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Organisation of post-secondary non-tertiary education


6.Upper secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary Education

6.10Organisation of post-secondary non-tertiary education

Last update: 27 November 2023

Types of Institutions

Post-secondary non-tertiary education is provided by vocational (professional) colleges. Vocational colleges could be state, municipal and private. They are legal entities. Private professional colleges shall perform their activities following entry in the register of professional colleges under the terms and procedure of this Act. The state-owned and municipal professional colleges are entered in the register on the basis of the order on their opening or transformation.

Vocational colleges operate on the principle of autonomy and compile curricula and training programmes depending on the interests of students, the needs of the labor market, determine the organization, forms and methods of training. They carry out joint training, design and innovative work with vocational schools, schools of higher education, scientific organizations and individual employers. Vocational colleges shall carry out vocational training for acquiring fourth degree of professional qualification with a duration of up to two years depending on the acquired professional qualification degree they offer. The students in the vocational colleges pay fees for their education. Vocational colleges are institutions belonging to the system of secondary education and do not lead to a degree of higher education, but only to a degree of professional qualification.

Geographical Accessibility

In accordance with information from the Register of private colleges in secondary education vocational colleges in Bulgaria are 39 and are scattered aroung the country, mainly situated in major cities – Sofia, Varna, Plovdiv, Burgas, Pleven and etc.

The Minister of education and science maintaining a public register of vocational colleges in which currently entered 43 vocational colleges, situated in 10 cities from which only one is state and others are private. Another 13 private colleges are expected to be entered in the register and so colleges in 5 more cities will be available.

Admission Requirements and Choice of School

The Minister of Education and Science shall determine by an order the number of places for training in the state vocational colleges. Private vocational colleges determine their own admission. The conditions and procedure for admission of candidates to the vocational colleges shall be determined by the training institution in compliance with the requirements of Vocational Education and Training Act and the other statutory instruments regulating vocational education and training. The requirements to the candidates for inclusion in the programmes for vocational education and vocational training shall refer to a minimum age, health condition, entry educational level and entry qualification level. The admission requirements are set in the Rules of admission of each vocational college. The minimum age of the candidate in the year of application shall be 16 years when the training is carried out in vocational colleges. The entry educational level of the candidate shall be a completed secondary education. The health condition of candidates shall be certified by a medical certificate proving that the profession for which they want to be trained is not counter-indicative for them.

Age Levels and Grouping of Students

Vocational colleges carry out vocational training of persons aged 16 and over for the acquisition of fourth degree of professional qualification under a D Framework Programme. The grouping of students into classes is according to the number of enrolled for the selective year and for the specific qualification.

Organisation of the School Year

The organization of the school year is at the discretion of the respective vocational college. The Minister of Education and Science adopts Framework Program D, on the basis of which the vocational college, on the basis of the autonomy granted to it by law, develops curricula and study programs for training in the respective in the professions and specialties in which the training will be carried out, in accordance with state educational standards for acquiring qualification in these professions and specialties. 

 The framework of the curriculum for option D1 - for initial vocational training with the acquisition of the fourth degree of professional qualification - day training includes:

- Section A - compulsory school hours, divided into three groups:

I. General professional training - Theory of the profession, II. Branch professional training - 1. Theory of the profession 2. Practice of the profession: Teaching practice, III. Specific professional training - 1. Theory of the profession 2. Practice of the profession: Training practice Production practice with a minimum number of hours - 1,200 hours.

- Section B - elective classes - extended professional training, at least 60 hours

The professional qualification degree for each profession from the List of Professions for Vocational Education and Training shall be determined in accordance with the National Qualification Framework adopted by an act of the Council of Ministers. For fourth degree requirements are: acquired professional knowledge, skills and competences for practicing professions which include a wide range of activities of complex nature carried out under changing conditions, as well as assuming managerial responsibilities for the work of other persons and for the allocation of resources.

Organisation of the school day and week

The organization of the school day and week is at the discretion of the respective vocational college.