Bulgarian Minister Vows More Funds for Education
Bulgarian Minister of Education Sergei Ignatov promised that the state will raise the amount it pays universities per student with 10% as of 2011.
The increased amount would reportedly be entered as an amendment to the state budget for 2011 currently under review by Parliament.
Ignatov also vowed to reveal in the next few days the much talked-about "university rating system", which will see universities and colleges funded proportionately to their standing in the charts, according to specific disciplines.
"I will do everything possible to stop funding disciplines that turn out to be inferior," stated the Minister of Education.
Ignatov has been in a brawl with university students, researchers from the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences and staff at Bulgaria's major institution of higher learning, Sofia University, over a relentless campaign of cutting funds for education and research and introducing an alleged "marked principle" in Bulgarian education.
In this, he has been systematically backed by Minister of Finance Simeon Djankov.
Saturday Ignatov also reiterated the intention voiced by both him and Djankov that currently developed amendments of the Higher Education Act shall see the division of the academic management from the financial management of universities.
While supporters of that move argue that this would help universities manage their funds more efficiently, opposers have contended that giving to much rein to financial managers could harm the idea of a truly universal education at universities and might lead to the closure of disciplines that are not commercially viable, but still have strategic significance or are considered as core to higher learning.
A major working table is organized Sunday by the Standart daily newspaper in which Ignatov, as well as other senior government officials are going to be present, and at which major announcements as to the direction cabinet is intending to take are expected to be revealed.
Monday professors and students from Sofia University have scheduled a major protest against government policies on the occasion of Bulgarian Education day.
Wednesday researchers from the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences have scheduled a fresh protest, after their demands for an upping of severely cut funding for research have been rejected by the GERB cabinet.
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