Bulgaria

Bulgaria is a country in Southeastern Europe. The objective of higher education in Bulgaria is to train specialists of high qualifications above the secondary school level and to develop science and culture. Currently the tertiary education system includes 51 higher schools which under the Higher Education Act are state owned and private, including universities, specialized higher schools and self-contained colleges. There are 37 public (25 universities, 11 specialized higher schools and 1 self-contained college) and 14 private higher schools (5 universities, 2 specialized higher schools and 7 self-contained colleges). The academic year is divided into two semesters and typically includes 32 academic weeks. The exact date of the academic year beginning and end is set by the respective higher school. The management of the system is implemented at state/public administration level and at institutional level. The state is responsible for elaboration and implementation of long-term national policy and establishment of an environment guaranteeing academic autonomy of the higher schools, quality of training, and scientific research. The higher schools management is implemented in accordance with their right of academic self-governance. The state assists to the process through resource allocation on a competitive basis.

RegionSouthern Europe
CapitalSofia
LanguageBulgarian
Population7,000,039
Expenditure on higher education2,3 %
Unemployment4,6 %
EuroUniversities in top 1001
EuroUniversities in top 2502
EuroUniversities in top 5004
EuroUniversities in top 100012
Students248,249
Foreigner students4 %
Enrollment rate in higher education72 %

European Country Ranking
South-European Country Ranking
YearOverallResearch EmploymentInnovationInternationalizationInfrastructureEducational potential
202078,516,113,715,1811,8611,510,16
201974,5313,613,812,413,0511,510,18
201876,5413,513,615,1812,2711,510,49
201773,8113,811,615,8613,459,110
201674,2413,914,115,5711,579,110
201581,4718,2414,115,9713,339,949,89
Statistics of the higher education

The main document in this area is the Higher Education Act (since 1995). Other important documents are:

  • Academic Staff Development Act (since 2010);
  • Granting Loans to Student and Doctoral Candidate Loans Act (since 2008);
  • Ordinance on the state requirements for the admission of students in the Bulgarian higher schools;
  • Ordinance on the state requirements for acquisition of higher education at Bachelor, Master and “Specialist in..” educational and qualification degree;
  • Ordinance on the state requirements for recognition of the acquired educational degree and completed certain periods of studies in foreign higher schools;
  • Ordinances on the state requirements for the contents of all principal documents issued by higher schools and attached European diploma appendix under the model developed by the European Commission, Council of Europe and UNESCO- European Centre for Higher Education (CEPES);
  • Ordinances on applying of a system for accumulation and transfer credit points within higher schools (since 2004), which introduces the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS);
  • Rules on the state requirements for the organization of distance learning form at higher schools (since 2004).

As a result of the active participation in the Bologna process the following key characteristics have been introduced in Bulgaria:

  • 3-degree higher education system:
  1. Bachelor – comprises two levels – “professional bachelor in ….” (ISCED 5B) and “bachelor” (ISCED 5A);
  2. Master (ISCED 5A);
  3. Doctor (ISCED 6);
  • A credit accumulation and transfer system;
  • European diploma supplement.

Bulgaria is actively working on building up appropriate environment for modernizing the higher education system, taking into account the demands of society and the businesses. Good practices are examined and disseminated. Possibilities for introduction of new managerial models have been investigated targeted to better financial consolidation/strengthening of higher education institutions.

