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 charged.
- COUNTRYAAH: 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 over-represented.
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 preparatory courses.
There are about 50 universities and colleges, most of them state. The oldest is the University of Sofia, founded in 1888.
- Searchforpublicschools: Offers schooling information of Bulgaria in each level – compulsory, technical and higher education programs.
FACTS – EDUCATION
Proportion of children starting primary school
91.2 percent (2016)
Number of pupils per teacher in primary school
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 World Bank.
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 humanity “.
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 asylum reasons.
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.