Education Levels of Bulgarians Show Improvement

Society » EDUCATION | September 26, 2012, Wednesday // 15:48
Decline Reported in Number of Bulgarians with Lower Education: Education Levels of Bulgarians Show Improvement Results of the Adult Education Survey, conducted in Bulgaria, show that parents' education is an important factor for the future development of young generations. File photo

At the end of 2011, the population in Bulgaria, aged 25 – 64, with lower secondary and lower education was 20.4% of the entire population.

The data is based on the Adult Education Survey, published Wednesday by the National Statistics Institute, NSI.

Those with high school education were 55.0% and with college education - 24.6%.

There is a tendency of improvement expressed in the increase of the share of people with secondary and high education together with the decrease of the number and share of people with low education. The share of women with college education is significantly higher than of men, respectively 29.8% and 19.5%.

The family background influences considerably the future social and personal development of each individual 12 - 16 years of age. The survey results show that parents' education is an important factor for the future development of young generations.

According to the survey results, 93.6% of persons with lower secondary and lower education originated from a family in which both parents were with low education; 6.2% - from families where at least one parent had secondary education, and only 0.3% have at least one parent with college education.

Distribution of persons with secondary education according to their parents' education was as follows: 51.0% - parents were with lower secondary or lower education completed, 44.4% - at least one parent had secondary education completed and 4.6% - at least one parent had college education completed. Every third person (33.9%) with college education originates from a family in which at least one parent was with college education, 53.9% had at least one parent with secondary education and for 12.9% of respondents with college education both parents were with lower secondary and lower education.

Therefore, it is more common for children in families in which at least one parent is with secondary or college education to complete higher or the same level of education, whereas children from families in which both parents are with lower secondary or lower education quite rarely complete higher education than the one of their parents.

Persons in active working age (25 - 64 years of age) could seldom be found in schools or universities, and in the formal education system, compared to the younger population in typical school age (7 - 24 years). Only 2.4% of the elderly were visiting educational institutions - 2.6% were men and 2.1% were women.

The National Statistical Institute surveys further show that the participation rate of the population ages 25 - 64 in formal or non-formal education and training decreased considerably - from 36.4% in 2007 to 26.0% in 2011. There are a number of factors contributing to this decrease, but the most important are: overall economic crisis in the country and particularly the reduction of the number of employees, which are the main participants in education and learning. Among all participants in formal or non-formal education and training in 2011, 92.9% were employed, and in 2007 their share was 94.1%.

7.4% of those aged 25 - 64 have been searching for information on the possibilities for education and training. Women were more active in this respect compared to men - 8.7% and 6.1% respectively. 13.8% of the youngest age group (25-34 years) were interested in the possibility to improve his/her knowledge and skills. Despite the highest level of education achieved, every sixth respondent with college education (16.3%) was searching for information on additional education or learning. The situation for respondents with lower secondary or lower education was, however, quite different - only 1.6% of them were searching for possibilities to gain new knowledge and skills.

More than half of the population aged 25 - 64 years (51.1%) declared they had not read a book at all during the last 12 months. Women were more active book readers - 57.4%, compared to 40.4% for men. There are no considerable differences in the age of the readers. Only 8.8% of the people with low education have read a book, whereas amongst the persons with higher education the respective share is 87.8%. Reading is more frequent amongst the employed, compared to the unemployed - 55.6% and 31.9% respectively. Readers in urban areas were 55.5%, compared to residents of rural areas - 28.8 %.

The share of population reading newspapers was higher - 87.8%. 45.8% read newspapers daily; 30.7% at least once a week. 52.2% of men were reading newspapers every day, which is 12.7% more compared to women. 34.0% of women and 27.5% of men were reading newspapers at least once a week, but not every day. 38.6% of those with lower secondary or lower education did not read newspapers at all, whereas the same shares amongst the people with college or secondary education were 3.0% and 6.7% respectively.

Participation in social events is subjective and an estimate, based on the responses of the interviewed persons. It includes the given period of time spent on participation in such activities. 17.4% of the population aged 25 - 64 years have participated in at least one of the surveyed forms of social activities. 5.0% of the respondents have participated in activities organized by political parties or trade unions. Quite interestingly, rural residents were more active compared to the urban ones - 7.3% and 4.3% respectively. 3.2% of the population in active working age and predominantly self-employed have participated in activities organized by branch or professional organizations. 5.0% of the respondents have participated in events organized by churches, religious communities or associations with participants with lower secondary or lower education having the highest share. Participants in recreational and leisure activities organized by amateur groups, hobby groups and clubs of interest were 7.3%. Participants in activities organized by charity organizations were only 1.5% and in voluntary initiatives for assisting persons in need - 2.5%.

The lifelong learning (LLL) has proved as a key cause for achieving of the overall purpose of the European Union to be 'the most competitive and dynamic, based on knowledge, with stable economic growth economy in the world, offering better working places and better social cohesion'. Lifelong learning must be understood as way of thinking that stimulate each individual to become aware about his/her own necessity of gaining new knowledge, skills and competences. As a systematic process, it is predominantly directed towards the individual himself and his personal and professional development. Participation in LLL raises considerable consequences not only for the individual, who no matter his/her age and formal education completed has a possibility to realize his own potential, but for the employer also - as users of human resources.

The Adult Education Survey as type and contents was conducted for the second time in Bulgaria, after the pilot survey held in 2007. The Survey object covers broad range of topics, connected to the education and training of adults, like participation in different forms of LLL (formal, non-formal and informal), reasons for non-participation, access to information on possibilities for education and training, use of computers, language skills, participation in cultural and social events.

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Tags: education, lower, college, secondary, parents, NSI, Lifelong learning, book, newspapers, Adult Education Survey, social activities
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