Priority areas for intervention are as follows:

Elaboration and application of a new funding model which stimulates competition and the development of higher education institutions: The new model aims at increasing the total size of public funds spent on higher education, including the state subsidy. This funding model should lead to competition between higher schools not only in the process of attracting students, but when determining tuition fees and enrolment conditions;

Ensuring efficient and transparent management: Higher schools in Bulgaria are public institutions enjoying academic autonomy. The necessity for strengthening the autonomy in the financial area is recognized and so is the need for establishment of additional mechanisms for publicity and transparency of management. To this end a Board of Trustees shall be established within each public higher school, under Article 35a of the Higher Education Act. The Board consists of seven members who are donors to the higher school (personalities of active public stance, representatives of employers, professional, sectoral and trade union organizations, representatives of the Student Council and of the Minister of Education, Youth and Science);

Ensuring a reliable system of quality assurance: Its objective is endorsement of efficient quality criteria for external evaluation and accreditation, including post-accreditation monitoring and control, as well as efficient criteria used by the quality assurance systems at institutional level. Currently the criteria for external evaluation and accreditation are endorsed by the National Agency for Evaluation and Accreditation which is also responsible for post-accreditation monitoring and control. The internal evaluation of the quality of education is ensured by internal systems for evaluation and maintenance of the quality of education and of the academic staff. The Ministry of Education, Youth and Science exercises indirect control (monitoring formal parameters – procedures, number of students, teacher/students ratio etc.);

Development of higher schools as scientific research centers. The focus here should be on the establishment of research infrastructure, ensuring state support for participation in major international projects, encouragement the participation of scientists from different institutions in joint projects. Another essential moment is the increase in expenditures for scientific research and concentration of resources in government priority areas.

Bachelor

Branches of Study

The normal length of a Bachelor programme is four years in accordance with the curriculum and requires acquisition of at least 240 ECTS. Bachelor programmes are offered by universities and specialized higher schools in all fields of study. The instruction for the bachelor’s degree in accordance with the curriculum provideс comprehensive training or specialised professional training in professional areas and specialties.

Admission Requirements

In order for students to be admitted to a bachelor programme they must have succesffully completed secondary education and state matriculation examinations.

Higher schools may hold a general entrance examination or recognise the results of the entrance examination given at another higher school. With a decision of the Academic Board, higher schools may admit applicants without any entrance examination provided that the applicants have successfully passed the state matriculation exams under the Level of Education, General Education Minimum and Curriculum Act.

Applicants who have successfully partaken in the admission competition to a higher school shall be admitted under easier terms and conditions as established in the higher school’s Rulebook in any of the following cases:

  • applicants who scored equally;
  • disabled persons with long-term disabilities and reduction of the ability to work by 70 percent or more;
  • disabled war veterans;
  • orphans;
  • mothers of three or more children;
  • twins where both have concurrently applied to the same higher school and for the same professional area and one of them has been admitted.

Applicants who are winners at national or international competitions completing their secondary education in the year of the competition and medal winners at Olympic, worlds and European championships shall be admitted without any entrance examination and beyond the annual number of students to be admitted under the Decision of the Council of Ministers where the entrance examination for the specialty they apply for corresponds to the subject-matter of the competition or championship.

At the proposal of the Minister of Physical Education and Sports and following a decision of the academic council with the higher school medal holders from Olympic, World and European Championships may be admitted without entrance examination beyond the established under the Decision of the Council of Ministers annual number of admitted students.

Higher schools announce the admission terms and conditions before the 31st of March of each year.

Curriculum

Under the provisions of the Higher Education Act Higher schools in Bulgaria enjoy academic autonomy which includes academic freedom, academic self-government and inviolability of the territory of the higher schools. Besides other characteristics the academic self-government finds expression in independent choice of faculty, admission requirements and forms of training students and postgraduates. Overall state requirements are set for acquisition of the different degrees – Professional Bachelor in…, Bachelor and Master. There are also state requirements set for certain regulated professions (Health Care for example).

The subjects are taught in Bulgarian but there are certain programmes taught in foreign languages, mainly English, French and German.

Teaching Methods

The forms of higher-school instruction are full-time, part-time, evening attendance and correspondence (distance) courses. Organizational matters are subject of the Academic autonomy and shall be treated in higher school’s Rules of Operation (Rulebook) in compliance with the Law. Teachers are supposed to use their own teaching methods in accordance with the certain discipline/module.

