Bulgarian Education Ministry with Major Overhaul to Counter Illiteracy

Education | July 18, 2011, Monday // 13:37|  views

Bulgaria's Education Minister, Sergey Ignatov, is making an attempt to change the tradition of rote memorization, which is still wide-spread in Bulgarian schools. Photo by BGNES

About eighty thousand Bulgarians cannot read or write, according to Education Minister, Sergey Ignatov.

Ignatov based his statement on data of wide-spread illiteracy in the country, published by the National Statistics Institute, NSI.

The Minister announced the launch of the "New Chance for Success" project to educate illiterate people and those with poor reading and writing skills. The project is financed by the EU operational program "Development of Human Resources," and will involve 10 500 people with 8 000 receiving certificates by the end of the course.

600 school hours in the span of 5 months will be provided for those in need of elementary education and 360 hours in the course of 3 months for middle school education.

The value of the project is estimated at BGN 10 M.

Meanwhile, the Education Ministry is beginning mass training of teachers – over half of the country's educators will undergo a course in teaching thinking skills instead of rote memorization – the latter widely used in Bulgarian schools since the arrival of the Communist regime and continuing today as well.

The study titled "Teaching Reading in Europe: Contexts, Policies and Practices," which was published by the European Commission last week, ranked Bulgaria last by reading literacy with 41% of 15-year-old Bulgarian students having difficulties with reading.

The next such study will be for math skills and the Ministry is planning checks of math classes and training of math teachers.

There are also plans for all day schooling from 1st to 7th grade, which is now mandatory for 1sr grade and will include second graders in the fall with the opening of the new school year. An additional BGN 28 M have been slated for it.

The additional classes will be in line with the age of the students and their interests and will be electives only.

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Tags: study, European Commission, Bulgaria, Romania, reading, difficulties, poor readers, Teaching Reading in Europe: Contexts, Policies and Practices, europe, Androulla Vassiliou, Commissioner for Education, culture, Multilingualism and Youth, thinking skills, schools, rote memorization, Sergey Ignatov, Education Minister, illiteracy, Education ministry, New Chance for Success, math


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