Vocational education and training in Bulgaria


Over half of the Bulgarian
working population have completed upper secondary or
post-secondary education. That’s a ranking well
above the European average. Secondary education is
compulsory until age 16 and in 2017 slightly more
than half of learners chose vocational education
and training – VET. In Bulgaria, a country with strong
traditions, family and personal interests play a significant role when it
comes to choosing a VET path. VET graduates have better
employment possibilities. Two-thirds of graduates work in
the service sector, one-fifth in the industry sector. In addition, all VET graduates
must pass state exams, providing them with access to
higher education, a path many VET learners choose to follow. Most initial VET is provided by
vocational gymnasiums, art schools and sports schools, though there
are also vocational classes in general education schools. Work-based learning is a compulsory
element of all VET and is mostly undertaken at school premises
as part of regular classes, but also in a real working environment. Demographic changes have
also affected the VET population leading to school network
optimisation and other reforms. The 2016 VET reform aims at
making education pathways more flexible allowing for
better permeability. Learners may choose between
several study forms. The possibilities include distance,
part-time and self-learning, for students with special
educational needs or those who cannot attend regular schooling. Most students opt for daytime learning. Since 2014, dual VET – practical
in-company training alternating with periods of learning theory
at school – has also gradually developed into more than just
a project-based activity. For more details about VET
in Bulgaria, visit www.cedefop.europa.eu

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