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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
National reforms in school education


14.Ongoing reforms and policy developments

14.2National reforms in school education

Last update: 16 September 2022


In 2022, the policies for comprehensive, accessible and quality school education are ongoing together with the implementation of the Strategic Framework for the Development of Education, Training and Learning in Bulgaria, adopted in 2021. For creating the conditions contributing to the achievement of the envisaged goals, additional funds have been invested: for maintaining and improving the material and technical facilities of schools and sports grounds; for stimulating the entry of young and qualified teachers into the school education system; for supporting the nutrition of primary school pupils (grades I to IV); for improving the social and healthy lifestyle of pupils; for providing transport for children and pupils, etc.

The policy for increasing the salaries of pedagogical specialists to 25 percent above the average gross salary for the country continues. New minimum monthly basic salary levels for pedagogical specialists have been agreed with the social partners at sectoral level, effective from 01st of April 2022, for which an Annex to the Collective Labour Agreement for the Preschool and School Education System has been signed. Subsequent increases of the minimum monthly basic salaries have been negotiated by a new Annex to the Collective Agreement, signed at sectoral level in July 2022, which come into force on 1st of September 2022. Thus, for the period from the beginning of 2021 to September 2022, the salaries of the teaching staff have increased by 17-18%.

 The National Recovery and Resilience Plan of Bulgaria, adopted in May 2022, envisages significant reform activities in the school education system. Sector “Education” is one of the components of the first pillar "Innovative Bulgaria". In order to improve the quality of education and its relevance, a comprehensive and multi-aspects education reform is planned to facilitate a better orientation of the education system towards the acquisition of competences and their application in practice, which is also linked to the updating of curricula; contribution to the creation, application and dissemination of innovations, the expansion of the scope of education, distance learning skills, STEM orientation and the development of cognitive skills. With the introduction of compulsory pre-primary education from the age of 4, conditions have been created for the formation of cognitive and socio-emotional skills necessary for school learning.

The created conditions aim to contribute for preventing pupils from dropping out of school and improving their educational performance. At the same time, conditions are created for greater flexibility in the use of innovative methods and technical means for different forms of distance learning in an electronic environment for prevention and application in times of emergency and thus ensuring continuity of the learning process.

By amending the regulations for institutions in the pre-school and school education system, the possibilities for creating innovative schools are expanded, allowing improvement of the quality of education through the development of new tools, methods, activities, organisation and environment. It also creates conditions for expanding opportunities for e-learning, thereby improving access and the quality of education. The changes in the general school preparation allow update of the curriculum of the state matriculation examinations in accordance with the Law on Pre-school and School Education, which are to be held for the first time in 2022, and for the content provision of learning in the individual subjects in line with the phased introduction of the comprehensive education reform and the optimisation of the expected learning outcomes in order to improve the quality of learning, its practical orientation and its focus towards the acquisition of key competences.

The envisaged investments for the modernisation of the education system are in amount to BGN 569 million and BGN 480 million for STEM centres and innovations in education.


In 2021 (on 24 February 2021) a new Strategic Framework for the Development of Education, Training and Learning in the Republic of Bulgaria for the period 2021 - 2030 was adopted. The vision of the Strategy was formed taking into account the qualitatively changed social environment and role of education, training and learning in modern societies, as well as the achievements and challenges facing Bulgarian education. It envisages: in 2030 all Bulgarian young people graduate from school as functionally literate, innovative, socially responsible and active citizens motivated to build on their competences through lifelong learning.

With its implementation in 2030 it is expected: 

  • Pre-school and school education system (PSES) institutions to offer conditions for a highly secure, healthy, environmentally friendly and supportive environment, combining educational traditions, innovative pedagogical solutions and digital development, where children, students, parents and the local community interact to achieve a common goal - the formation of knowledgeable and capable individuals, able to make responsible choices and realize their goals in a dynamic and competitive social environment;
  • Educational professional to be competent, supportive, dialogical, open to innovation, develop personal and professional competencies, be able to motivate and inspire children and students, help them build skills and competencies for their cognitive, creative, personal and emotional development, working in partnership with parents and stakeholders.
  • Children and pupils are expected to have the competences and motivation for lifelong personal development and improvement, to have the attitude for successful social and professional fulfilment and to contribute to society. 

