The key actors in the Global Education in Bulgaria include the Ministry of Education and Science and the Bulgarian Union of Teachers. Close co-operation between these key organizations through the organization of the recent Global Education Seminar for Secondary School Teachers is considered a good basis for future cooperation.
- The Ministry of Education and Science of Republic of Bulgaria is the ministry charged with regulating and promoting the educational and scientific work in the country.
- The Bulgarian Union of Teachers is the largest and most authoritative teacher organization, the country’s largest branch syndicate.
Global education is a new concept for most teachers in Bulgaria, yet during discussions many teachers could identify how they were in effect carrying out some Global Education already and were able to suggest how they could strengthen and build on this. The need or desire for Global Education in Bulgaria generally came back to the increasing multicultural makeup of the classroom and Bulgarian society generally. The Bulgarian education system left little space for other activities, such as Global Education. Also, the need for more training and support was expressed. The current atmosphere of cutbacks across the board in the Bulgarian economy, including in the education sector, also places obvious limitations on what can be done in practice in the short-term to support teachers in the strengthening of global education in the secondary school sector in Bulgaria. However, overall there seemed to be an openness and a positive approach by the key partners involved in the initiative and by teachers to furthering Global Education in Bulgaria.
Bulgarian High school caters for pupils aged 14-19 and offers a broad spectrum of general education. The structure and curriculum has been recently updated and expanded to cover both general and technical knowledge. Information technology has also gained prominence recently and 2006 was the first year of full implementation of a National Curriculum for Information and Communication as a subject matter in its own right, at all levels of the Public Educational System. Special programmes and projects are also in operation to develop positive attitudes among students towards the environment and sustainability, such as: The Eco-schools, Young Reporters for the Environment, Black sea Project and the Globe programme. Environmental Education is being supported at schools as much by environmentally related subjects, such as: natural science, biology, geography and others, as by different other activities that schools undertake when participating in various internationally run environmental programmes, such as: campaigns for cleaning the environment, painting, poster-making or photography contests and small range studies/researches. Bulgarian students tend to study a subject literally translated ‘World and personality’, which is like a modern history of the world, where they study about EU, politics, religion, discrimination and tolerance.
More than 20,000 high school students and over 13,000 faculty and administrative staff of Bulgarian schools have taken advantage of the educational mobility opportunities offered by the Erasmus+ EU programme for education, training, youth and sport. In Bulgaria, Erasmus+ started in 2014, and the participants who joined it have so far increased manifold. Just ten schools joined it during the first year, and now their number has reached 47. At the beginning, only 134 undergraduates availed themselves of the opportunity to study abroad under the Programme, and they number 2,450 during the current academic year. Mobility of teaching staff started in Bulgaria with 142 instructors, and now 877 instructors benefit from this option. A total of 512 members of both teaching and non-teaching staff undergo Erasmus+ training this year. We are confident that the Erasmus+ Programme will continue after 2020.
Here are some examples of Bulgarian high schools that have participated in the Erasmus+ programme:
1. Natural Sciences and Mathematics High School “Academician Nikola Obreshkov” – in Burgas.
The school have participated with the project ‘The ruins of the past to power Europeans future’ with reference number No.2014-1- IT02-KA201-00-4253 as the hosts of the project.
2. First English Language School – in Sofia.
The school have participated with the KA2 project „Schools as a part of their respective capital’s past, present and future” with partner schools from Italy and Denmark. The main goal is to get students, teachers, parents and the general public familiar with the research work of the participants to show the place and the role of the respective school – 1, 2, 3 in their respective capital cities – Sofia, Rome, Copenhagen.
3. “St. St. Cyril and Methodius” Primary School – in Kardzhali.
The school have participated with the ‘eTwinning training’ – An important part of the Erasmus + program. The training was organized by the HRDA and directed to school and kindergarten directors from all over the country.
As part of the EU, Bulgarian students have the opportunity to study abroad. Bulgarian companies, such as Edlanta and Integral, are professional-qualified consultants who offer counseling to students wishing to study at an accredited university abroad: in the Netherlands, UK (England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland), in the United States and Canada, in Italy, Slovakia, Poland, the Czech Republic and in many other European countries as well as in Bulgaria and Greece. As part of their ongoing support for students prior to and during their period of study abroad, they offer a programme of events every Spring which help students to think about and prepare for some of the practical challenges which their future years abroad can bring. This is a great opportunity to explore over 500 study and internship opportunities worldwide and meet study abroad alumni, to learn about their experiences abroad. You can also attend workshops on funding and other study abroad-related topics.
GE in Youth Sector
There are many organizations, associations and foundations working on different points of Global Education. They organize events, debates, conferences or simulations. Some of the most popular organizations working in the youth sector are AIESEC, BETA BULGARIA, MEU SOFIA & #HIGHSCHOOLEUROPEANCOUNCIL.