Usually the organisation forms vary from formal lectures for the entire course and practical exercises for smaller groups to seminars, self-preparation (at laboratories, libraries, through papers, homework, and others), projects work; etc. Typically the teaching is structured in disciplines and/or modules and different materials such as books, audio-visual and other assistant materials are used. The new technologies in class (such as computer-assisted teaching, e-learning, etc.) are increasingly being used.

Progression of Students

This field is subject of the Academic autonomy and shall be treated in higher school’s Rules of Operation (Rulebook) in compliance with the Law.

Employability

There are student on-spot internships and practices implemented in the curricula of certain specialties.

Student internships and practices are also organized and conducted under projects funded by the Operational program “Human Resource Development” of the European Social Fund.

Centers for Career Development have been established in 47 out of 51 higher schools. In process of establishment are centers for career development in two higher schools. An information system to support the professional orientation of students was established in one of the Academies without Centers for Career Development. These centers provide information on available job positions; register students and alumni in order to find suitable positions for training and work practices; organize company presentations to students for educational practices on spot and job positions, etc.

Student Assessment

The basic form of knowledge assessment at higher schools is the written examination, unless the specific features of the subject and/or module require otherwise. The written materials from the checking of the knowledge and skills shall be stored for at least a year after the conduct of the assessment. Students’ knowledge and skills shall be graded on the basis of a six-grade system comprising of: Excellent (6.00), Very Good (5.00), Good (4.00), Fair (3.00) and Poor (2.00). Any higher school shall have the right to introduce through its Rules of Operations different grading system whereas it shall be required to ensure comparability with the above mentioned grades The grade of at least Fair (3.00) is required for an examination to be successfully passed.

The course of studies shall be completed with a final state examination or defence of a diploma thesis. The state examination or the diploma thesis defence shall be conducted pursuant to the state diploma-granting requirements before a state board of examiners made up of habilitated persons having academic rank.

Higher schools provide a Credit transfer and accumulation system for grading the knowledge and skills acquired by the students in the course of studies. The system is based on 60 credit points per academic year or 30 credit points per semester, allocated by subjects and/or modules in accordance with the curriculum of the specialty and the educational and qualification degree, or another number of credit points compatible with this system. The objective of the system is to provide students with an opportunity to choose subjects, self-preparation and mobility on the basis of mutual recognition of certain periods of studies, which correspond to elements of the curriculum of the speciality and the educational and qualification degree. Credit points shall represent the grading of the obligations which students have to fulfill in a certain subject or module as part of the overall obligations required for the successful completion of an academic year or semester. Credit points in each specialty shall consist of the total number of lectures, practical exercises and seminars, self-preparation (at laboratories, libraries, through papers, homework, and others), examinations passed and other forms of grading as established by the higher school. Credit points may also be awarded for participation in practical courses or course or diploma papers, where these activities constitute elements of the curriculum. The credit points under shall be awarded to students who have successfully completed the respective subject and/or module through an examination or another form of grading.

Certification

Higher schools shall issue the following documents for education and training:

1. Diploma degree in higher education “professional bachelor in …”,” bachelor ” or ” master” and annexes thereto;

2. European Diploma Supplement;

3. Certificate of qualification;

4. Certificate recognized specialty in the health care system for post-graduate education;

5. Certificate of successful completion of preparatory course for professional and language training in Bulgarian for foreigners – undergraduate and graduate students;

6. Certificate of professional qualification;

7. Certificate of professional teaching specialization;

8. Certificate for additional training or specialization.

The higher schools alone determine layout and arrange printing of the documents.

Second Cycle Programmes

Branches of Study

Instruction at the second level, up to the master’s degree, provides profound fundamental training in combination with specialization in a particular major. The completion of  the following requirements is needed for the acquisition of Master’s educational and qualification degree:

  • at least 300 credits in accordance with the curriculum with a minimum length of studies of five years;
  • at least 120 credits after the acquisition of a professional bachelor’s educational and qualification degree;
  • at least 60 credits after the acquisition of a bachelor’s educational and qualification degree.