Nine priority areas have been identified for the development of education and training by 2030:

  1. Early childhood development
  2. Competences and talents
  3. Motivated and creative teachers
  4. Cohesive school communities and systematic work with parents
  5. Effective inclusion, sustained inclusion and educational integration
  6. Educational innovation, digital transformation and sustainable development
  7. Realization in the professions of the present and the future
  8. Lifelong learning
  9. Effective management and participation in networks

Implementation of ongoing strategies and reforms

Increasing the coverage and quality of pre-school education

Despite the challenges and consequences associated with the fight against COVID-19, continue to be implemented the activities that contribute to increasing the coverage of children in pre-primary education, facilitating access to education and successfully enrolling every child in pre-primary education from the age of 4 until entry into Grade 1, including by removing socio-economic barriers and implementing measures to address inequalities.

A regulation on compensation for the costs paid by parents for the raising and education of children not enrolled in State or municipal kindergartens or schools due to lack of available places, has been adopted.

The work of the Ministry of Education and Science (MES) on the Programme for construction, extension and reconstruction of nurseries, kindergartens and schools 2020-2022 is ongoing.

Successful inclusion of children and pupils in the school education system and reduction of early school leaving 

Priority is given to ensuring the right of every child to a quality education and to preventing school drop-out, with a focus on children and pupils from vulnerable groups. They are implemented together with measures aimed at increasing the completion rate secondary education and promoting the participation of young people in formal and non-formal education and training. 

For the sustained inclusion in distance e-learning of children from low social status families, internet access of the required quality has been ensured - more than 500 high-performance internet access zones have been built to ensure connectivity for pupils and teachers for the sole purpose of the educational process.

Raising the quality of schooling to improve educational outcomes, including reducing the proportion of 15-year-olds performing below the critical threshold in the international PISA survey.

Investments are directed to educational infrastructure and upgrading facilities in kindergartens and schools, helping to make them attractive social environment.  Fundamental in this respect is the introduction of the competence approach in schools, which requires a shift in the focus of education from teaching knowledge to mastering key competences and developing problem-solving skills. The focus was also on creating and implementing innovations in all areas of school life in all schools and supporting the implementation of pedagogical innovations. The activities are carried out in a context of commitment and coordination of school actions with parents and other stakeholders.

Raising the level of computer and digital skills and competences in order to increase the use of ICT and ICT-based services and educational innovation. 

Implementing the changes in the Law on Pre-school and School Education regulating distance learning in an electronic environment, in order to prevent interruption of the educational process and to counteract the risk of dropping out in a distance learning situation, the Ministry of Education and Science has taken special measures - providing laptops to students and teachers who do not have e-learning devices; providing also alternative ways of delivering learning materials and receiving feedback via involving educational mediators and social workers to support the school-family link.


(April - September)

The April-September period was marked by the COVID-19 pandemic. Some of the legislative changes that have been made and those that are forthcoming are related to the creation of rules for education and training in a pandemic situation. In mid-March, The Act on the Measures and Actions During The State of Emergency declared with the Decision of the National Asembly of march 13th, 2020, and on overcoming the consequences (title suppl. – SG 44/20, in force from 14.05.2020). According to the provisions of this Act until the end of the second academic term of the school year 2019 - 2020 the education of students enrolled in day-time, evening, part-time, individual and combined form of education and those in a dual system of education, as well as the personal development support, was organized, if and as much as possible remotely, in an electronic environment through the use of the means of information and communication technology. The training  include remote teaching hours, self-preparation, ongoing feedback on learning results and assessment. 

