Article

Bulgaria's education response to the influx of Ukrainian students

Context

Bulgaria has announced its education system can currently absorb some 20,000 Ukrainian learners, and the Government is preparing for a scenario in which 100,000 children arrive.

Preschool and Basic Education

A mechanism for the reception of refugee children in the Bulgarian educational system has existed since 2015. It was established in connection with refugees from the war in Syria.

As such, there are trained experts in each regional education center who have experience in the admission and teaching of children seeking or receiving international or temporary protection.

Ukrainian children enrolled in schools in Bulgaria will have additional classes in Bulgarian and access to psychological support.

In terms of distance learning, the platform “е-просвета” is launching a Ukrainian ‘classroom’ especially designed for Ukrainian children. As of today, over 160 e-readable and free versions of Ukrainian textbooks up to 11th grade are available on the platform.  It is the result of a joint initiative between leading Ukrainian publisher “Ранок” and the European Association of Textbook Publishers (EEPG) to support Ukrainian children and their families. Since the beginning of March, Prosveta has been offering free educational books and textbooks for all children fleeing the war in Ukraine who enroll in Bulgarian kindergartens or schools this school year.

In addition, the Bulgarian MoE links the online learning platforms for Ukrainian students recommended by the Ukrainian Ministry of Education at a meeting with UNESCO and partners from the Global Education Coalition. The first is the All-Ukrainian Online School, coupled with their YouTube channel and a mobile application. It offers video lessons, tests and tasks for students in grade 5-11, covering 18 major subjects, including Ukrainian literature, biology, geography, history, mathematics, chemistry. The second is a Ukrainian online learning programme for students in grade 1-11, also coupled with a YouTube channel, and organized by days and hours.

 

Higher Education

To continue higher education in Bulgaria, the recognition of foreign diplomas will be carried out by the rectors of accredited Bulgarian higher education institutions.

To facilitate entering the job market, the process of recognition of degrees falls with the National Center for Information and Documentation at the Ministry of Education and Science. The diploma of higher education does not need certifications from Ukraine but must be accompanied by a legalized translation into Bulgarian.

The Minister of Education and Science believes the influx of students will not overstrain the teaching force. Aids and materials to support teachers developed by UNHCR have been published on the MoE’s website and further training on how to include Ukrainian students will be provided.

The Bulgarian Government is exploring the possibility of reducing the education and accommodation fees of over 1,000 students currently enrolled in Ukrainian universities.

Plovdiv University Academic Council is offering free accommodation for Ukrainian students as do Dobrich college and Varna University of Management. The National Academy of Theatre and Film Arts (NATFA) will give the opportunity to Ukrainian students to continue their studies by providing free education, free accommodation at the student dormitory, free use of the student canteen and a free public transport card for the remainder of the 2021/2022 academic year.

The EU issued operational guidelines for the implementation of Council implementing Decision 2022/382, establishing the existence of a mass influx of displaced persons from Ukraine within the meaning of Article 5 of Directive 2001/55/EC, and having the effect of introducing temporary protection (2022/C 126 I/01). As such, EU Member States shall grant access to their education system to persons under 18 years old enjoying the temporary protection status under the same conditions as their own nationals and EU citizens.

Bibliography

Government sources:

“МИНИСТЪР ДЕНКОВ: 20 000 УКРАИНСКИ ДЕЦА МОГАТ ДА ВЛЯЗАТ В УЧИЛИЩЕ". Ministry of Education and Science, Bulgaria. Accessed March 22, 2022. https://mon.bg/bg/news/4719

"БЕЗПЛАТНИ ПОМАГАЛА УЛЕСНЯВАТ УЧИТЕЛИТЕ НА ДЕЦА ОТ УКРАЙНА”. Ministry of Education and Science, Bulgaria. Accessed March 22, 2022. https://mon.bg/bg/news/4729

 “България с грижа за хората от Украйна”. Council of Ministers of the Republic of Bulgaria. Accessed March 30, 2022. https://ukraine.gov.bg/

"E-classroom for Ukrainian Children." BGforUA. Last modified March 29, 2022. https://ukraine.gov.bg/2022/03/28/e-classroom-for-ukrainian-children.

"Образование | Bulgaria for Ukraine." BGforUA. Last modified March 30, 2022. https://ukraine.gov.bg/education.

 

Other sources:

"Bulgarian School System Can Take Some 20,000 Children from Ukraine - Education Minister." БТА :: Начало. Accessed March 22, 2022. https://www.bta.bg/en/news/bulgaria/235082-bulgarian-school-system-can-take-some-20-000-children-from-ukraine-education-m

"Ukrainian Children Will Be Able to Attend Bulgarian Schools, Kindergartens After Parents Are Granted Refugee Status." БНР Новини - най-важното от България и света. Accessed March 22, 2022. https://bnr.bg/en/post/101611461/ukrainian-children-will-be-able-to-attend-bulgarian-schools-kindergartens-after-parents-are-granted-refugee-status

E-prosveta. Last modified March 26, 2022. https://www.e-prosveta.bg

"Universities in Bulgaria and Worldwide Support Ukrainian Students in Continuing Their Education." БТА :: Начало. Accessed March 31, 2022. https://www.bta.bg/en/news/culture/241353-universities-in-bulgaria-and-worldwide-support-ukrainian-students-in-continuing