Admission Requirements

People who have completed secondary education that gives them access to edudcation in higher schools (e.g. who have successfully passed the state matriculation exams) or who have acquired a “Professional Bachelor in…” or a Bachelor degree are eligible to apply for a Master degree programs.

For training for acquiring a Master degree shall admit persons who have completed secondary education, giving them access to education in high schools, e. g. who have successfully passed the state matriculation exams or persons who have acquired Professional Bachelor in… or a Bachelor degree.

Applicants who have successfully partaken in the admission competition to a higher school shall be admitted under easier terms and conditions as established in the higher school’s Rulebook in any of the following cases:

  • applicants who scored equally;
  • disabled persons with long-term disabilities and reduction of the ability to work by 70 percent or more;
  • disabled war veterans;
  • orphans;
  • mothers of three or more children;
  • twins where both have concurrently applied to the same higher school and for the same professional area and one of them has been admitted.

Applicants who are winners at national or international competitions completing their secondary education in the year of the competition and medal winners at Olympic, worlds and European championships shall be admitted without any entrance examination and beyond the annual number of students to be admitted under the Decision of the Council of Ministers where the entrance examination for the specialty they apply for corresponds to the subject-matter of the competition or championship.

At the proposal of the Minister of Physical Education and Sports and following a decision of the academic council with the higher school medal holders from Olympic, World and European Championships may be admitted without entrance examination beyond the established under the Decision of the Council of Ministers annual number of admitted students.

Higher schools shall announce the admission terms and conditions before the 31st of March of each year.

Curriculum

Under the provisions of the Higher Education Act Higher schools in Bulgaria shall enjoy academic autonomy which shall include academic freedoms, academic self-government and inviolability of the territory of the higher schools. Besides the other characteristics the academic self-government shall express in independent choice of faculty, admission requirements and forms of training students and postgraduates.

Overall state requirements are set for acquisition of the different degrees – Professional Bachelor in…, Bachelor and Master. There are also state requirements set for certain regulated professions which are mainly with five to six-years length of study and required acquisition of minimum 300 credits (Medicine, Dental Medicine, Pharmacy, Veterinary Medicine, Architecture, Law).

The subjects are taught in Bulgarian but there are certain programmes taught in foreign languages, mainly English, French and German.

Teaching Methods

The forms of higher-school instruction are full-time, part-time, evening attendance and correspondence (distance) courses. The organisation matters are subject to the Academic autonomy and shall be treated in higher school’s Rules of Operation (Rulebook) in compliance with the Law. Teachers are supposed to use their own teaching methods in accordance with the certain discipline/module.

Usually the organisation forms vary from formal lectures for the entire course and practical exercises for smaller groups to seminars, self-preparation (at laboratories, libraries, through papers, homework, and others), projects work; etc. Typically the teaching is structured in disciplines and/or modules and different materials such as books, audio-visual and other assistant materials are used. The new technologies in class (such as computer-assisted teaching, e-learning, etc.) are increasingly used.

Progression of Students

This field is subject of the Academic autonomy and shall be treated in higher school’s Rules of Operation (Rulebook) in compliance with the Law.

Employability

There are student on-spot internships and practices implemented in the curricula of certain specialties.

Student internships and practices are also organized and conducted under projects funded by the Operational program “Human Resource Development” of the European Social Fund.

Centers for Career Development have been established in 47 out of 51 higher schools. In process of establishment are centers for career development in two higher schools. An information system to support the professional orientation of students was established in one of the Academies without Centers for Career Development. These centers provide information on available job positions; register students and alumni in order to find suitable positions for training and work practices; organize company presentations to students for educational practices on spot and job positions, etc.

