Report submitted by Bulgaria

National Report :

The right to education is dealt with in several occasions and once there is an explicit reference to human rights education (point 126, below).

113. The Constitution guarantees the right to education of everybody in Bulgaria, which includes compulsory school education until the age of 16. Primary and secondary education in public schools is free of charge. In principle, education in state universities is free of charge as well. The state encourages education by creating and financing schools, assisting
talented pupils and students, and creating conditions for professional training and qualification.

114. According to article 54, paragraph 1 of the Constitution everyone is entitled to avail himself/herself of the national and human cultural values, and to develop his/her culture in conformity with his/her ethnic belonging.

115. Article 36, paragraph 2, of the Constitution provides the guarantee that “citizens whose mother tongue is not Bulgarian shall be entitled to learn their own language and to use it alongside the study of Bulgarian.” The state shall provide the required protection and control.

116. The National Education Act contains the following principles: citizens are entitled to education; they can constantly improve their education and qualification; there shall be no limitations or privileges on grounds of race, nationality, sex, ethnic or social origin, religion and social status.

117. Pupils in municipal schools whose mother tongue is not Bulgarian are entitled to study their mother tongues in addition to the compulsory study of the Bulgarian 24 .

118. Turkish is being studied as a mother tongue, on the basis of school programmes, text books and dictionaries, approved by the Ministry of Education and Sciences for all classes from the first to the eighth grades. Turkish is studied in private secondary Muslim and other schools as well. A number of universities educate teachers in Turkish. Armenian, Hebrew are also studied as mother tongues in Bulgarian schools in several cities and towns.

119. Romani as a mother tongue has not been taught and studied systematically. Teaching Romani began in some municipal schools in 1992. Despite the efforts undertaken in past years by state institutions and universities, there are not many qualified teachers and necessary text books for the primary and secondary levels and also for specialized philological education.

120. Romanian and Greek are studied in schools upon request of parents if the required number of pupils is available.

121. In addition to public schools, there are a lot of private schools where those and other languages are studied.

122. Pupils and students from foreign countries legally residing in Bulgaria are entitled under the National Education Act, the Higher Education Act and the Asylum and Refugees Act to receive free education in Bulgarian in state and municipal schools and universities.

123. An important objective of the educational system is to educate and train Bulgarian citizens to respect and observe the rights of others, their mother tongue, religions and cultures.

124. Legislation ensures equal access to education and training of children and pupils with special educational needs, including mentally retarded and disabled children. Practical measures are directed at integrating education and reconstructing the network of special schools by shutting down some of them and reforming the activities of the rest 42. Until January 2010 there were 8305 children and pupils with special educational needs in kindergartens and schools. The normative requirements for the integrated education at such institutions are laid down in the National Education Act and its Regulations, the National
Plan, the Integration of Retarded and Disabled Persons Act.

125. There is also the National Education and Youth Policies Development Programme for 2009–2013. It sets out the strategic priorities of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sciences aimed at ensuring equal access to education and an open educational system.

126. The educational system in Bulgaria also makes extensive use of the UN documents on education. The Human Rights Education in Bulgaria is part of regular curricula in Bulgaria, under Ordinance No2, dated 18 May 2000. Civic education, which is a compulsory cross-curricular element of the general school education and training, ensures plenty of other possibilities for teaching and learning human rights.