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Lifelong learning strategy


2.Organisation and governance

2.2Lifelong learning strategy

Last update: 27 November 2023


The National Strategy for Lifelong Learning (2014-2020) was adopted with DCM № 12 of January 10, 2014

The Document has been elaborated in response to challenges, which on one hand have to do with:

  • Bulgaria’s need to overcome the consequences of the extended debt financial crisis in Europe and worldwide
  • preserving the national identity and cultural diversity in the course of implementing the cohesion policies. 

This Strategy outlines the content, forms, environment, and interactions among all players in the lifelong learning process, that is: 

  • learners – all persons within the country, who are engaged in learning in the area of education, formal and non-formal learning or informal learning;
  • training providers – the institutions carrying out training, (whether private or government kindergartens, schools, universities, training centres, culture institutions, etc.), which meet society’s needs and the labour market’s requirements;
  • employers, trade organizations, labour unions, civil society organizations, and others are those, which set forth and meet the above requirements, which deal with the needs for education and training; the regions, municipalities, and local communities have an important part to play in the process of asserting their position as „learning regions”; 
  • government bodies – ministries and agencies – set out the national policies in the area of education and training, as well as the relevant tools and measures required to ensure the efficiency of demand and supply of LLL. 

The National Strategy for Lifelong Learning sets out the strategic framework of the government’s policy in education and training during the 2014-2020 period. The main aim is to contributie to the attainment the European goal for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth.

This Strategy’s context takes into account the:

  • new goals and the new scope of learning
  • learner groups
  • providers
  • learning/teaching methods
  • initiatives for demand and supply of learning
  • supporting measures
  • transparency and comparability
  • quality assurance.

The document covers all forms of education, training, and learning – formal, non-formal, and informal – which one undergoes throughout life, and also provides recommendations for the following years. These recommendations serve as basis in the preparation of annual plans, based on which progress in the implementation of LLL in Bulgaria would be traced. 


As of 2020, Bulgaria should foster conditions for full creative and professional success of the individual person, and where the access to various and quality forms of lifelong learning has become a reality for all its citizens.

Below are some of the strategic objectives and progress indicators:

  • Increase the share of the children covered by pre-school education: from 87.8% in 2012 to 90% in 2020;
  • Reduce the share of early leavers aged 18-24: from 12.5% in 2012 to less than 11% in 2020;
  • Reduce the share of 15-year olds with poor academic achievements in:
    • reading – from 39.4% in 2012 to 30% in 2020;
    • mathematics – from 43.8% in 2012 to 35% in 2020;
    • natural sciences – from 36.9% in 2012 to 30.0% in 2020;
  • Increase the share of professional degree attainment in Informatics, Technical Equipment, Manufacturing and Processing, and Architecture and Construction to at least 60% in 2020;
  • Increase the share of higher education completion among ages 30-34: from 26.9% in 2012 to 36% in 2020; 
  • Increase the employment rates of the population aged 20-64: from 63% in 2012 to 76% in 2020;   
  • Increase the participation of people aged 25-64 in education and training: from 1.5% in 2012 to more than 5% in 2020;
  • Reduce the share of illiterate persons:
    • Ages 15-19: from 2.0% in 2011 to 1.5% in 2020;
    • Ages 20-29: from 2.3% in 2011 to 1.5% in 2020.Increasing the quality of education and training.

The main challenge is to organize the education and training and align them towards attainment of the key competences by all learners. To achieve this objective and turn into a fundament of the educational process more focus should be placed on the acquisition of basic skills such as:

  • Achieving functional literacy in the mother tongue
  • Achieving literacy in the area of mathematics and natural sciences
  • Achieving technological and digital literacy
  • Achieving foreign language communication skills.

Coordination, monitoring, reporting and funding

Implementation of the National Strategy for Lifelong Learning is based on the following implementation entities and instruments:

National Lifelong Learning Council at the Council of Ministers as a strategic group to coordinate implementation. The National Lifelong Learning Council carries out coordination and consultation among the central government bodies, local government bodies, trade unions on a national level, and employer organizations on a national level for implementation of the national lifelong learning policy. It is presided by the Minister of Education and Science.

