General information about the education system

Education in Bulgaria is mandatory for children between 5 and 16 years. Parents who do not enroll their children in the education system are subject to fines and are not entitled to family benefits for children.

Pre-school education

Pre-school (pre-primary) education in Bulgaria comprises chidren from the age of 3 to age of 6 or 7. Two years of pre-primary education are compulsory. The main objective of pre-school education in Bulgaria is to prepare children for the school environment at a later stage and provide them with the skills and values needed for that environment. Compulsory preparation of children for school two years before they enroll in first grade of primary school is organized in preparatory groups at kindergartens or classes at school, free of charge.

School education

School education in Bulgaria begins at the age of 7. Six year olds may also enter school, if their physical and mental development allows for it and after their parents’/guardians’ explicit consent. School education is divided into primary and secondary, general or vocational.

Upper secondary general education

Upper secondary general education is provided at non-specialized schools (3 or 4 courses of study) and at profiled (specialized) schools (4 or 5 years of study). Pupils may enter profiled (specialized) schools and vocational upper secondary schools upon completion of VII or VIII grade and taking entrance examinations, which correspond to the specialization of the respective school (Bulgarian language and Literature, Mathematics, Humanities, etc.) or be admitted on the basis of submitted documents according to the requirements of Ordinance No. 11 of March 28, 2005 on Admission of Pupils in Public and Municipal Schools. Restrictions based on race, nationality, gender, ethnic and social origin, religion and social status are unlawful.

Higher education

The Bulgarian system of higher education is autonomous. According to the Higher Education Act, higher schools enjoy academic autonomy which includes academic freedoms, academic self-government and inviolability of the territory of the higher schools.

Higher schools perform their overall activities in adherence to the principle of academic autonomy and in compliance with Bulgarian laws. The system of higher education offers academic training after completion of secondary level. Higher education comprises the following levels: 

Bachelor’s degree which requries:

  • at least 180 credits with a minimum length of studies of three years – “professional bachelor in…”; 
  • at least 240 credits with a minimum length of studies of four years – “bachelor”. 

The training for the bachelor’s degree in accordance with the curriculum shall provide comprehensive training or specialised professional training in professional areas and specialties. 

Master’s degree which requries: 

  • at least 300 credits in accordance with the curriculum with a minimum length of studies of five years;
  • at least 120 credits after the acquisition of a “professional bachelor in…” educational and qualification degree;
  • at least 60 credits after the acquisition of a “bachelor” educational and qualification degree; 

The training at the second level, up to the master’s degree, provides profound fundamental training in combination with specialisation in a particular specialty.

Adult Learning and Education

Adult Learning and Education (ALE) is being recognized as an instrument for human resource development in several strategy papers and national plans in Bulgaria. The main goal at which ALE is aiming is to improve the qualification level of the unemployed and employed persons and enable them to adapt to the rapidly changing working and living environment.

The multi-national project CONNEcting Cities Towards Integration actiON was co-funded by the European Union’s Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund.

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