History of Bulgarian Education

Generally recognized foundation layers of the deed of education in Bulgaria are the disciples of Cyril and Methodius, notably St. Kliment and St. Naoum (end of 9th Century). Then, and in the subsequent 10th Century, the literary schools of Ohrid and Preslav proceeded as major focal points of learning. With the reign of Tsar Simeon I the Great, came the heyday of education, dubbed “The Golden Age of Bulgarian Literature and Culture”.

During the Second Bulgarian Kingdom (1185-1396), the literary schools of Kilifarevo and Tarnovo gradually turned into next key centers of education. Down the ages of Ottoman rule, main sanctuaries of schooling and learning were the so called “cell schools”, based at monasteries and churches. Set up by- and subsisting on the support of local Bulgarian population, these were capable of meeting the then needs in education, and largely promoted to preserve the traditions and development of the language, literature and Orthodox Christian faith.

The birth of movement to enlightenment throughout the lands of Bulgaria, owes its beginning to the priest Paissiy of Hilendar, passes through the efforts of his fol1owers Sofroniy Vrachanski (of Vratsa), Neofit Rilski (of Rila), the functionaries of National Revival- Peter Beron, Vassil Aprilov, brothers Dimitar and Constantine Miladinov and many others. Written and printed were multiple schoolbooks, a variety of belles lettres, books of scientific contents, literature on education, etc.

The first school of secular education opened up in Gabrovo in the year 1835, shortly afterwards followed by many others. Schoolteachers were increasingly gaining high public prestige and recognition not only in matters of schooling, but also in the fields of other educational and public enterprise. Likewise, the struggle for National Liberation stemmed from and received its forward motion from within the depths of Bulgarians’ enlightenment. Namely the most educated Bulgarians became its passionate organizers and leaders. Already in 1891, right after the Liberation (1878), obligatory initial (four classes) education upon financial support of the state was introduced and functioned, followed by enforcement of compulsory primary education, in the later year 1921.

High school level of training became wide spread throughout gymnasiums of comprehensive education and various vocational schools. In 1888, the “St Kliment of Ohrid” university opened up in Sofia to mark the beginning of higher school education in Bulgaria, and its rapid outgrowth provided many boys and girls with appropriate training in all fields of human knowledge. Also founded and opened up for reception of students by that time were the Academy of Fine Arts, University of Finance, Administration and Agriculture, Higher schools of Economics in the towns of Svishtov and Varna, the Higher School of Technical and Technological Sciences in Sofia, and a number of higher education establishments in some of the other towns in Bulgaria. There are over 40 institutions of higher education in Bulgaria for the academic year 2004-2005.

The countrywide meshwork of schools has been developed to reach the remotest inhabited settlement, providing wide public strata with access to learning. Education functions mainly on budgets of the state. A number of schools with specialization in foreign languages teaching, vocational training, and private-run tuition were created of late. The overwhelming majority of schools in Bulgaria offer tuition with an emphasis on secular sciences and practices, providing weighty and multi-faceted knowledge to schoolchildren; much care is applied to their patriotic upbringing and cultivation of good manners and comprehensive culture. Diplomas issued by higher education schools in Bulgaria are accredited nowadays almost everywhere throughout Europe and the majority of countries outside Europe and overseas.

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