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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Teaching and learning in general upper secondary education


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

6.2Teaching and learning in general upper secondary education

Last update: 12 June 2022

Curriculum, Subjects, Number of Hours

The school learning plan shall distribute the school time among the school subjects or modules for acquiring school preparation. The structure of the school learning plan shall cover three sections:

  1. Section A – compulsory school classes;
  2. Section B – selective school classes;
  3. Section C – facultative classes.

The school learning plan of the special schools for school children with sensory disabilities shall include Section D – school classes, envisaged for learning special school subjects. 

The total number of teaching hours in Section A and Section B per school week is as follows:

  1. twenty-two school hours - in I grade;
  2. twenty-three school hours - in II grade;
  3. twenty-seven school hours - in III and IV grade;
  4. thirty school hours - from V to VI grade;
  5. thirty-one school hours - in VII grade;
  6. thirty-two school hours - from VIII to XII grade;
  7. up to forty school hours - for the training through work (dual system of training), which includes the time for practice at the determined workplace, as well as the state and municipal high schools, secondary and specialized schools, concluded with state higher schools agreements for joint training in subjects and / or modules for acquiring the profiled and / or professional training in the second high school stage, as well as in subjects for acquiring the specialized training in the secondary level of education in compliance with the requirements of The Preschool and School Education Act and The Higher Education Act, Technological School "Electronic Systems" at the Technical University - Sofia (TUES), and the Vocational High School of Computer Technologies and Systems - Pravets (PGKTS), for schools of culture, for schools of arts and for sports schools.

For innovative schools, an increase of up to 10% in the total number of hours in Section A and Section B is allowed.

In the compulsory school classes training for acquiring general educational preparation shall be realized, and in the vocational high schools and in classes for vocational preparation – also the general vocational preparation. General education at the primary level of education is the same for all types of schools and is acquired by studying the same general subjects.

General education is acquired in the course of the whole school education and covers the following groups of key competences:

  1. Bulgarian language competences;
  2. Foreign language communication skills ;
  3. mathematical competence and basic competences in science and technology;
  4. digital competence;
  5. learning skills;
  6. social and civic competences;
  7. initiative and entrepreneurship;
  8. cultural competence and expression through creativity skills;
  9. sustainable development support and healthy lifestyle and sport skills

In the elective school classes of the curriculum, training can be realized for the acquisition of specific, professional, extended preparation in general education subjects, specialized training, training in mother language, choreography, religion, in subjects in the field of global, civil, health and intercultural education, entrepreneurship, personal finance management and programming, protection of the country, the population and the environment, subjects that form patriotism in students.

The teaching time set for elective classes in specialized schools may also be used for specialized training in sports, arts or culture, or for religious instruction. The teaching time for profiled training in the second high school stage is between 18 and 20 teaching hours per week, as each of the profiling subjects is studied with not less than 4 teaching hours per week during the whole stage of education.

The extended training develops and improves individual competencies from general education training. The subjects through which the extended training in the specific school is acquired are determined by the school curriculum depending on the interests of the students and the possibilities of the school. The content of the extended training in the respective subject for the respective class, with the exception of the subjects mother language, choreography, foreign language and religion, is determined by curriculum approved by the school principal.

The profile preparation shall be acquired in second high school stage of the high school by learning the profile subjects, included in the relevant profile. The profile is a set of profiling subjects, two of which are set out and the rest is determined by the school in the school curriculum and are the same for grades 11 and 12. Every profile subject shall consist of compulsory and selective modules. The module shall be an independent separate part of the relevant profile subject.
The profiles are: 

  1. Foreign languages– two  foreign languages, studied at school
  2. Humanities - Bulgarian Language and Literature and History and Civilizations or  Bulgarian Language and Literature and Philosophy 
  3. Social studies - Geography and Economy and History and Civilizations or History and Civilizations and Philosophy;
  4. Economic development - Geography and Economy and Mathematic or Geography and Economy and Foreign Language; 
  5. Software and hardware Sciences - software and hardware Sciences and Informatics and Information Technologies; 
  6. Entrepreneurship - entrepreneurships and Information Technologies or Entrepreneurships and Geography and Economy; 
  7. Mathematics - Mathematic and Informatics or  Mathematic and Physic and Astronomy; 
  8. Natural sciences - Biology and Hеalth Education and Chemistry and  Environment Protection or  Chemistry and  Environment Protection and Physic and Astronomy; 
  9. Arts - Arts and Foreign Language, in the first phase of upper-secondary education, or Arts and Information Technologies;
  10. Music - Music and Foreign Language, studied at school, or Music and Information Technologies;  
  11. Physical Education and Sports - Physical Education and Sports and Biology and Hеalth Education

In the optional classes, extended training is acquired through training in subjects, modules and / or activities that the school can offer and meet the interests of students and support the development of their talents, and training in mother language, religion, choreography can be provided and in a foreign language, different from those specified in the state educational standard for general education and in the state educational standard for specialized training. In sport schools, optional classes are also used to acquire specialized training.

The number of optional classes in each of the classes is up to 4 lessons per week, and their distribution between the individual subjects, modules and / or activities is carried out in the school curriculum. Optional classes are not compulsory for students.

In the classes of Section D, provided for the study of special subjects in special schools for training and support of students with sensory disabilities- hearing impairment or impaired vision, training is carried out depending on the specifics of the particular school and to support the overall development of the student with hearing or visual disabilities, as the specific special subjects and their distribution by classes, stages and degrees are determined in the school curriculum in accordance with the state educational standard for inclusive education. The study time for training in each of the special subjects is not less than 2 and not more than 4 lessons per week.

The distribution of general education subjects for acquiring general education at the secondary level of education by grades, as well as the number of teaching hours for the study of each of them for each grade and stage of the secondary level are determined in framework curricula. There are 24 curricula, based on the way of learning a foreign language. On the basis of the respective framework curriculum, the Minister of Education and Science approves a type school plans for the specialized subjects for acquiring the respective specialized training. Each school develops its own school curriculum, approved by its principal on the basis of a selected framework curriculum or type school plans.

For students in individual form of education, students with special educational needs who study in day, evening, combined or distance form of education, as well as in a dual system of education and students with outstanding gifts who study in distance or combined form, or in a dual system of education, an individual curriculum is developed.

Teaching Methods and Materials

Upper secondary students possess a higher level of intellectual development, knowledge and skill formation, which facilitates the application of more various methods of education.

The most widely spread methods of education at the upper secondary level of education in Bulgarian schools are:

  • Presentation of the study material by the teacher – narrative, explanation, lecture, combined with the use of visual aids and technical means; 
  • Discourse methods of education – talk, discussion, debate, which stimulate students’ reasoning;
  • Individual work on literary text;
  • Direct study of the real world – observation, school experiment, research of documents;
  • Indirect study – demonstration, modelling;
  • Practical activities – exercise, situational, laboratory and practical work topics development; 
  • Situational and role play methods.

Bringing teaching methods up-to-date at upper secondary level is done in two ways: 

  • Giving ‘ready-made knowledge’ is replaced with more active methods, provoking independence, creativity and developing students’ skills to make independent decisions; 
  • Greater use of ICT in education. 

Teachers are also an inseparable part of the selection process of all textbooks. Each year three textbooks per subject are approved by the Minister of Education and Science. Once the textbooks are approved schools and teachers choose the corresponding textbook as well as supplementary materials.