After the lifting of the state of emergency and the introduction of an emergency epidemic situation in May, the presence of children and students on the territory of institutions of the pre-school and school education system was allowed to carry out immediate activities for the completion of the school year 2019-2020 and for the preparation of the school year 2020 - 2021, if it is impossible for these activities to be carried out remotely in an electronic environment and/or the actual presence in school is required. The Act also stipulates that after the lifting of the state of emergency, the group presence of children and students on the territory of institutions of the pre-school and school education system outside the cases of urgent activities may be allowed after notifying the Minister of Education and Science. In the cases of presence of children and students on the territory of institutions from the system of pre-school and school education, the Director of the institution creates an organization for strict observance with the measures prescribed by the Minister of Health, preventing the gathering of children, students or their parents,  of underage students occurs only with the consent of their parents. Teachers and pedagogical specialists provide training and support for personal development by providing in their home or another place chosen by them outside the school workplace and using the necessary technological equipment. 

For the fulfillment of their duties from a distance, the pedagogical specialists receive their remuneration, agreed upon in the employment relationship. School headmasters also manage and control remotely through the use of information and communication technologies, if they have established the necessary organization for the implementation of training and support for personal development. Principals perform their duties remotely by providing a workplace in their home or another room of their choice outside the school and using the necessary technological equipment. The Minister of Education and Science may, by order, introduce temporary rules in relation to training and support for personal development, including the workplace, the working hours of principals and pedagogical specialists, the technical means for organizing and conducting training and support for personal development. Amendments to the Pre-school and School Education Act, which are to be published in the State Gazette and enter into force in the next period, have been adopted at second reading to regulate the conduct of classes in extraordinary circumstances remotely in an electronic environment. It is planned to make changes related to the boards of trustees, which are independent voluntary associations to support the activities of the educational institution.

At the stage of public discussion is the Bill on Bulgarian Sign Language, developed in accordance with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and its main objectives are related to the recognition of the language status of Bulgarian Sign Language and respect for the right of deaf people to express themselves. , of information and of one's identity through the Bulgarian sign language, application of the Bulgarian sign language in the system of pre-school and school education and of higher education; training of specialists for training in Bulgarian sign language. The Project regulates the rights and obligations of educational institutions in relation to deaf and deaf/blind children and students to provide conditions for the use of Bulgarian sign language according to the degree of visual and / or hearing impairment in the system of pre-school and school education. Consultations, organization and training for parents are provided for parents. The system of pre-school and school education provides an opportunity to study the Bulgarian sign language in a special educational field in kindergartens and as a special subject, as well as to use it in the learning process according to the needs of deaf and deaf/blind children and students. It is also regulated the possibility to use the Bulgarian sign language in the current examinations and the examinations of deaf and blind-deaf students. The right to use translation services in Bulgarian sign language for deaf and deaf/blind students and doctoral students is regulated, as well as the opportunity to provide conditions for training specialists in Bulgarian sign language.

By Decision № 285 of 30.04.2020 of the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Bulgaria 21 national programs for development of education have been approved.

Under module 1 "Supporting the teams for coverage" of the National Program "Together for each child", which aims to increase the efficiency of the institutions for coverage, inclusion and prevention of dropping out of the education system of children and students in compulsory pre-school and school age and improving the access to pre-school and school education and its quality by creating and maintaining a favorable educational environment for stimulation and sustainable educational development, during the current period 36 schools and 17 Regional Departments of Education are ranked.

The National Program "Student Olympiads and Competitions" has a total budget of BGN 3,900,000, divided into 2 modules: "National and International Student Olympiads and Competitions" for the 2020/2021 school year and "Providing training for talented students to participate in student Olympiads ” in the period June 2020 - August 2021. Providing additional opportunities for training talented students from all stages and levels of school education to participate in Olympiads is extremely important for higher achievements in national Olympiads and for the successful performance of Bulgarian national teams in international Olympiads and competitions.

The main goal of the National Program "System for National Standardized External Assessment" is the mandatory assessment of knowledge and skills of students at the end of each educational stage through national standardized tests. Through them, the exams for admission of students after the completion of VII grade in the state and municipal schools are carried out. The existence of a national system for external assessment allows to compare the achievements of students from one class in different schools, to draw conclusions about the quality of teaching in school and the quality of work of individual teachers to compare the results of students from different classes, to take out conclusions about the trends in improving the quality of education at the national level.

