Elementary education in Bulgaria is free and subsidized
by the state through the Ministry of Education and Science. There are three
types of schools: state, municipal and private. Private schools are becoming
increasingly popular. An organization called the National Council of Teachers
is working to update the curriculum to remove communist ideology.
Kindergarten for five- and six-year-olds is optional. Children from 7 to 16 must attend school. There are several kinds of secondary schools: general educational, vocational, technical and international. Special schools are also available for children with special needs. Students do not choose their own subjects in state-established programs. They study the social sciences, mathematics, sciences and languages. Classes at the secondary level are held for only half the day. The rest of the day is spent at home completing assigned work..
Bulgaria also has specialized secondary schools that accept
students for enriched programs in fine arts or technical subjects. These schools
require students to pass a competitive entrance examination. In order to graduate,
students must take written or oral exams or defend a term paper.
Bulgarian students who do well in school can continue their education at state universities after writing qualifying exams. The best students earn state scholarships while the others must pay for their own education or qualify for other grants. There are more than 20 institutions in Bulgaria offering degrees at the undergraduate and graduate level. The most important universities are Sofia University (Kliment Ohridski), the American University in Blagoevgrad and universities in Plovdiv, Velino Tarnovo, Burgas, Varna and Svishtov.
|Many Bulgarian students are politically active. Students played an important role in the country's move towards democracy. Some university students are married and have children. Such families depend on help from their parents because of their low income and shortages in student family housing. Most Bulgarian students work in their free time.|