Bulgarian Teens Alarmingly Illiterate, Study Shows
An alarming percentage of sixteen-year old Bulgarians are illiterate, according to the Zaedno v Chas (Together in Class) NGO study.
The data was presented at a conference titled "Equal Access to Education," organized by the NGO, with the participation of other non-profit organizations, business leaders and State and local politicians.
The study shows that the above percentage stands at 40% with Bulgarian teens lagging 2 to 3 years behind their peers in Europe.
Experts from the NGO note that poverty has the most negative effect on education while in the last 10 years, the difference between the best-prepared students from the largest cities and/or from families with good income and the worst-prepared disadvantaged students and those from the villages is growing.
They say the data means that Bulgarian schools cannot compensate for the negative effects of family environment, of poverty and of low social status, thus ranking Bulgaria at the level of countries such as Peru and Uruguay, not as a European one. The problem is seen as a very serious one since it affects negatively the labor market in the country.
The experts further stress a good educational system is counting on quality teachers and on their top-notch training.
Todor Chobanov, Deputy Mayor of Sofia, in charge of Culture and Education, announced that school dropouts in the capital are below 1% of all students while the average grades are the highest in the country.
Zinaida Zlatanova, Head of the European Commission's Permanent Representation, announced the EU plans 73% more funding for education and 46% more for science for the next program period, compared to the current one. She added that one of the main goals was to reduce the dropouts' percentage under 10%, while the one of those ages 30-34 with college degree should reach 40%.
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