New funds for schools and CSOP to deal with the Covid crisis
At its meeting on December 9, the Council of Ministers allocated nearly BGN 17 million in additional funds for general support of schools and CSOs. They will support the budget of educational institutions to deal with the consequences of the pandemic and to provide distance learning in an electronic environment for all children. When will these funds be received and what can they be used for?
The government approved an additional BGN 16,872,440 to the 2020 Budget to provide anti-epidemic measures to prevent and limit the spread of COVID-19 in state and municipal schools, and centers for special educational support (CSOP). As the Amalipe Center pointed out on its website, these funds were supplemented to the State Budget extraordinarily in November.
What can be purchased with the allocated funds?
With the allocated funds, schools will provide the necessary quantities of disinfectants, air purifiers, electronic devices for students who do not have the opportunity to buy themselves to be able to participate in distance learning in an electronic environment. Schools are free to choose which devices to buy, which can be cheap tablets and other devices suitable for the OECD. This is an extremely good opportunity to purchase distance learning devices as there is no specification from the Ministry of Education and schools have full freedom to choose what devices they need.
According to regional administrations, about 30,000 students are currently unable to participate in synchronous distance learning due to a lack of devices or Internet communication. You can see what other opportunities schools have to meet these needs here.
Which institutions will receive the additional funds?
Additional funds for extraordinary expenses will be provided to 2257 municipal and state schools and 42 CSOPs. The funds will be distributed to the budgets of the municipalities – for the municipal schools, and to the budgets of the Ministry of Education and Science, the Ministry of Youth and Sports, the Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Justice – for the respective public schools.
At the moment there is no information that kindergartens are covered by this measure. This is unjustified as they have similar costs to those of schools (disinfectants, air purification systems, personal protective equipment, etc.)
During the past week, the schools were informed by the relevant Regional Departments of Education about the possible amount of the expected funds.
When will the funds be received and by when should they be spent?
Next week, the Ministry of Education and Science will transfer the funds to the municipalities and they are expected to provide them to the schools immediately. It is important to note that schools can use part of the funds in the coming year, ie to register them as a transitional balance. It is good for the directors to spend part or all of the funds received by the end of this year, but it is not fatal to bring them as a transitional balance to use them in 2021.