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State Gazette, issue 2 /January 8th, 2021
The National Assembly approved the Strategy for Development of Higher Education in the Republic of Bulgaria for the period 2021 - 2030. The described context, goals and scope are based on an analysis of the implementation of the previous Strategy for Development of Higher Education in the Republic of Bulgaria 2014 - 2020: Accelerating dynamics on the labor market; Increasing the role of science and innovation for the development of a competitive economy and for solving social problems; Universal digitalization and development of educational systems that complement or are alternatives to classical higher education; Intensifying the global supply of educational services in higher education (European Higher Education Area); Population aging and changes in the age structure; Change in the role, goals and functions of higher education; Challenges arising from processes within the field of higher education in the Republic of Bulgaria; Lagging behind the trends in European higher education and weak internationalization of Bulgarian higher education; Quality and access to education in the conditions of massification of higher education and demographic crisis; Using the critical attitudes of society towards higher education as an incentive for its change; Lack of compliance with the needs of the digital generation and with the competencies necessary for successful implementation in the conditions of technological revolution; Insufficient support and insufficient development of research as an integral part of higher education; Difficulties in the selection, development and motivation of teachers; Challenges related to the management of higher education institutions; Need for effective, objective and fair accreditation; Incomplete involvement in the development of economic centers in the country.
In order to overcome the negative tendencies, leading principles in the preparation and implementation of the strategy, the priority areas and goals for its development, as well as the activities and measures for their achievement have been outlined. According to the attached table, it is clear that Bulgaria is not among the countries with the highest number of universities in terms of population, but the available ones are ineffective, as curricula are often outdated and not tied to the needs of the labor market. There is a lack of compliance with the needs of the digital generation and with the competencies necessary for successful implementation in the conditions of technological revolution. The strong traditions of the past in the development of higher education and the lag of the academic community in understanding that generations with completely different educational needs enter the higher education system from the existing ones, causes intellectual and technological confrontation between teachers and students, leading to professional dissatisfaction. the former and disappointment and withdrawal from the Bulgarian universities of the latter.
The Council of Ministers is responsible for the implementation of the new education strategy, and the line ministries, in coordination with the Ministry of Education and Science, carry out the activities for the development of higher education in the respective department. To support the activities of the state bodies for the implementation of the Strategy, a Public Council for Development of Higher Education in the Republic of Bulgaria will be established, which includes representatives of the Council of Rectors of Higher Education in the Republic of Bulgaria, the National Association of Municipalities, the Association of Bulgarian Employers’ Organizations. nationally represented trade unions and the academic community. The Council will have analytical functions regarding the development of higher education and the implementation of the Strategy, will monitor the successful implementation of the Strategy and its updating. The main function of the Council is to prepare periodic analytical reports to accompany the reports of the Ministry of Education and Science on the implementation of the Strategy. The Public Council also plays the role of a public analytical center on higher education issues, which organizes broad public discussions, expert discussions on specific current issues, analyzes and proposes solutions in the field of higher education. The National Assembly considers and adopts the reports of the Council of Ministers on the implementation of the Strategy and, if necessary, updates it. The relevant committee of the National Assembly considers the reports of the Council of Ministers on the implementation of the Strategy and the reports to them by the Public Council. In case of significant non-implementation of the strategy, the commission may propose to the Council of Ministers changes in the organization for implementation of the strategy, including in the composition of the responsible state bodies. Public control over the implementation of the activities under the strategy is exercised by the academic community, social partners, representatives of society and employers involved in the development of higher education in the Republic of Bulgaria.

State Gazette, issue 7 /January 26th, 2021
The Council of Ministers adopted Decree № 12 of 20.01. 2021 for the adoption of an Ordinance on the terms and conditions for ensuring the payment of tuition fees for students with contracts with an employer. The ordinance regulates: the conditions and the procedure for application and inclusion of employers in a list of employers who may conclude contracts under Art. 95a, para. 1 of the Higher Education Act; the conditions and the order for concluding, amending and terminating the contracts for providing an internship in the respective specialty of the student during his / her education and at the workplace after his / her successful completion; the conditions and the order for the provision of the information by the higher schools about the contracts; the conditions and the procedure for full or partial reimbursement of the funds from the state budget to the higher schools for financing the education of students with a concluded contract; the minimum period during which the employee should work for the employer after the successful completion of the training.
The Minister of Education and Science shall approve by an order a list of specialties for the training in which funds are provided from the state budget by the order of this ordinance. The list is approved by higher education institutions, forms of education and number of students for whom full or partial payment of tuition fees is provided. In case of partial payment of the training costs, the part that is paid with funds from the state budget shall also be indicated. The order for each of the specialties in the list also determines the ministers who submit proposals for inclusion of employers in the list, which is subject to updating annually until May 31 and publication on the website of the Ministry of Education and Science. The Council of Ministers, upon a proposal of the Minister of Education and Science, shall adopt a list of employers who have the right to conclude contracts under Art. 95a, para. 1 of the Public Health Act. Inclusion in the list is made at the request of the employer. The list may include employers who are registered in the territory of the Republic of Bulgaria, have an average number of staff in the last two years over 20 people and are proposed by the Minister in accordance with the ordinance.
Contract under Art. 95a, para. 1 of the Higher Education Act is concluded between a student and an employer, included in the lists under the ordinance. The contract is concluded in writing under the terms of free negotiation and must contain the forms, place and duration of the internship during the training, remuneration and the manner of its determination, the conditions for termination and the period during which the employee should work for the employer after successful completion of training. The terms of the contract may be amended only with the express written consent of the parties. The provisions of the contract and its amendments, which contradict the law and this ordinance, are null and void. The termination of the contract takes place in exhaustively stated hypotheses. After successful completion of his studies, the student should work for a period of not less than 5 years, with the employer under an employment contract, according to which the position and the nature of the work are in accordance with the completed education. The basic remuneration of the employee for the term may not be less than the higher amount of the average basic salary for the respective full-time position in the enterprise or of the average basic salary for full-time work in the enterprise.
There is a procedure both for compensation of the higher schools, which train students under such contracts, and for reimbursement of the funds to the state budget in case of non-fulfillment of an obligation under them. Upon termination due to culpable non-compliance, the defaulting party shall reimburse all funds for the maintenance of education, which have been paid to the higher school from the state budget under this ordinance, together with the legal interest from the moment of payment. Upon termination of the contract by mutual consent of the parties, the funds for maintenance of education, which are paid under this ordinance from the state budget of the university, are reimbursed by the student and the employer equally, together with the legal interest from the moment of payment. In case of refusal to reimburse the funds in favor of the state, the right arises to receive from the party that refused the reimbursement, all that has been paid from the state budget of the higher education institution, together with the legal interest from the moment of payment.