Student Assessment

The basic form of knowledge assessment at higher schools is the written examination, unless the specific features of the subject and/or module require otherwise. The written materials from the checking of the knowledge and skills shall be stored for at least a year after the conduct of the assessment. Students’ knowledge and skills shall be graded on the basis of a six-grade system comprising of: Excellent (6.00), Very Good (5.00), Good (4.00), Fair (3.00) and Poor (2.00). Any higher school shall have the right to introduce through its Rules of Operations different grading system whereas it shall be required to ensure comparability with the above mentioned grades The grade of at least Fair (3.00) is required for an examination to be successfully passed.

The course of studies shall be completed with a final state examination or defence of a diploma thesis. The state examination or the diploma thesis defence shall be conducted pursuant to the state diploma-granting requirements before a state board of examiners made up of habilitated persons having academic rank.

Higher schools shall provide a Credit transfer and accumulation system for grading the knowledge and skills acquired by the students in the course of studies. The system shall be based on 60 credit points per academic year or 30 credit points per semester, allocated by subjects and/or modules in accordance with the curriculum of the specialty and the educational and qualification degree, or another number of credit points compatible with this system. The objective of the system is to provide students with an opportunity to choose subjects, self-preparation and mobility on the basis of mutual recognition of certain periods of studies, which correspond to elements of the curriculum of the speciality and the educational and qualification degree. Credit points shall represent the grading of the obligations which students have to fulfill in a certain subject or module as part of the overall obligations required for the successful completion of an academic year or semester. Credit points in each specialty shall consist of the total number of lectures, practical exercises and seminars, self-preparation (at laboratories, libraries, through papers, homework, and others), examinations passed and other forms of grading as established by the higher school. Credit points may also be awarded for participation in practical courses or course or diploma papers, where these activities constitute elements of the curriculum. The credit points under shall be awarded to students who have successfully completed the respective subject and/or module through an examination or another form of grading.

Certification

Higher schools shall issue the following documents for education and training:

  • Diploma degree in higher education “professional bachelor in …”,” bachelor ” or ” master” and annexes thereto;
  • European Diploma Supplement;
  • Certificate of qualification;
  • Certificate recognized specialty in the health care system for post-graduate education;
  • Certificate of successful completion of preparatory course for professional and language training in Bulgarian for foreigners – undergraduate and graduate students;
  • Certificate of professional qualification;
  • Certificate of professional teaching specialization;
  • Certificate for additional training or specialization.

The higher schools alone determine layout and arrange printing of the documents.

Third Cycle (PhD) Programmes

Organisation of Doctoral Studies

Doctoral Studies are offered in all fields of science and can be performed by universities, specialized higher schools or research organizations accredited for the certain program. There are full-time, part-time and independent doctoral programmes. Full-time study and independent study have a duration of up to 3 years; part-time study and distance learning  have a duration of up to 4 years. In exceptional circumstances which are regulated in the statutes of the relevant institution of higher education or academic organisation, the duration can be extended, but by no more than a year. There is no differentiation in the length of study between different branches and no specific distinctions in the structure exist

Admission Requirements

Full-time and part-time doctoral students are admitted on the basis of a competition. Applicants for independent doctoral study propose for discussion to the relevant department or institute a plan of the dissertation which is developed in its main part, as well as a bibliography. Successful applicants are admitted on the basis of a decision of the faculty council or the academic council of the institution of higher education or the academic organisation. PhD students’ training is based on a curriculum.

Status of Doctoral Students

The Doctoral Students/Candidates are legally considered as students. Under the provisions of Higher Education Act a doctoral student is any holder of a master’s degree in preparation for earning a doctorate. The healthcare taxes for the PhD students are covered by the State.

Supervision Arrangements

The supervising of PhD students is exercised by professors or associated professors from the institution. Universities and research organizations can contract for conducting joint doctoral programs with foreign universities and research organizations and in such case a co-tutoring by supervisors from different institutions is exercised.

Employability

This field is subject to the Academic autonomy and is treated in higher school’s Rules of Operation (Rulebook) in compliance with the Law.

