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5-1 The Bulgarian Educational System


This article is from the Bulgaria FAQ, by Dragomir R. Radev radev@tune.cs.columbia.edu with numerous contributions by others.

5-1 The Bulgarian Educational System

(by Bulgarian-American Fulbright Commission)
Education in Bulgaria is free at all levels and is supported by the state
through the Ministry of Education and Science. It is compulsory for children
from seven to sixteen years of age.
The Bulgarian educational system falls within the continental European
tradition. The main types of secondary schools in the country are: general
educational, vocational, language schools, and foreign schools. Private
schools are also being established and they are beginning to compete with
the state schools.
There are over forty Higher Education institutions in Bulgaria offering
degrees at the undergraduate and graduate level.
The academic year for Bulgarian universities begins on October 1 and consists
of fall and spring semesters. Full-time study programme takes 5 years, or 10
semesters. The academic year covers 30 calendar weeks.
University teaching is usually formally divided into lectures, seminars, and
practical training, but flexibility is increasing. Attendance of seminars and
practical training sessions is obligatory.
The teaching load, depending on academic rank, averages twelve hours per week
. Classes usually meet once a week for 75 minutes; some are double 45- minute
Bulgarian students are admitted after taking qualifying written exams for a
number of state-commissioned places. Each exam is highly competitive and
ensures a tuition waiver. Those who are not admitted in this way compete
for an additional number of places, but are expected to finance their
studies, either individually or by finding scholarships or grants.
The qualifying written exams are held each year on previously announced
After each semester students take exams (in accordance with the curriculum of
the respective program) in the course of the regular examination period. The
exam period is 3-4 weeks.
Many of the university students are a joy to teach. Bulgaria's specialized
secondary schools produce some very well educated 18- and 19-year olds.
Depending on the study program, students will be expected to take a graded
exam (written or oral), a pass/fail exam (p/f), to defend a term project or
paper. A six-grade system of marking is used, six being the highest and
two- the lowest score.


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