Bulgarian Parliament Begins Debate on Vocational Elements in Education
Lawmakers in the National Assembly have started discussions on a bill which could bring about changes to schooling and pre-school education.
The idea is to further divide the education system into various stages, breaking secondary education into two parts and allowing pupils to opt for either pre-university or vocational preparation.
For smaller towns and villages, a new kind of school would help students between first and tenth grade to successfully complete most of their education. Children of low-income families could also be taught there upon parents' request.
A "public council" is to be set up with every school, and external assessments of teaching will be carried out on a regular basis by the National Inspectorate of Education, an institution which is now under the helm of the Education Ministry.
The text, if passed, will make education compulsory for any child that has turned five, whereas presently the starting age is seven (though it could be six at the parents' judgment).
The draft has been submitted by the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP), which is currently in opposition.
School education has been a particularly divisive issue in Bulgarian politics, with virtually every minister having introduced substantial amendments to the system in the past 25 years.
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