AIESEC offers several different solutions to various types of organizations including companies, start-ups, NGOs and more to collaborate in developing youth leadership around the world.
Their global network gives you instant access to young talent from over 120+ countries and territories from all around the world
They give you the opportunity to activate your leadership by going on an experience with AIESEC. This global platform provides the youth with the opportunity to live a shared responsibility for the world and equip them with the tools to shape it for a better future.
If you are an ambitious, young person, who is passionate about making the world a better place, then AIESEC is the place for you.
BETA Bulgaria was founded in September 2016, by a small team of volunteers with the mission of recreating and organising a bigger and better MEU Sofia and expanding the number and scope of legislative simulations in Bulgaria.
So far they have not only organised two very successful Model European Union Sofia editions, but they have also launched their original project – #HighSchoolEuropeanCouncil, which is a one-day simulation, aimed at high school students, as an introduction to the world of legislative simulations, with two events in Sofia and Varna, already.
Their mission is to give the youth of Bulgaria innovative and engaging informal education events, that not only show them their rights and opportunities as European citizens, but also teach them negotiation, teamwork and soft skills, that are essential in a modern professional environment.
In April 2018, BETA Bulgaria organised Model European Union Sofia 2018, which took place in the midst of the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the European Union.
Model European Union simulations are the perfect combination between politics and fun. The simulations aim at recreating the legislative procedure of the European Union, with participants entering the roles of Members of the European Parliament, Ministers/Heads of State and Government in the Council of the European Union/European Council and journalists.
Thus, they not only learn more about how the most important decisions, which affect the future of more than 500 million European citizens, are taken, but they have the chance to debate with fellow youngsters from all over the world, improve their soft skills and teamwork.
High school European Council is the first of its kind simulation, which aims at engaging high school students in extracurricular activities and introducing them to the European issues. 28 students step into the shoes of the leaders of the member states and discuss topics as a part of the institution, which is responsible for the strategic decisions of the European Union. Thus, they improve their soft skills, negotiation skills and teamwork, and they gain experience, which makes them even more interested in the functioning of the European institutions.
Team Europe Junior Bulgaria
The main task of the young people will be to participate in the European Commission’s initiative “Back to school” and to discuss the topics related to the European Union with the students at school.
GE Best Practices
Global education is a creative approach of bringing about change in our society. Global education addresses topics such as global justice, human rights, sustainability, peace and intercultural communication.
Global education is really effective when it comes to expression of a civic positions. There are many effective ways of defending your positions. You can do it either by debates or public discussions and speeches, but whatever way you choose they are both good. One of the main things that make the global education so useful in the youth sector is both global democracy and public discussions.
All of the participants in such events (projects, trainings, etc.) are free to express themselves in a way they feel more comfortable. For instance, debates are amazing way to teach yourself tolerance and observing things from all sides.
When it comes to debates, people imagine something tedious and boring. However, there is nothing more artistic and eloquent than expressing yourself in a way, that touches people’s minds while using language that does not alienate the person and makes him listen with pleasure. Global education in the form of debates can be useful in the youth section and help the others understand the global democracy.
In Bulgaria, debates are getting very popular. We are mostly debate in World Schools Debate format and British Parliament format. Nadezhda Traykova, member of the team of the project, says: “As a debater, I can say that this prompted me to develop further my interest in debates and was a turning point in my life. Until then, it was hard for me to accept that someone could have an opinion different from mine. But because of the format of debates – where I knew the topic beforehand but not whether I was on the proposition or opposition side – I was provoked to research a topic from all different angles. Now, I see different points of view which make me look at things with a different perspective. Debates teach me respect, organization and to think outside the box. They made me more serious, tolerant, disciplined and they make me happy. “
In Bulgaria there are 2 organizations for debates and people debate in both Bulgarian and English. The first one is the Bulgarian English Speech and Debate Tournaments (BEST) Foundation. There are another 4 areas that the young people would find really interesting and you can find more here: https://bestfoundation.bg/
And the other one is Bulgarian Debate Association (BDA). They are the biggest debate association and make and amazing tournaments. Both BEST and BDA are doing the elections for the National Debate Team.
You can find more about B DA here: http://www.debate.bg/
Public discussions are another point to consider. For example, there are many simulations of the European Union where you step into the shoes of a member of the European Parliament (or the Council) for a period of time. Then, you have public discussions. Observing the youth in Bulgaria, we can see that they are getting more and more involved and want to share their thoughts. This gives them the opportunity to feel like everything they do matters and boosts their confidence which boosts their ambitions.
Debates and Public speaking/discussions helped to a lot of the youngsters in Bulgaria in their global education and we are sure that they can be perfectly applied in the youth sector. Remember that there is nothing more delightful than expressing yourself, your experiences and point of view through carefully picked words.