The system for national standardized external evaluation will ensure the achievement of the following results:

• The society will be informed about the state of the educational system and will be able to set new requirements for it;

• The state will establish the current state of school education, will follow the trends in its development and thus the control will become a corrective of the conducted educational policy;

• Teachers will be given the opportunity to objectively evaluate their work based on student performance;

• Parents will have a real idea of the level of preparation of their children;

• Students will be on an equal footing in conducting standardized objective assessment.

National program "Providing a modern educational environment" is aimed mainly at updating the specialized equipment of classrooms, laboratories and workshops in accordance with the developing modern new technologies, to conduct practical training in a real work environment, modernizing the conditions for laboratory and experimental work in natural sciences, as well as to update the training documentation for vocational education and training and bring it in line with the business needs of new knowledge, skills and competencies of the workforce. Its activities are organized in the following modules: "Modernization of the system of vocational education", "Improvement of the conditions for experimental work in natural sciences in specialized training", "Support of full-time education of students", "Cultural institutions as an educational environment", "Libraries as an educational environment", "Road safety training places" (for kindergartens and schools), and in all modules, except for "Cultural institutions as an educational environment" the ranking of candidates for funding has been done.

The activities under the National Program "Together in the care of each student" are united in two modules: module 1 "Providing conditions for systematic monitoring of personal achievements of students by creating an individual portfolio and evaluation card" and module 2 "Providing conditions for team work of primary school teachers with children's teachers and primary school teachers ”. The program aims to improve the quality of the educational process by ensuring a smooth transition between kindergarten and first grade and between primary and lower secondary education. The end result will be gaining confidence in their own abilities, keeping students in school and motivation for a successful transition to the next educational stage.

The National IT Career Training Program is aimed at expanding the base of students who have acquired a professional qualification in the profession of Computer Science and / or continue their education in higher education in the professional field of Informatics and Computer Science. After the implementation of the program in the vocational secondary schools a capacity for modern software education will be built and the connection with the universities and with the IT business will be strengthened. The training will be conducted according to the State educational standard for acquiring a qualification in the profession "Applied Programmer", developed by the business in accordance with its needs. One of the expectations set in the Concept for promoting the training of software specialists is that students in the 12th grade will be able to start working in software companies. As early as December 2015, the Council of Ministers adopted a Concept for promoting the training of software specialists. The current national program is in line with the objectives set in the Concept and will be funded within three school years with a total indicative budget of BGN 770,000 for each class of students included in the national program.

National Program "Optimization of the internal structure of the staff" aims to increase the cost efficiency of the institutions of the pre-school and school education system by optimizing the internal structure of the staff. It provides additional funds BGN 69,677,000 for the payment of staff benefits for the period 01.11.2019 - 05.11.2020 in case of reduction of the number of staff due to a change in its structure and composition, as well as benefits in case of termination of employment on other grounds. Staff benefits are also funded as a result of the restructuring of the network through the closure or transformation of institutions in the pre-school and school education system. By Decree № 142 of the Council of Ministers of 26.06.2020, additional transfers in the amount of BGN 12,159,617 were approved, distributed among the budgets of the municipalities for 2020, intended for: financial provision of the activities under the National Program "Optimization of the internal structure of staff ”.

The application procedure for the National Program "Creating an accessible architectural environment and security at school" has been completed. The number of children and students with special educational needs in Bulgaria is 18,116 in the 2019/2020 school year, of which 1,043 are physically disabled, and the total number of children and students with special educational needs in public schools and state special educational support centers is 4447, of which 291 are physically disabled. In accordance with the requirements of the Integration of People with Disabilities Act, it is necessary to build an accessible architectural environment in each building used for the needs of the educational system. The Pre-school and School Education Act stipulates the responsibility of local government authorities to ensure and control security in educational institutions. With the implementation of the two modules: "Creating an accessible architectural environment" (BGN 400,000) and "Security at school" (BGN 300,000) it is expected to be provided equal access for people with disabilities and special educational needs by building accessible architectural environment as part of the necessary support for their training and to reduce and minimize incidents with students, teachers and staff in buildings and affiliated yards.

