EC Education Monitor 2018: Bulgaria Implements Reforms in Education as This Is Political Priority
112 ECONOMY - EDUCATION MONITOR 2018 - BULGARIA - EC
EC Education Monitor 2018:
Bulgaria Implements Reforms in Education
as This Is Political Priority
Sofia, November 23 (BTA) - Bulgaria is implementing reforms at all levels of education as this is a political priority. Although measures do not yet match the magnitude of the challenges, there is an increased focus on reducing early
school leaving, increasing teacher salaries, introducing dual learning, improving digital skills, and strengthening inclusive education. These are some of the highlights in the European Commission's Education and Training Monitor 2018 for Bulgaria, presented at a forum on the future of education here on Friday.
The Education and Training Monitor is the European Commission's flagship annual publication on education and training in the EU.
According to this year's country report on Bulgaria, this country typically invests little in pre-primary and primary education, areas which are key for an equal start in life and for preventing income inequalities later in life. In 2016, spending on this level of education was equal to 0.7 per cent of Bulgaria's GDP, less than half the average of 1.5 per cent across the EU, while the spending on secondary (1.7 per cent) and higher education (0.7 per cent) was more similar to the EU average (1.9 per cent and 0.7 per cent, respectively). Income inequalities in Bulgaria are among the biggest in the EU and the impact of parents' socio-economic status on students' educational attainment is strong. In 2018, Bulgaria revised the school funding model to allocate more funding to disadvantaged schools, including those in rural areas, smaller schools and those with a concentration of disadvantaged
students, the report reads.
The document reads further that reducing early school leaving is a priority for Bulgaria. In 2017, the percentage of early leavers from education and training among those aged 18-24 decreased for the first time since 2011. The rate
was 12.7 per cent, down by 1.1 percentage points from 2016, but remains above the EU average of 10.6 per cent. Early school leaving is particularly high in rural areas (27.9 per cent) and among Roma (67 per cent).
Last year, nearly 22,000 children aged 5-18 were brought back to school. For comparison, in 2016 a total of 20,000 students from grades 1 to 12 abandoned school, of whom more than 40 per cent are believed to have emigrated. Of the students re-enrolled, 1,200 ( 5 per cent) had dropped out by the end of the first school term, along with 4,500 other students not in the scheme.