There are certain examples of the training of PhD students on demand from the business, e. g. employees of a specific company or successful students who have shown good results in the course of study and are perspective for the employers.

Assessment

The instruction of doctoral students is based on a curriculum abided by the terms and conditions of the Higher Education Act , the Academic Staff Development Act and the Rulebook of the relevant institution. A PhD degree can be acquired by a holder of Master degree after a successful defense of a dissertation. The dissertation work must contain scientific or applied science results, which represent an original contribution to science. The dissertation work must show that the applicant has in-depth theoretical knowledge in the specialization and ability for independent research.

Certification

Third Cycle (PhD) degrees are certified with a certificate (diploma) issued by the relevant higher school or research organisation in a unified form approved by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Science. The certificate (diploma) is issued in Bulgarian; an appendix in English shall be issued upon request.

Organizational Variation

If there are any differences in the provision of alternative structures of education, (e.g. admission requirements, progression of students from one year to the next, certification or qualifications), the author should divide this section into different sub-sections. Third Cycle (PhD) organisation forms can be in the form of full-time study, part-time study, independent study or distance learning. Full-time study and independent study have duration of up to 3 years; part-time study and distance learning have duration of up to 4 years. In exceptional circumstances which are regulated in the statutes of the relevant institution, the duration can be extended, but by no more than a year.

Mobility in Higher Education

Student Mobility

The Erasmus sectoral programme is the main source of funding for student mobility in the country. 47 HEIs are working within the programme. Mobility is also carried out through short-term or long-term programmes for bilateral and multilateral cooperation at either national or institutional level.

There are two types of international mobility:

  • training – it focuses on academic training for a period of 1 to 2 semesters in a higher education institution in a EU-member country;
  • internships – it focuses on practical training at a European company for a period of 3 to 12 months.

Responsibility for the proper execution of a mobility program is shared between the sending organization (higher education institutions) and the hosting organization (higher education institution or a company).

Programmes for learning mobility are recognized in accordance with the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS). Internship mobility is a relatively new activity and the process of recognition depends on the hosting organization and whether it is allowed to issue certificates that are recognized on the labor market.

There are programmes which are not specifically directed towards students, but also offer mobility opportunities for them. Some of them are:

  • “Youth in Action” programme – it stimulates mobility inside and outside the EU, non-formal education and intercultural dialogue and encourages inclusion of young people, regardless of their educational, social or cultural background;
  • Cooperation with industrialized countries – joint mobility projects with countries from North America and the Asian-Pacific region. They are managed at a centralized level;
  • “Culture” programme – mobility for people working in the area of culture;
  • “Media” programme – mobility for people working in the audiovisual industry;

The main institutions responsible for the organization and coordination of mobility programme are the Human Resources Development Center (HRDC), National Center “European Youth Programmes and Initiatives”, higher education schools (including scientific organizations) and the Ministry of Education and Science. In accordance with the rules set out in Article 8, Paragraph 1, Point 7 of the Higher Education Act, it is the state that defines the conditions for official recognition of diplomas issued by Bulgarian and foreign higher education institutions. After the amendments to the law of August 2011 (Article 21, Paragraph 1, Point 13) the academic sovereignty of HEIs also includes the right to recognize foreign diplomas or periods of times spent studying abroad for the purposes of continuing education in a particular HEI.



According to Article 6 of ORDINANCE on the State Requirements for Recognition of University Education Acquired in Foreign Institutions of Higher Learning, and of Periods of Studies Completed at Such Establishments, “the recognition of a university education acquired in foreign institutions of higher learning shall have the following objectives”:

  • To facilitate the access to further education in the university education system, to higher vocational training, and to the acquisition of a PhD;
  • To enable the use of a scientific title;
  • To facilitate the access to the labour market.

In the first two cases, the procedure for recognition of a foreign degree is organized by the HEI. In the third case it is organized by the Minister of Education and Science through the National Center for Information and Documentation. The procedure is carried out under conditions and order, defined by the Center and the respective HEI.

