Proposals to the draft Strategic Framework for the Development of Education, Training and Learning in the Republic of Bulgaria (2021 – 2030)

Amalipe Center and 7 other organizations from the Roma Integration Network prepared proposals for the Strategic Framework for the Development of Education, Training and Learning in the Republic of Bulgaria (2021 – 2030) announced for public discussion.

The organizations propose specific texts aimed at advocating for the educational integration of children and students from ethnic minorities in the strategic document. See the opinion and suggestions below

We support the creation of a Strategic Framework to define the vision, priority areas and priority activities for the development of Bulgarian education until 2030. The proposed document contains many valuable ideas in this direction. At the same time, it contains certain gaps that need to be filled. Regarding the educational integration of children and students from ethnic minorities, the proposed Strategic Framework gives way to important achievements of the current policy of the Ministry of Education and Science, expressed in the Strategy for educational integration of children and students from ethnic minorities.

The draft strategic document avoids the use of terms such as “educational integration of children and students from ethnic minorities” and others that have already been established in previous strategic and program documents and have their basis in the objective reality encountered daily by the Bulgarian teacher. Instead, terms such as “inclusive education” and “vulnerable groups” are used entirely, which have a broader meaning and do not fully reflect the specifics of the processes of educational integration. We consider this a strategic mistake and a departure from previous documents. There is a conceptual difference between the processes of inclusive education and educational integration and from this point of view it is no coincidence that the Law on Preschool and School Education provides for two different standards – Inclusive Education and the Standard for Civic and Intercultural Education. It is also a mistake to replace the terms “children and students from ethnic minorities” with “children and students from vulnerable groups.” Not all students from ethnic minorities are vulnerable, but even integrated students face specific problems at school such as segregation, classroom discrimination and others.
In order for the strategic framework to include the topic of educational integration in an appropriate way, we offer:

To the text Current situation to be added a text about the current state of the processes of educational integration of children and students from ethnic minorities. For example:
“Numerous studies, including by the Agency for Fundamental Rights and UNICEF, show that ethnic minorities, especially the Roma, face many problems in the field of education – early school leaving, educational segregation and others. The Ministry of Education and Science and active NGOs are taking a number of steps to address these challenges. To support the process of educational integration, a Center for Educational Integration of Children and Students from Ethnic Minorities was established, and the Operational Program Science and Education for Smart Growth included an investment priority Socio-economic integration of marginalized communities such as the Roma. Successes have been achieved in reducing the share of dropouts, increasing the coverage of Roma children in pre-school education, increasing the share of Roma boys and girls in secondary and higher education. However, more work is needed in these areas, as well as in reducing educational segregation and preventing secondary segregation. ”

In part Challenges to include a text indicating the need for wider introduction of intercultural education and overcoming educational segregation. For example
“Ensuring full coverage and improving the quality of education in the coming years must be an integral part of

– Wider introduction of various forms of intercultural education. Current children and students study together and will work with representatives of different ethnic groups. As citizens of the European Union, they will constantly interact with representatives of different nationalities and ethnic groups. From this point of view, intercultural education is a mandatory part of modern education, which prepares current students for their future realization;

– Overcoming the concentration of children and students from vulnerable groups in certain kindergartens / schools and the educational segregation. Information provided by schools through the NEISPUO system indicates that 1,080 schools have a concentration of students from vulnerable groups. It is significant that these processes cover not only primary but also secondary level. In many of these schools, educational and ethnic segregation coincide, as they educate children and students from low-educated families belonging to ethnic minorities.

To the Analysis of the internal and external factors for the environment, Weaknesses should be added the following factors – Existence of segregated schools in the cities and deepening of the secondary segregation; Insufficient coverage of intercultural education
To Analysis of internal and external environmental factors, Opportunities to be added
“Overcoming segregation in education, which will lead to overcoming the fear of difference and will become a guarantor of social and ethnic peace in settlements with mixed populations.

Priority area 3. Effective inclusion and sustainable inclusion to be supplemented as Effective inclusion, sustainable inclusion and educational integration.
As mentioned above, educational integration does not fully coincide with the process of inclusion and inclusion. The Education Program is also following this path of awareness and is currently being called the Including Education and Educational Integration. This name also needs to be used in the strategic framework.

Objectives and groups of activities 3.1 to specific area 3 to be supplemented with
– Providing tablets for all children who do not have devices in cases of distance learning in an electronic environment

– Expanding the scope of free transport for high school students

Objective and group of activities 3.6 to specific area 3 to be supplemented by Support for full participation in the educational process of children and students from ethnic minorities, migrants and other vulnerable groups.
The aim should be complemented by the following activities

– Support for increasing the coverage in secondary and higher education of representatives of vulnerable ethnic minorities and other vulnerable groups

– Continuation of the practice of providing funds for work with vulnerable groups according to the Ordinance on the financing of schools and kindergartens. Linking the provision of additional funds with increasing the quality of education and the scope.

– Involve non-governmental organizations and other representatives of civil society

Importers:

Amalipe Center for Interethnic Dialogue and Tolerance

NGO World without Borders – Stara Zagora

Indy Roma Social Foundation 97 – Kuklen

Gender Alternatives Foundation – Plovdiv

New Way Association – Hayredin

Roma Foundation Iskra – Shumen

Community Center Romano Drom – Dobrich

Association Diverse and Equal – Sofia