergarten of that age and prefer to raise them at home or in other forms of day care.

This once again shows that although the responsible institutions have an understanding of the importance and benefits of an integrated approach and services in a number of pilot projects, there is still no shared vision of how they should be developed, enforced and implemented regulatory and financially.