If Bulgaria's PM Borisov Goes Crazy, Who's Gonna Treat Him?

Editorial |Author: Ognian Kassabov | May 17, 2011, Tuesday // 13:47|  views

The title question is not a mere show of poor taste: it addresses a burning problem for Bulgaria - the massive outflow of young doctors who find it much more promising to start their careers elsewhere in the EU.

In that light, the confused statements by Bulgaria's PM Boyko Borisov Tuesday at a Sofia forum dedicated to innovations should raise the alarm.

"Bulgarian taxpayers have been giving lots to fund education, which is an expensive enterprise. We must take measures to make graduates stay an pay back by working for their country," said the Bulgarian PM, referring specifically to the brain-drain in medicine.

That might well be OK, if it meant that the state would give even more to ensure a profitable start of career for young physicians, who now have to pay themselves for the several years of specialization work required to acquire full capacity after graduation, in the meanwhile working for minimum wages.

Bulgarian politicians need to understand once and for all that funding education - an enterprise for which taxpayers have not given all that much, given recent massive spending cuts - is actually a strategic investment for the economy and well-being for all Bulgarians.

As things stand, Borisov's words come as the latest blow to the notion that funding education is a public good and, what is more, it vilifies precisely the young victims of a chronic neglect of the field by making them debtors to society.

One might wonder then at the proposals both PM Borisov and Education Minister Sergey Ignatov to lighten the regime of acceptance of foreign students as a measure to boost funding for education. To anyone acquainted with the situation, it is clear that in the overall case foreign (non-EU) students arrive in Bulgaria just to get a cheap diploma and thus adversely affect the level of studies offered by local universities.

While we are wasting time deciphering the latest pronouncements of Bulgaria's PM and the intentions that may lie behind them, new batches of fresh medical school graduates are flocking at Sofia Airport.

If things go on that way, in several decades the life of the average Bulgarian will verily be, as Thomas Hobbes once said, "nasty, brutish and short."

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Tags: medicine, spending cuts, innovations, doctors, medical students, universities, education, healthcare, Sergey Ignatov, Boyko Borisov, EU


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