Meeting of Roma teachers with the Minister of Education and MPs from the Education and Science Committee

The amendments to the Public Education Act, prepared in recent months, will not be adopted by the current National Assembly, but will be discussed in the new Parliament as soon as it is constituted. It is necessary to increase the standard for working with vulnerable groups at least for the fourth and fifth group of schools so as to guarantee higher salaries for teachers working in them. The introduction of educational mediators is now a sustainable policy and should continue with their qualification and higher pay. A National External Assessment for the students from the 10th grade will be held on the 10th of June starting at 11 am. These and a number of other topics were discussed during a round table on the occasion of International Roma Day, 8th April at the National Assembly.


Minister of Education prof. Tsokov, the Chairman of the Education and Science Committee, Krasimir Valchev and MPs from the ESC (Andrey Chorbanov – ITN, Ivaylo Mitkovski – PP-DB, Christina Georgieva – GERB-SDU, Irena Anastasova – BSP, prof. Nelli Dimitrova – PP-DB, Mario Rangelov – DPS, Radoslava Chekanska – GERB-SDS, Rosen Kosturkov – PP-DB, Hristo Daskalov – PP-DB, Tsvetan Predov – ITN) met with over 40 Roma teachers on the initiative of Center Amalipe. The meeting was held at the National Assembly on 11th April. Teachers raised important issues from their practice that concern not only Roma children, but also all others: the low quality of education, the difficulties in literacy of children from families who travel abroad, language integration, desegregation, the assessment of added value and many others. The issues of repetition in the primary phase, the penalty of ‘suspension of child allowances for one year’ for five unexcused absences and many others were not overlooked.

During the speeches it became clear that:

  • the current National Assembly will not adopt the changes in the Law on Pre-school and School Education, which were prepared in recent months. In recent months this has happened on many issues and consensus has been reached between all parties, social partners and leading NGOs. But the time left until the end of the National Assembly is too short. He assured that in the new Parliament the changes to the UPEA will also be discussed and adopted with priority;
  • regarding the desegregation policies, Krasimir Valchev strongly supported the statements of Stella Kostova and Deyan Kolev about the need to support them at the legal level. In the amendments to the Law on Pre-school and School Educationit was envisaged to limit the admission to segregated urban schools and to impose an imperative requirement on municipalities to promote such policies. Of course, they apply to places where desegregation is possible – in cities, not in villages.

On this issue a dispute developed among deputies, some of whom insisted that in Bulgaria there is no segregation at the legal level and therefore segregation cannot be prohibited by law. Since all schools teach the same curriculum, there can be no talk of segregation and discrimination, they argued. The opposite view was held by many of the teachers who spoke, who pointed out that secondary segregation is a daily challenge in their work, as many majority parents withdraw their children from schools where Roma children are increasing. Other MPs were also of this opinion. Mario Rangelov pointed out that the representatives of minorities face daily some cases of discrimination, which can be both direct and indirect. He pointed out that municipalities often indirectly support secondary segregation by allowing students from villages with functioning schools to be transported in organized transport.

  • The Chairman if the Committee the stressed the need for teachers in schools with a concentration of vulnerable groups, especially groups four and five, to receive higher pay. He argued that this was due to the more difficult environment in which they work because of the low education of parents. It is in these schools that we must ensure that the most motivated teachers can work, Mr Valchev stressed.
  • “When we talk about educational institutions with vulnerable groups, the topic of early childhood development is key, because it lays the foundation for retention and effective inclusion of children in the education system,” Prof. Valchev stressed. Prof. Tsokov. He also focused on the work of educational mediators. “I am glad that we have guaranteed their activity and they are now part of the Collective Agreement in school and pre-school education, because they have a key role in the inclusion of children in school,” Galin Tsokov added. According to him, it is now important to work to support their qualification and expand their competences.
  • In response to teachers’ questions, Minister Tsokov pointed out that the 10th grade National External Assessment will remain on June 10, starting at 11 am because of the elections the previous day.

The discussion turned out to be brief so many of the questions raised by the teachers were answered. Krasimir Valchev and Professor Tsokov expressed their willingness to organize such a discussion immediately after the elections and approached the Amalipe Center with a proposal to do so.