145 candidates have been approved under module 1 "Support for education in Bulgarian language and literature, history of Bulgaria and geography of Bulgaria" of the National Program "Native language and culture abroad", and applicants for module 2 "Training of teachers from Bulgarian Sunday schools abroad”and module 3“ Partnerships ” are to be approved. The total budget of the program is BGN 2,208,000, which will be spent to support the education in Bulgarian language and literature, history and civilization and geography and economics in their part related to the history and geography of Bulgaria, organized abroad for children from pre-school age and for students from I to XII grade. The state policy towards Bulgarians abroad is related to preserving the Bulgarian ethno-cultural space abroad and the national, cultural and spiritual identity of all Bulgarian citizens around the world, preserving the ethno-cultural identity of Bulgarians and Bulgarian communities abroad. For the realization of this goal it is necessary to stimulate the study of the mentioned subjects.

(January - March)

Preschool and School Education Act

The principles of autonomy of state and municipal high schools, secondary and specialized schools are supplemented, including the right to conclude agreements with state higher schools on joint training in subjects and / or modules for the acquisition of specialized and / or vocational training in second high school stage, as well as the way to settle their financial matters.

Accepted new way of acquiring advanced training by studying general educational subjects, planned for studying in the process of school education, as well as of academic subjects under Art. 76, par. 1 - 5.

Changes are being made regarding the training for the acquisition of specialized training in 8th grade in schools for culture. Changes are also being made to the mandatory classes for music and / or fine arts in section A of the curriculum in vocational high schools and in vocational classes. The classes in section A of the curriculum provided for general vocational training may be used for training for acquiring sectoral and / or specific vocational training in section B of the curriculum.

Exceptions are introduced for the total number of mandatory and elective classes per school week, which are eligible for training in innovative schools, schools for culture, arts and sports schools, and training through work (dual training system).

The approval of a state admission plan for training in classes for the acquisition of vocational qualifications in secondary school, unified school and specialized high school in cities with population over 30 thousand is regulated, even when there are one or more schools in the municipality, who offer the same training. Also, in vocational high schools, a state admission plan for training in classes may be approved, in which in the second high school phase, specialized training is carried out only if there is no other school on the territory of the municipality offering the same training.

The composition of the pedagogical councils is expanding, as well as those holding academic positions who provide training at the school can participate in an advisory vote.

The system of pre-school and school education shall also include the units under § 4k of the additional provisions of the Higher Education Act - the Electronic Systems Technological School at the Technical University - Sofia and the Vocational High School of Computer Technologies and Systems - Pravets.

Decree of Council of Ministers No. 644 of 2019 for amendment of Decision of Council of Ministers No. 208 of 2019 for adopting standards for government-delegated activities with natural and value indicators in 2020

The adoption of the decision introduces changes to the standards for government delegated activities with natural and value indicators in 2020, which were developed on the basis of the information provided by the branch ministries, including the Ministry of Education and Science for the number of pupils and students. children in schools and kindergartens.

The planned expansion in the costs for education in 2020 is related to the policy of increasing the incomes of pedagogical specialists in the system of pre-school and school education, as well as the increase of the salaries of non-pedagogical staff in the system by 10 %. Kindergarten funding standards are on average 15% higher. Standards for non-specialized schools, vocational high schools and vocational training classes - full-time education and dual training system, for special schools and centers for special educational support are increased by 16%. Standards for students in other forms of education (evening, part-time, individual and self-learning) have increased by an average of 18%. The standards for child / pupil have been raised by an average of 15%, while some of them maintaining their level of 2019. The supplementary standard for pupil in combined form of education has been increased by 19% and for pupil in full-time education and dual system of study in the first and second high school stages is increased by 5%. A new supplementary standard for students with advanced music studies is introduced for 2020. Supplementary standards for facilities and bus maintenance remain at the level of 2019.

Ordinance for amendment and supplement of Ordinance No. 4 of 2017 on the regulation and remuneration of labor (issued by the Minister of Education and Science)

The amendment of the ordinance aims to increase the minimum monthly basic salary of pedagogical specialists by at least 20%.

With the new changes, the income policy in the system of pre-school and school education is implemented, and the starting salary for teachers and other pedagogical specialists is increased from 760 to 920 BGN.