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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Teaching and learning in vocational lower secondary education


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

6.5Teaching and learning in vocational lower secondary education

Last update: 27 November 2023

Curriculum, Subjects, Number of Hours

The curriculum divides the study time between the subjects or modules or activities for acquiring the school preparation.

The structure of the curriculum shall cover three groups of study hours, divided into sections, as follows:

  1. Section A - compulsory school hours;
  2. Section B - elective school hours;
  3. Section C - optional classes.

The curriculum for the special schools for students with sensory disabilities shall also contain section D - hours provided for the study of the special subjects.

In the compulsory school hours, training is provided for acquiring general education in accordance with the state educational standard for general education through the subjects provided for study in the respective class, and in the vocational classes - general vocational training in accordance with the state educational standard for the acquisition of a qualification by profession.

In the elective school hours of the curriculum, training can be provided for the acquisition of:

  1. profiled training;
  2. branch and specific professional training;
  3. extended training in general education subjects, included in section A;
  4. extended preparation in general education subjects, which are not studied in section A in the respective class, but are studied in the process of school education;
  5. extended professional training in subjects / modules;
  6. specialized training;
  7. training in the subject in a foreign language, different from the ones indicated in the state educational standard for general education training and in the state educational standard for profiled training;
  8. preparation for the subject mother language;
  9. preparation for the subject choreography;
  10. preparation for the subject religion;
  11. preparation in subjects in the field of global, civic, health and intercultural education, entrepreneurship, personal finance management and programming, protection of the homeland, population and environment, subjects that form national self-confidence, patriotic spirit and patriotism in children and students, expanding and supplementing content that is present integrated in other subjects. The teaching time set for elective classes in specialized schools may also be used for specialized training in sports, the arts or culture, or for religious instruction.

In the optional classes, additional 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 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 can be provided. In sports schools, optional classes are also used to acquire specialized training. The number of optional lessons 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.

General education in Bulgaria is carried out by studying subjects grouped in the following cultural and educational areas:

  • Bulgarian language and literature;
  • Foreign languages;
  • Mathematics, informatics and information technology;
  • Social sciences and civic education;
  • Natural sciences and ecology;
  • Arts;
  • Home and Appliances;
  • Physical education and sport.

The framework curricula envisage the length of the school year to be thirty-six school weeks - from VII to XI grade inclusive, and the classes for professional training in X and XI grade - and two school weeks in addition for production practice; up to forty study weeks - for work-based learning (dual learning system) in 11th grade; thirty-one school weeks - for twelfth grade, of which two weeks in vocational training classes are for internships; in sports schools in 5th and 6th grade to be 34 school weeks with 4 additional weeks for practical training, and in 7th grade to be 36 school weeks with 2 weeks for practical training. In all classes, the compulsory lessons in music and arts can be used for specialized training. Within the framework of the all-day training in the sports schools, in addition to the hours defined in the curricula, for the implementation of the training process for each week are additionally determined: 4 training hours for sports training and 2 training hours for active recreation.

Practical training shall be organized as school practice and practical activity and / or as on-the-job training. Classes provided for practical training shall be not less than seventy percent of the total number of classes for the study of subjects or modules from the sectoral and specific vocational training - for the professions with first degree of professional qualification.

Teaching Methods and Materials

The most wide spread methods of education at the 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 study literature;
  • 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 among which 3 per subject are approved by the Minister of Education, Youth and Science. Once the textbooks are approved schools and teachers choose the corresponding textbook as well as supplementary materials.

According to their purpose, the textbooks are for training in:

  1. the subjects of the general education;
  2. the obligatory modules of the profiled training;
  3. the subjects mother tongue, religion and choreography;
  4. the subjects or modules of the general professional training - manual for educational practice, training course in theory and / or practice of the profession;
  5. special subjects for students with sensory disabilities.

The content of the textbook in a subject or module of general vocational training must fully correspond to the relevant curriculum in terms of objectives and expected results and the curriculum content of the standard curriculum.