Action Plans for Implementation of the Strategy

Multi-tier level of coordination and monitoring of the process is done through the National Lifelong Learning Platform 2020. It is an electronic tool for coordinating and reporting the implementation of the National LLL Strategy.  The platform provides transparency of the fulfilment of the commitments undertaken by the various government institutions, social partners and non-governmental organizations, as well as provides an opportunity to monitor process and revised any of the measures when non-implementation is threatened. 

Implementing the National Strategy for Lifelong Learning for the period 2014-2020 is based on the actions plans adopted by the Council of Ministers, the fixed operational objectives and main stages, which are subject to annual monitoring for purposes of timely detection of difficulties relating to the implementation and taking into account any changes in the challenges. 

An annual report is sent to the Council of Ministers covering:

a) the implementation’s status; b) any problems found; c) newly arisen needs to adapt or expand in terms of the objectives and measures; d) cooperation among various participants as part of the governance approach.

Full texts of the National qualification framework, action plans and Report on the implementation in 2014 of the National Strategy for Lifelong Learning 2014-2020 are available in Bulgarian for the following texts:

  • National qualification framework
  • Action Plan for 2014 in implementing the National Strategy for Lifelong Learning 2014-2020
  • Action Plan for 2015 in implementing the National Strategy for Lifelong Learning 2014-2020
  • Report on the implementation in 2014 of the National Strategy for Lifelong Learning 2014-2020

The Strategic Framework for the Development of Education, Training and Learning in the Republic of Bulgaria (2021-2030) was adopted by a decision of the Council of Ministers in February 2021. 

Priority area 8 of the Strategic Framework is dedicated to Lifelong Learning.

Efforts are aimed at creating attractive and flexible opportunities for the acquisition of basic skills, new competences, qualifications and retraining in the formal education system and in non-formal learning, as well as creating conditions for non-formal learning. Each choice of individual education, training and learning strategies will be encouraged, supported and developed.

The Ministry of Education and Science will take initiatives and synchronise its actions with other institutions, such as the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy, the Employment Agency, as well as with organisations, municipalities, vocational schools and local businesses to 'close the circle' of services - providing support for literacy and learning content, acquiring qualifications for employment.

To achieve Objective 1. Expand opportunities for lifelong learning, the following activities will be implemented:

  • Updating and effective implementation of a national qualification framework for lifelong learning;
  • Improving the mechanisms for validation of knowledge and skills in vocational education and training acquired through non-formal or informal learning, as well as on the basis of work experience;
  • Systematic career guidance and counselling of students at each stage of their studies to identify their vocational interests;
  • Creation of an integrated system of career guidance and vocational education and training for students and adults;
  • Promotion of learning among all segments of the population to participate in forms of lifelong learning;
  • Develop and expand the adult literacy system to develop individual skills for access to the labour market;
  • Inclusion in forms of education and training of persons who have not completed secondary education;
  • Encouraging and implementing measures to ensure a permeability between secondary and tertiary education, allowing flexible and motivating pathways for research interests and vocational training;
  • Ensure access to open educational resources for lifelong learning for all.

In order to achieve Objective 2: Provide conditions for promoting lifelong learning, the following activities are envisaged:

  • Expanding the range of learning opportunities by promoting formal education, non-formal learning and informal learning and motivating individuals;
  • Involving pedagogical professionals in qualification courses to master teaching techniques for youth and adults in formal and non-formal education and training, with priority given to the acquisition of digital skills and digital learning methods;
  • Raising awareness among stakeholder communities of the opportunities offered by lifelong learning;
  • Qualification of the population to allow reintegration into the labour market;
  • Creation of professional communities of teachers/trainers for exchange of good practices in adult learning, mutual learning through open educational resources, content creation and sharing;
  • Creation of a network of "second chance" schools;
  • Encouraging mobility under European and international programmes of students and staff and transnational cooperation of education and training providers;
  • Using learning platforms and sharing effective models to support high quality and inclusive education and lifelong learning;
  • Developing a methodology for quality assurance in adult education and training;
  • Promote partnerships with stakeholders related to youth and adult learning and education.

The document is available here: