5. Arts and cultural education
Last update: March, 2020
The responsibility for arts education is shared between two ministries – the Ministry of Culture, which is responsible for specialised arts secondary schools, and the Ministry of Science and Education, which is responsible for the schools of general education and their programmes in different arts sectors, as well as for higher level arts education.
Two types of arts education programmes are offered in Bulgaria: comprehensive arts education, which covers arts courses from grades one to twelve in all schools, and specialised arts education. The main orientation of comprehensive arts education programmes throughout the past several decades was towards the classical forms of arts. A contemporary concept of education in the arts and culture may begin to include avant-garde arts, cultural heritage, design, culture of the urban environment, photography and audio-visual arts in the overall curriculum. To great extent, this concept has been enacted. There is an introductory course on contemporary art forms provided in the compulsory programmes of fine arts and music for grade eight and grade nine in the secondary general education schools.
Specialised arts education offers continuous training in the arts at high-school (grades eight to twelve) and university levels. Students from specialised arts schools and university students of music and fine arts are studying webdesign and computer technologies.
In 2019, the Ministry of Education and Science and the Ministry of Culture In 2019, the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Culture signed a cooperation agreement. This document gives the opportunity to the kindergartens and schools to organise visits to state cultural institutes in the country. On the other hand, the cultural institutes are obligated to develop and submit projects for educational programmes, performances, concerts and other performing arts. The aim is to increase the interest of children and students in the Bulgarian identity, traditions, history and contemporary forms in the field of theatre, music and dance.
Since 2015, all students in tenth grade in Bulgaria take a National External Assessment of the Digital Competences. The exam tests information technology and informatics skills. This exam also applies to students in art schools.
At the end of the 2019/2020 school year, two mandatory National External Assessments (Bulgarian language and literature, and mathematics) for all students in tenth grade will be conducted for the first time. These students will be the first to graduate with the new curriculum, which has been developed by the Ministry of Science and Education in the last couple of years. The exams will assess the knowledge and skills of the first high school stage. In line with the Law on Preschool and School Education (2017), the secondary education has been divided into two stages. In the second stage, students will be able to specialise in a variety of fields, including arts and culture.
Last update: March, 2020
In Bulgaria, special attention is paid to children who are gifted in the areas of science, art and sports. One-off financial aid, a total of three times the national minimum wage, is granted to children who come in first, second or third place during competitions, Olympiads or contests, in the area of arts, science and sports, at municipality, national or international level. Incentives for gifted children are also granted in the form of monthly scholarships, in the amount equal to 50% of the minimum salary in Bulgaria. This grant may be applied for by a child, a parent (or guardian), school director or social worker. Candidates are evaluated by expert commissions, and the funds for this programme are provided by the budget of the interested ministries for the relevant calendar year.
For 2018, the Ministry of Culture provided approximately 315 000 BGN for scholarships to gifted children.
According to the data of the Ministry of Culture, there are 23 secondary public schools for arts and culture in Bulgaria: ten of them are art schools that educate students in the professions of painter and designer; six are musical schools; and three are art schools. Bulgaria also has several specialised schools, such as the National School of Dance Art (Sofia), National High School of Ancient Languages and Cultures Constantine-Cyril Philosopher (Sofia), National Cultural Complex with Lyceum for studying Italian and Culture (Gorna Banya) and National High School of Polygraphy and Photography (Sofia). There is a concentration of art schools in the capital of Bulgaria.
Only two schools with a profile related to arts and culture are enrolled in the Bulgarian Association of Private Schools: Private School for Dance Arts Galina Sergeyevna Ulanova and Private School of Arts and Foreign Languages Artis.
In terms of the curriculum in the country, there are subjects that are mandatory in general education, which are grouped into eight cultural and educational fields, including subjects in arts. Compulsory school classes may not exceed 32 hours per week.
The curriculum in vocational trainings for the acquisition of professional qualification in arts was approved by an order of the Ministry of Culture and an order of the Ministry of Education in 2017.
Last update: March, 2020
Higher education in arts is offered by both public and private universities and colleges in Bulgaria. There are four specialised public universities in the field of arts education: Academy for Music, Dance and Fine Arts in Plovdiv, National Academy for Theatre and Film Arts Krastyo Sarafov in Sofia, National Music Academy Prof. Pancho Vladigerov in Sofia and National Arts Academy in Sofia. There are also private higher education institutions such as Theatre College Luben Groys in Sofia.
Several public and private universities offer courses in the field of culture and arts. For example, Sofia University St. Kliment Ohridski has undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in fine art, music and dance, for example. The New Bulgarian University (private) has a special department in theatre and cinema.
As a country involved in building a common European space for higher education, Bulgaria, from the very beginning of the Bologna Process, supports and fulfils all the decisions adopted at the strategic progress levels. The objectives of the Bologna Process, and the resolutions resulting from the Ministers' meetings in Prague, Berlin and Bergen, are incorporated into national legislation.
The autonomous high schools incorporate the directions of the European common policy in their organisation and in the substance of their activities (e.g. the stage structure and the bi-cycle educational model have been implemented). In addition, the functional structure of the systems for internal and external quality evaluation is established; effective schemes for students' and lecturers' mobility have been implemented; the common European instruments for the provision of free competitiveness and maximum utilisation of academic students' development has been adopted – i.e. the system for accumulation and transfer of credits and the European diploma supplement.
Cultural heritage programmes are not concentrated in specialised higher education cultural institutions. Those courses are taught in both public and private universities and colleges. There are programmes that focus on cultural heritage from different perspectives – historical, management, social, tourism and others. This happens in the framework of undergraduate and master's programmes such as History and Cultural Heritage, Cultural and Historical Heritage (Cultural Tourism) and Management and Socialisation of Cultural Heritage.
The higher education in Bulgaria covers both arts-oriented programmes and others related to arts management, financial aspects, producing, cultural tourism and more.
Last update: March, 2020
There are no official data on how many people in Bulgaria visit trainings and out-of-school arts and cultural education programs.
During the Fifth Seminar on Extracurricular and Out-of-school Activities for Sustainable and Quality Education, Upbringing and Development of Children and Students in 2018, held under the patronage of the Ministry of Education and Science, data on out-of-school activities was presented. According to this data, there are 126 public out-of-school units in Bulgaria. They cover 65 000 children and students in out-of-school forms of education. The financing of these activities is determined annually by a decision of the Council of Ministers.
The national programme Ensuring Contemporary Educational Environment has as one of its goals to stimulate practical training in a real work environment and in accordance with modern new technologies. BGN 100,000 (EUR 51 116) of its total budget (BGN 9,230,000 / EUR 4 718 020) is dedicated to activities under the Museums as an Educational Environment Module. The idea is to enable students to spend part of their educational training in a museum, acquiring new knowledge in a different and attractive way. Beneficiaries of the programme are state and municipal schools, as well as the National Museum of Education - Gabrovo. The maximum amount for financial support of a school project is BGN 2,500 (EUR 1 277). The funds can be used as entrance tickets, class fees, virtual tours and video lessons, for materials offered by the museums for activities during the lessons (not included in the entrance tickets), as well as transport to the museum.
In 2020, the average gross salary of teachers will increase by 20%, with similar increases made in the previous two years. Due to the low payment in the sector, many teachers were forced to work privately before these changes. It is common practice for students to have private lessons to prepare themselves for the next stage of their education, such as when they apply to study in high school or university. The percentage of public school teachers giving private lessons is high, but there are no official data.
There are no official statistics for out-of-school lessons because it is not regulated. The interpretation of the concept of “private lessons” is unclear as there is no definition of it in the VAT Act.
Last update: March, 2020
There is an Ordinance on State Requirements for the Acquisition of Professional Qualification “Teacher”, adopted in 2016 and entered into force for the 2017/2018 school year. The document defines that vocational and professional qualification "teacher" is acquired after completion of higher education in pedagogical specialty. Higher education institutions eligible to offer such programmes have received accreditation in the professional field of the Pedagogical Sciences field or in a professional field corresponding to a school subject according to the classifier of the fields of higher education and vocational direction. Part of the curriculum includes teaching methods in specialised subjects, including fine arts and music. The graduates of a pedagogical programme at an Bulgarian university can be employed as teachers in all stages of elementary, primary and secondary education. The only professional qualifications in the cultural field are as a music teacher and a teacher of fine arts.