Academic Staff Mobility

All universities in Bulgaria are able to organize training through mobility program Erasmus + for students and academic staff.  They offer information about participation in the mobility by their websites aimed at all learners. 



Centre for Development of Human Resources is a National Agency of Bulgaria in the administration of the program “Erasmus +” for 2014-2020. By order № RD 09-71/17.01.2014 the Minister of Education and Science has established the CHRD National Agency to the program “Erasmus +”. HRDC receive accreditation by the European Commission as the sole national agency under the “Erasmus +” program.  The Centre manages the whole program “Erasmus +” of 22.07.2014 year. HRDC have a central website which provide information about all mobility schemes for national and international students, academic and administrative staff, for teachers and pupils, for adult education and youth. The website is linked to Bologna website and provides information on the EHEA, with links to other national systems and international programmes.  

The information campaign, training seminars for beneficiaries who got financing are planned as required by the EC. They are planned against call for application in various key activities and sectors. Informational materials are easily accessible and interactive, which facilitates obtaining information about the “Erasmus +” Program by Bulgarian citizens. Dissemination results are well set out, as provided for during the whole year and that allows attracting new potential beneficiaries from all sectors.

In implementation of the annual work program for 2015, the team of the National Agency has conducted numerous trainings with current and potential beneficiaries of the program: 

  • Conduct periodically information campaigns and  training seminars for beneficiaries;
  • Conduct Call for application in various key activities and sectors of the “Erasmus +”;
  • Provide regularly information materials by email to applicants and beneficiaries; 
  • Organizes thematic seminars and conferences with the aim of achieving the objectives of the program; 
  • Placed regularly posts information on its website;
  • Actively provides media messages.

By Decision № 18 of 16.01.2014 of Council of Ministers the Ministry of Education and Science has designated for National Authority under Article 27 and from Council Regulation № 12 88 2013 EU establishing the “Erasmus +” (2014-2020). By Ordinance RD 09 № 351/ 24.03.2015 г. to the Minister of Education and Science has created “Council to monitor on a program “Erasmus +”. Each year, the Council on 31 October must communicate to the European Commission information on the activities of the program monitoring and tracking of realizing, quality and impact of the implementation of educational projects. The procedure is an integral part of the cycle of administration of the program “Erasmus +”. Also with a Minister monitoring activities at National level, can be carried out by Inspectorate and Internal Audit Unit of the Ministry of Education and Science and if necessary from other appointed persons by the Ministry.

The Council for monitoring carried out monitoring activities and supervise the management of the program “Erasmus +” at national level, as follows:

  • Monitor  the implementation of the work program of the National Agency;
  • Propose further actions;
  • Propose measures for the implementation of the program, with the participation of stakeholders;
  • Monitor providing overall coherence and complementarily of the program”Erasmus +” with national policies and programs;
  • Work in cooperation with the NA for the adaption of the strategic framework for implementation of the program covering the whole programming period 2014-2020;
  • Confirm the extent possible, that the information, provided by NA is reliable and sufficient;
  • Carry out a review of the Annual Activity Report of the NA.

The measures which are taken in order to raise the number of students and staff going for education or teaching abroad can be summarized, as follows:

