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An education reform in Bulgary will focus on the labor market


Bulgaria for 45 days has had a daily protests against the government. The demonstrations are by now the longest-lasting since the dawn of Bulgaria´s democracy in 1990. In many of the demostration Education reforms are one of the issues requested bythe protestants. 

Since the breakdown of the communist system in 1989 and 1990, Bulgaria has been ruled by networks of oligarchies and clientilism. Practically all parties and coalitions in power serve the interests of large economic actors – or worse, those of shadow organizations which began as organized crime running protection rackets, but later established themselves as powerful market agents.

Last On Wednesday, at least 4,000 Bulgarians staged their 41st demonstration in a row in Sofia demanding the resignation of the government.

According the protestants the country needs reforms. The goverment responses with new education commitments. According to the bulgarian authorities education will be directed towards adequate response to the needs of the labor market.

The government will work on new legislation for high school and pre-school education in order to reduce the school dropout rate to 11%, for professional education, and for generating a new list of professions under State protection.

A recent poll conducted on behalf of Bulgaria´s education ministry found that 52% of this spring´s graduating high-school class applied for university abroad. One in six members of last year´s graduating high-school class went on to foreign universities. The majority of these students will likely continue their careers outside Bulgaria. That creates enormous pressure on the domestic labor market, which is rapidly aging.

A better system for funding educational institutions could help improve standards. Under a pilot program started in 2011, university departments that achieve better placement of their students in the job market receive more financial support from the central government. This program could be expanded, to offer universities progressively more budget money each year. But resistance is enormous, as many of Bulgaria´s 53 universities would have to adapt quickly or lose students. There are already, on average, fewer students per university in Bulgaria than anywhere else in the EU.

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