The children in Bulgaria must attend two
years of preschool or participate in school preparatory
groups before they can start the eight-year primary
school. The compulsory schooling rules apply between the
ages of 7 and 16.
Compulsory preschool activities are free of charge,
in addition to a fee for food. Most children attend
public elementary schools, which are also free of
charge. There are also private schools where a fee is
Country facts of Bulgaria, including geography profile, population statistics, and business data.
Some schools teach two shifts; some children go in
the morning and others in the afternoon.
Almost all children attend elementary school, which
is divided into two stages. However, the proportion of
people who drop out has increased over a few years, to
just over 13 percent in 2015, according to a report from
the European Commission. The regional differences are
large, in the northwestern part of the country almost
every fourth child leaves school early. Among those who
do not complete it, Roma children are strongly
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The school previously suffered a great lack of
materials and qualified teachers, but in recent years
the situation has improved in most places. However,
Bulgaria spends less on education in relative terms than
most EU countries.
Most young people also attend the four-year high
school, which has both vocational and college
There are about 50 universities and colleges, most of
them state. The oldest is the University of Sofia,
founded in 1888.
FACTS - EDUCATION
Proportion of children starting primary
91.2 percent (2016)
Number of pupils per teacher in primary
Reading and writing skills
98.4 percent (2011)
Public expenditure on education as a
percentage of GDP
11.4 percent (2013)
Public expenditure on education as a
percentage of the state budget
11.4 percent (2013)
Prosecution against two ministers
Two of the outgoing government ministers are charged with abuse of power.
Defense Minister Nikolaj Nentjev is accused of putting the country's security at
risk by terminating an agreement with Russia on the maintenance of the country's
Soviet-built fighter aircraft and instead giving the assignment to Poland, which
according to the Russian manufacturer did not have a license for the work.
Outgoing Minister of Health Petar Moskov is charged with permitting imports from
Turkey of unauthorized vaccines in the EU.
The government resigns after the presidential election
The government submits its resignation application. Parliament approves it
two days later, although the government must remain in place until the Framework
takes office in January. Prime Minister Borisov has said in advance that he
cannot cooperate with a president who wants to strengthen relations with Russia.
Contested left candidate wins presidential election
The second round of the presidential election stands between Socialist Party
candidate Rumen Radev (who got 25 percent in the first round), against
Parliament's President Tsetska Tsatjeva (22 percent), who is the government's
candidate. Radev resigned as Air Force Chief in August, just before he was named
BSP candidate. He is considered to be close to Moscow and has openly advocated
that the EU suspend sanctions against Russia imposed after the Russian
annexation of Crimea. In the second round, Radev wins with just over 59 percent
of the vote. The incoming president, who is brand new in politics, says that
Bulgaria's membership of NATO stands firm, "but to be for Europe does not mean
to be against Russia".
Georgieva becomes head of the World Bank
Kristalina Georgieva resigns as EU budget commissioner to become head of the
The time limit for communist crimes remains
The Constitutional Court annuls a law passed by Parliament in September 2015
to abolish the limitation period for serious political crimes committed by
senior officials during the communist era. The law came about because of
widespread dissatisfaction with the fact that a number of investigations of,
among other things, political murders were closed down. Parliament considered
that it was contrary to the general legal consciousness that not a single
representative of the Communist regime had been held accountable for crimes on
the grounds that it was too long. That decision was appealed by the Prosecutor
General, and now the Constitutional Court finds that the governments that have
been in power since 1989 had plenty of time to settle the past. In addition,
according to the court, it is unclear who would be included in the circle of
"senior executives", which could lead to arbitrary claims.crimes against
UN failure causes political strife
The tone of the domestic policy debate is hardening since none of Bulgaria's
two candidates for the mission of the UN Secretary-General succeeded. First,
UNESCO chief candidate Irina Bokova, who has a past within the previous
communist regime and is supported by the Socialist Party. When it became clear
that she could not be elected, the right-wing Gerb government withdrew its
support for her and nominated EU Commissioner Kristalina Georgieva. In the
closing vote, both were without a chance. In an upset parliamentary session, the
socialists criticize Prime Minister Borisov for failing Bokova, while accusing
her of having sabotaged Georgia's chances by not withdrawing from the elections.
The debate becomes so fierce that the President cancels the session.
New border protection in place
The EU's new border security authority, the European Border and Coast Guard,
will be inaugurated in a ceremony at the Kapitan Andrejevo border station, at
the Bulgarian border with Turkey. The new authority succeeds Frontex, which has
been criticized for its ineffective management of the refugee crisis in the EU.
Border and Coast Guard has higher budgets, greater staff and increased powers to
intervene at the EU's external border in the various Member States. It will also
be the new authority that will be responsible for bringing back migrants without
Face veil is prohibited
Parliament adopts a law that prohibits wearing a full veil in public; Anyone
who hides their face risks a fine of the equivalent of more than SEK 7,000 and
any social security contributions are withdrawn. Exceptions are made if the face
must be covered for health or professional reasons. About a tenth of Bulgaria's
population is Muslims, mostly of Turkish origin, but almost none use a
comprehensive burka or niqab. The only ones who do that are a small group of
Roma who have been starting to hide their faces lately.
New anti-terrorist law adopted
Parliament, by a large majority, adopts a law on tougher efforts to fight
terrorism. The law gives the police, army and security services far-reaching
powers to intervene against persons suspected of "terrorist activities". The
military can, among other things, get police rights to arrest people. There will
also be increased opportunity for the authorities to seize persons' mobile
phones and other property. Among other things, the Helsinki Committee criticizes
the law for restricting the fundamental freedoms of citizens who have not in any
way been involved in any terrorist activity.
Bulgaria is forced to pay damages
The International Chamber of Commerce Arbitration Court in Paris orders the
Bulgarian state to pay EUR 550 million in damages to the Russian nuclear power
company Atomstrojexport for 2012 having demolished a contract to build a nuclear
facility in Belene on the Danube (see Natural Resources and Energy). The money
only applies to the equipment used for the construction. The Russian company had
claimed more than a billion dollars in damages.
The government loses the majority
The government loses its majority in parliament after the resignation of
Deputy Prime Minister Ivailo Kalfin and his party ABV announced that it will
stop supporting the government. Thus, the government has only guaranteed the
support of 114 of Parliament's 240 members.
Female socialist leader
The Socialist Party elects Kornelija Ninova as new chairman. She is not only
the party's first female leader but also the first challenger to succeed in
defeating a sitting president at a party congress.
Parliament adopts a law on mandatory participation in general elections.
Those who do not exercise the right to vote are removed from the voting lists
and must apply to participate in upcoming elections. However, there are no fines
or other economically sensible penalties for voice interpreters.
The army must stop refugees
Approves that the army be deployed to guard the country's borders in order to
curb a feared influx of refugees; So far, the army has only been able to provide
border police technical and logistical support, but from now on soldiers can
participate in patrol operations along the borders.
NATO takes over the airspace
Parliament votes on a contentious law that gives NATO responsibility for
protecting the country's airspace. Bulgaria does not have enough useful combat
plans to live up to its commitments under NATO rules. The opposition criticizes
the new law for violating the country's sovereignty.