  • Dissemination of information about the opportunities which Erasmus offer – In order the information about the Erasmus programme activities to reach a wider number of potential participants, who can be attracted as real beneficiaries, HRDC organizes informational campaign by implementing the following measures and activities in close cooperation with the Erasmus Higher education institutions;
  • Preparation, elaboration and distribution of information materials;
  • Organization of information events;
  • Elaboration and maintenance of up-to-date information about the programme on the website of HRDC, as well as on the Erasmus HEIs websites;
  • Encouragement of HEIs, participating in the Erasmus programme, as well as other organizations working in the field of higher education in Bulgaria (students organizations, employers, municipalities, NGOs, etc.) to organize local and institutional information campaigns;
  • Participation and active contribution by all national and international partners in the organization of information and dissemination events, devoted to academic mobility and multilateral cooperation in the framework of the Erasmus programme;
  • Implementation of a system for distribution of grants to the Erasmus universities based on the previous performance: number of students and staff funded to take part in mobility, number of incoming students and teachers, geographical and subjects areas coverage, etc.. This system allows the HEIs, which perform better in the field of mobility, to be rewarded for their achievements. The HEIs are also encouraged to seek for and to use supplementary funding for increasing the number of students or the level of funding; 
  • Organization of training for the persons responsible for Erasmus programme in the respective universities. These trainings aim at improving the programme’s management and, respectively – covering better the programme’s objectives;
  • Continuous support for all the HEIs participating in the Erasmus programme in order to achieve better use of funds and thus to increase the level of the monthly grants. In this way the NA seeks to minimize the financial obstacles for mobility, as well as to make the programme more attractive;
  • Assistance for the students interested in participation in the Erasmus programme;
  • Organization of dissemination and valorization activities – The Erasmus students are usually invited to share their experience and benefits gained from the Erasmus period in the host countries;
  • Monitoring and control on how the Erasmus universities respect their obligation assumed in the Erasmus University Charter to facilitate and support students and teachers mobility.

The universities are obliged through the Erasmus University Charter and through the contracts they sign in order to receive Erasmus funding to give full recognition for the study period spent abroad by the students. In spite of that there are still some problems concerning academic recognition. The recognition is up to the particular HEIs and it depends on various factors: student’s performance, documents issued by the host university, etc.

Unfortunately, the big differences in the curricula and the fixed studying programs in some cases has made the full academic recognition a really hard task, but good progress is being made. Higher Education Institutions support their students and staff to find out appropriate accommodation in host country. On the other hand, the HEIs provide accommodation for incoming students and staff. Our observations show that the incoming students and staff are satisfied with the support provided by the Bulgarian host universities.

In the implementing the Strategy for development of higher education are conducted the following activities related to increasing mobility of students, teachers and researchers:

  • To promote academic mobility are organized periodic meetings for coordinators of universities;
  • Been developed a special program for promoting academic mobility;
  • To stimulate the  mobility of teachers within the European Union are being developed common training programs and conducting of joint research activity;
  • To provide a favorable conditions for expansion of the mobility of Bulgarian teachers in third countries;
  • Promote the mobility of students from third countries;
  • Carrying out of activities to attract Higher Educational Institutions in the activities of strategic partnerships under program “Erasmus +”;
  • Encouragement of academic exchanges within international agreements – a Memorandum of understanding about performance of Financial mechanism of European economic space 2009 – 2014 between republic Bulgaria and Iceland principality Liechtenstein and kingdom Norway;
  • Implementation of the BG09 Program “Fund for scholarships EEA “in which perform the following 3 measures: Preparatory visits “; “Projects mobility in higher education and science “, with components “Mobility of Students ” and “Mobility of teachers, researchers and administrative staff;
  • Strengthening cooperation between universities from Bulgaria and from donor countries to develop joint curricula and teaching modules;
  • Increase the level competencies of Bulgarian teachers;
  • Increasing quality and applicability of offered by Bulgarian universities programs targeted to foreign students in Bulgaria for incoming mobility;
  • Increasing quality and the applicability of offered by Bulgarian higher schools educational programmes.

European Higher Education Organization is a public organization carrying out academic, educational and information activities on higher education in Europe.

The EHEO general plan stresses that:

  • Higher education systems require adequate funding and, as an investment in economic growth, public spending in higher education should be protected.
  • The challenges faced by higher education require more flexible governance and funding systems, which balance greater autonomy for education institutions with accountability to stakeholders.

Thus, EHEO plans:

  • improve academic and scientific interaction of universities;
  • protect the interests of universities;
  • interact more closely with public authorities of European countries;
  • popularize European higher education in the world;
  • develop academic mobility;
  • seek funding for European universities.