Sofia University Opens New Year amid Threats of Closure
Sofia University Saint Kliment Ohridski is to inaugurate the new academic year on October 1 but may close its doors shortly after.
Sofia University, which is the oldest university in Bulgaria and until recently the most prestigious one, will welcome its students on Monday but plans to cut the school year during the winter in an effort to cut on expenses such as heating, electricity and others.
No final decision has been taken yet, but information released suggests that the Sofia University is not certain about it capacity to fund operations even for November and December.
A number of leading Bulgarian universities will be forced to substantially extend their winter breaks in an effort to cut spending in the wake of drastically decreased state support.
Bulgaria's top art schools, the National Academy of Art, the National Academy of Music, and the National Academy for Theater and Film Arts will also be forced to close doors for a substantial part of the winter season.
State funding for universities has been cut up to 40% for 2010 following austerity measures taken up by Minister of Finance Simeon Djankov. This has resulted in Bulgaria severely lagging behind EU standards in state support for science and research. The same amount of state spending for education and science is projected in the draft budget for 2011.
Sofia University has also complained of a delay in payment of due funds from the state budget on research projects.
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