Education in Bulgaria
The first schools in Bulgaria began opening in the early nineteenth century first for
boys and then for girls.
In 1878 the government passed the Temporary Law on National Schools.
Several universities were established in the period 1878 – 1918.
During the communist era, the Soviet Union had a great impact on Bulgarian
educational system.
After the end of the Zhivkov Era (1979), the Bulgarian educational system was
completely reconstructed.
Structure of the Educational System
The system consists of four levels:
Pre-Primary Education
Elementary Education
Secondary Education
Higher Education
Българската образователна система
Pre-Primary Education
Pre-primary education embraces children between 3 and 6/7 years old. Optional
kindergarten education is provided for children between three and six years old.
However, prior to starting school, children must attend a one-year pre-school
program.
Elementary Education
Elementary education (grades 1 - 8) includes primary school (grades 1 - 4) and
junior high school (grades 5 - 8). Certificate for Primary Education and Certificate
for Elementary Education are obtained upon successful completion of grade 4 and
8 respectively. High schools use grades from the Certificate for Elementary
Education as a major admissions criterion.
Duration of compulsory education:
Age of entry: 7
Age of exit: 19
Structure of school system:
Basic First Stage
Type of school providing this education: Natchalno utchilischte (form I to IV)
Length of program in years: 4
Age level from: 7 to: 10
Certificate/diploma awarded: Grade IV Leaving Certificate
Basic Second Stage
Type of school providing this education: Progimnazialno utchilichte (form V to VIII)
Length of program in years: 4
Age level from: 10 to: 14
Secondary Education
Secondary education comprises comprehensive high schools and vocational school.
The admission to comprehensive schools is based upon grades from entry exams in
Bulgarian and/or mathematics as well as grades in junior high school. Students can
enroll in high school after the successful completion of grades 7 or 8. Usually, those
who want to study languages, mathematics, or informatics in-depth apply to high
school in 7th grade. Students graduating from high-school must take high school
exit exams in Bulgarian and another subject of their choice.
Usual grading system in secondary school
Full Description: 2-6; 6: otlichen (excellent); 5: mnogo dobur (very good); 4: dobur
(good); 3: sreden (sufficient); 2: slab (poor).
Highest on scale: 6
Pass/fail level: 3/2
Lowest on scale: 2
Secondary
Type of school providing this education: Gimnazii (form IX to XII)
Length of program in years: 4 (Age level from: 14 to: 19)
Certificate/diploma awarded: Diploma za Zavurcheno Sredno Obrazovanie
(Diploma of Completed Secondary Education)
Type of school providing this education: Profilirani Gimnazii (form IX to XII)
Length of program in years: 5
Age level from: 15 to: 19
Certificate/diploma awarded: Diploma za Zavurcheno Sredno Obrazovanie
(Diploma of Completed Secondary Education)
Vocational Secondary
Type of school providing this education: Professionalni gimnazii I/ili technikumil
Length of program in years: 4
Age level from: 15 to: 19
Certificate/diploma awarded: Diploma za Zavurcheno Sredno Obrazovanie
(Diploma of Completed Secondary Education) and Certificate of Professional
Qualification.
Vocational Secondary
Type of school providing this education: Professionalni utchilichta
Length of program in years: 4
Age level from: 15 to: 19
Certificate/diploma awarded: Diploma za Zavurcheno Sredno Obrazovanie
(Diploma of Completed Secondary Education) and Certificate of Professional
Qualification
Higher Education
The types of higher education institutions are Universities, Colleges and Specialized
Higher Schools.
Universities, as in most countries worldwide, have three stages: Bachelor's
(undergraduate), Master's (graduate), and Doctoral degrees.
Undergraduate stage lasts for at least four years and graduate stage lasts for five
years after completion of secondary education or one year after obtaining a
Bachelor’s Degree. The third stage of higher education results in obtaining a Ph.D.
Degree.
Specialized higher schools offer degrees in one or more areas of science, arts,
sports, and defense. Usually, the names of these institutions indicate the area of
specialization. Colleges are former semi-higher institutes. Some of them are part of
universities and use their equipment and facilities.
Some of the most prestigious universities in Bulgaria are Sofia University, University
of National and World Economy, Plovdiv University, Technical University, and SouthWest University "Neofit Rilski“.
Teacher education:
Training of pre-primary and primary/basic school teachers
Primary school teachers are trained at Kliment Ohridski University in Sofia, Saints
Cyril and Methodius University of Valiko Târnovo, the University of Shumen, St
Paďssďi Hilendarski University of Plovdiv and at some Academies of Arts. Courses,
which last for four and five years, lead to the professional qualification of teacher.
Training of secondary school teachers
Secondary school teachers obtain their professional qualification of teacher after
four or five years of post-secondary studies (at a university or at some Academies
of Arts), during which they receive special training in teaching.
Training of higher education teachers
Higher education teachers are trained at universities.
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Education in Bulgaria