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Bulgaria – Education and Schools

Bulgaria is a country located in Southeastern Europe, with a population of approximately 7 million people. The education system in Bulgaria is overseen by the Ministry of Education and Science. In this article, we will explore the quality of education in Bulgaria, the compulsory education ages, breakdown the types of schools available by age, syllabus and qualifications offered, typical school hours and holidays, enrollment process, and international schools. We will also provide information on higher education options in Bulgaria.

Quality of Education in Bulgaria

According to the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) report, Bulgarian students scored below the average in mathematics, reading, and science. This report showed that Bulgaria’s education system needs to improve significantly in order to meet the standards of other developed countries. However, Bulgaria has taken several steps to improve its education system in recent years, including increasing funding and introducing more innovative teaching methods.

Compulsory Education Ages

In Bulgaria, education is compulsory for children between the ages of 7 and 16. This includes primary and lower secondary education. After completing compulsory education, students have the option to continue their education through upper secondary or vocational education.

Types of Schools Available in Bulgaria

Kindergarten

Kindergarten is not compulsory in Bulgaria, but it is available for children between the ages of 3 and 6. It is an optional two-year program that prepares children for primary school.

Primary School


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Primary school is compulsory for children between the ages of 7 and 11 and lasts for four years. Students learn subjects such as Bulgarian language and literature, mathematics, and social sciences.

Lower Secondary School

Lower secondary school is compulsory for children between the ages of 11 and 16 and lasts for three years. Students learn subjects such as Bulgarian language and literature, mathematics, foreign language, history, and geography.

Upper Secondary School

After completing compulsory education, students have the option to continue their education through upper secondary school. Upper secondary school is not compulsory, but it is required for students who wish to pursue higher education. Upper secondary school lasts for three years and offers general education, as well as specialized education in subjects such as science, humanities, and social sciences.

Vocational Education

Vocational education is an option for students who wish to pursue a career in a specific trade. Vocational education lasts for two years and offers specialized training in subjects such as agriculture, engineering, and healthcare.

Syllabus and Qualifications

Schools in Bulgaria follow a national curriculum that includes subjects such as Bulgarian language and literature, mathematics, foreign language, history, and geography. The national curriculum is overseen by the Ministry of Education and Science.

After completing upper secondary education, students can take a national exam that qualifies them for higher education. The most popular exams are the Bulgarian language and literature exam, the mathematics exam, and the foreign language exam.

School Hours and Holidays

School hours in Bulgaria vary depending on the level of education. Primary and lower secondary school students typically have five hours of class per day, while upper secondary school students have six to seven hours of class per day.

The school year in Bulgaria runs from mid-September to mid-June and includes two semesters. Students have a one-week break in November, a two-week break for Christmas, a one-week break in February, and a one-week break in April. The school year ends in mid-June, and students have a three-month break during the summer.

Enrollment Process

In order to enroll in a school in Bulgaria, students must provide their birth certificate, proof of address, and a health certificate. For students transferring from another school, a transfer certificate is also required. There is some competition for enrollment in the more prestigious schools, but generally, enrollment is fairly straightforward.

International Schools in Bulgaria

For expat families, there are several international schools available in Bulgaria that offer education in English or other languages. These schools typically follow the curriculum of their home country and offer qualifications such as the International Baccalaureate (IB) or the General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE).

Some international schools in Bulgaria include:

Higher Education in Bulgaria

There are several higher education options available in Bulgaria, including universities, colleges, and academies. Bulgarian universities offer undergraduate and graduate programs in a variety of subjects, including engineering, medicine, law, and humanities.

In order to be eligible for higher education in Bulgaria, students must pass a national entrance exam. The entrance exam covers subjects such as Bulgarian language and literature, mathematics, and a foreign language.

Some popular universities in Bulgaria include:

In conclusion, the education system in Bulgaria has room for improvement, but the government has taken steps to improve the quality of education in recent years. Education is compulsory for children between the ages of 7 and 16 and includes primary, lower secondary, upper secondary, and vocational education. Schools in Bulgaria follow a national curriculum overseen by the Ministry of Education and Science and offer qualifications that qualify students for higher education. School hours and holidays vary depending on the level of education, and enrollment in schools is fairly straightforward. For expat families, there are several international schools available in Bulgaria that offer education in English or other languages. Finally, higher education options in Bulgaria include universities, colleges, and academies that offer undergraduate and graduate programs in a variety of subjects.


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