Working Groups Quality of Education and Language Integration started their activities

 Since the beginning of August, the Ministry of Education has formed two new working groups. One of them is preparing a Standard for the Quality Assessment of Education and the other one – normative changes to facilitate the linguistic integration of children and students whose mother language is different from Bulgarian. They include representatives of the Ministry of Education and Science as well as principals, teachers, representatives of social partners (trade unions and employers), universities and NGOs. The groups are working intensively and should submit proposals by early September.

By 11.09.2023 the Quality of Education Working Group should propose a draft State Educational Standard for Quality Management in Preschool and School Education Institutions. A self-assessment toolkit for institutions should also be proposed. The head of the working group is Nelly Koleva, advisor in the political office of the Minister of Education. The group itself includes directors of the main directorates in the Ministry of Education, the Natioanl education inspectorate, the National Institute for Evaluation in Pre-school and School Education, the Trade Union of Bulgarian Teachers, employers’ unions and NGOs with expertise in education. Participants in the Working Group include principals and teachers from schools and kindergartens, as well as academics.

The Quality Management Standard under discussion covers many different aspects of the functioning of educational institutions: school management, learning and teaching, school community, school/ kindergartens performance and prestige, attraction and retention of children/students. A number of indicators have also been proposed, and the working group will have the not-so-easy task of reducing/enlarging them so that they are workable and do not burden the work of the principal and educators.

Amalipe Center will advocate in the working group for the inclusion of indicators and methods for measuring quality not only through the results of the The National External Evaluation and the State Baccalaureate Examinations, but also through the formed school culture of interaction, to what extent schools form free and active citizens with their own position, to what extent they interact successfully with parents, etc. These indicators need to be tracked within the context of a particular educational institution and take into account its context, rather than making “horizontal rankings” that compare schools educating students from families with very different socio-economic and educational profiles. Educational institutions also need to self-assess and be assessed in terms of parental involvement and the extent to which they are making targeted efforts to represent diversity, prevent segregation and overcome existing segregation.

The Language Support Working Group is coordinated by Georgi Nyagolov and Rosen Bogomilov, advisors in the political office of the Minister of Education Prof. Mr. Tsokov. It is tasked with reviewing the various approaches, aids and materials available for teaching Bulgarian language to non-native children/students. The group will also suggest how language integration can be more adequately included in the Education Regulations.

The Amalipe Centre will insist that the Working Group formulate various forms of language support that do not further segregate children and students from traditional language minorities. It is not necessary to introduce an additional preparatory class/group other than the compulsory three-year preparatory groups in kindergartens and classes in schools. With appropriate educational and educational interaction with the children, they would acquire literate Bulgarian language within the framework of compulsory pre-school education and through additional support in primary classes. On the other hand, additional classes (within the framework of the Success for You Project, the Inclusive Education Ordinance, etc.) should not be in the form of standard classes, but should use interactive methods as well as intercultural education.

It is expected that both working groups will formulate proposals for legislative changes to be used in amending the Pre-School and School Education Act. This is in line with the current government’s governance programme adopted at the end of July. It is planned that by February 2024, the Ministry of Education will submit to the National Assembly a draft supplement and amendment to the Pre-School and School Education Act. At present, the request of the Education and Science Committee and the ambition of the MoES is to make this happen much sooner. The programme states that the changes will be “in connection with the expansion of innovative educational institutions, early childhood development, teacher qualification and the synchronisation of state educational standards”. Changes to the Education Act have long been proposed by the National Assembly’s Education and Science Committee, chaired by former Education Minister Krassimir Valchev. They could be on other issues – for example, simplifying curriculum requirements to be basic and provide school autonomy (this has already been discussed at a Commission meeting), etc. Amalipe Center insists that the amended Law should contain anti-segregation texts that promote the desegregation of separate schools in large cities and the implementation of municipal desegregation policies (in addition to the current Article 99, paragraphs 4 and 6), the introduction of the profession of “educational mediator”, an addition to the funding model providing more funds to schools and kindergartens with small numbers of children and students, expanding the use of intercultural education, etc. More about Amalipe’s proposals here.

See more:

What goals and specific measures are included in the Management Program of the Denkov-Gabriel Government in the field of education

Meeting of the educational team of Amalipe Center with the Minister of Education