Country information for Bulgaria - Legislation and policy
Several laws, normative acts and various national strategy plans and programmes mention the principles for a supportive environment for learners with special educational needs (SEN). These principles include:
- access to state matriculation examinations;
- access to buildings;
- information and communication access at schools and universities;
- development of special syllabuses and educational programmes;
- printing adapted textbooks and teaching aids;
- teacher training.
The laws and programmes that mention these principles include:
- Law on Pre-school and School Education
- Law on People with Disabilities
- Ordinance on Inclusive Education
- National Development Programme: Bulgaria 2030.
The normative regulation of integrated education began with the amendments to the Public Education Act in 2002.
Public Education Act
In 2002, changes in the law regulated integrated training for learners with special educational needs (SEN) in pre-schools, general education schools and vocational schools.
Rules for the Public Education Act Enforcement
Changes in the rules in 2003 regulated the practical enforcement of integrated training by:
- defining learners with SEN;
- forming teams for complex pedagogical evaluation in regional inspectorates on education;
- creating a supportive and accessible environment in pre-schools and schools;
- creating teams of experts.
Law on the Integration of People with Disabilities
This law regulates the Ministry of Education and Science’s commitment to provide ‘integrated training’ for learners with SEN in pre-school and school. It also regulates arrangements for secondary schools related to admission and training for learners with disabilities.
Ordinance No. 1 of 23 January 2009 on the training of children and pupils with SEN and/or chronic diseases
- the fundamental principles and objectives of complex pedagogical evaluation, imposed by practice;
- the additional functions of expert teams;
- co-ordination of resource support in education and training;
- co-operation with parents of children with disabilities;
- new functions of specialised schools, according to the Ministry of Education and Science’s new priorities related to the development of integrated education.
National plan for integration of children with SEN and/or chronic diseases in the system of national education, adopted by Council of Ministers’ Decision in 2003
This document defines, for the first time, specific activities, time frames and the responsibilities of various institutions and organisations in implementing integrated training.
Programme for Development of Education, Science and Youth Policies in the Republic of Bulgaria (2009–2013)
This defines the Ministry of Education and Science’s strategic priority directions, one of which is ‘equal access to education for all learners’. Certain ordinances regulate specific educational, social and other measures to provide conditions and opportunities for all children to learn and develop their potential.
Specific support measures for migrant children and citizens from EU member states, the European Economic Area and Switzerland include the provision of free training in Bulgarian, as well as the learner’s mother tongue and culture at compulsory school age.
A strategy for educational integration of learners from ethnic minorities (2005–2015) was approved in 2004. Based on a number of international and national documents, it aimed to combat discrimination in the field of education and to protect the rights of individuals from national, ethnic, religious or linguistic minorities.
A Strategy for Educational Integration of Children and Learners from Ethnic Minorities for 2015–2020 and its implementation plan (Ministry of Education aimed to improve access to and quality of education for learners from ethnic minorities.
Project BG051PO001 – 4-1.07 on ‘Inclusive Education’ in the Human Resources Development 2007–2013 Operational Programme aimed to establish an educational environment oriented towards personal development and inclusive education for ‘students with deviant behaviour’ (Ministry of Finance, National Reform Programme – 2016 Update, pp. 23–24). It covered over 3,000 learners with SEN and pre-primary children at risk of learning difficulties, and over 2,000 professionals, teachers and other team members for resource support.
Law on Pre-school and School Education
The Law on Pre-school and School Education was adopted in 2015. It repealed the Public Education Act and the Rules for the Public Education Act Enforcement, and Ordinance No. 1 of 23 January 2009 on the training of children and pupils with SEN and/or chronic diseases.
The Law on Pre-school and School Education regulates inclusive education:
(1) Everyone has the right to education and may increase their education and qualification by learning throughout life.
(2) Inclusive education is an inalienable part of the right to education (Art. 7).
Pre-school institutions and school education, together with state and local authorities and structures and providers of social services, provide support for learners’ personal development.
In the pre-school and school education systems, support is provided to learners for personal development that provides an adequate physical, psychological and social environment to develop their abilities and skills. Support for personal development complies with the individual educational needs of each learner. Psychologists or pedagogue counsellors, speech therapists, social workers and resource teachers work to ensure general and additional support in kindergartens and schools.
Support for personal development is general and additional. General and additional support are provided to learners in the kindergartens, schools and personal development support centres that they attend. In cases described in Art. 111, para. 1, item 1 – in home or in hospital conditions, and if necessary to expand the general and additional support provided in kindergartens, schools and personal development support centres, and depending on the specifics of the activities – support can also be provided from a distance using information and communication technologies.
General support for personal development includes:
- team work between teachers and other pedagogical specialists;
- additional training in subjects under the conditions of this law;
- additional modules for children who do not speak Bulgarian;
- additional consultations on subjects that are conducted outside regular school hours;
- consultations on subjects;
- career guidance for students;
- activities of interest;
- library and information services;
- health care;
- providing dormitories;
- encouragement with moral and material rewards;
- activities to prevent violence and overcome problem behaviour;
- early needs assessment and prevention of learning difficulties;
- speech therapy work.
General support is provided by kindergartens, schools and personal development support centres.
Additional support for personal development includes:
- work with learners on a specific case;
- psycho-social rehabilitation, hearing rehabilitation and speech, visual rehabilitation, communicative rehabilitation disorders and physical disabilities;
- providing affordable architectural, common and specialised support environments, technical means, specialised equipment, didactic materials, methodologies and specialists;
- providing training in special subjects for learners with sensory disabilities;
- resource support.
The additional support for personal development provides for learners with special educational needs, outstanding gifts or chronic diseases, and for those who are considered at risk.
The type and forms of education, as well as the specific activities for additional support for personal development, are determined by a plan to support the learner.
The additional support for personal development is provided by kindergartens, schools, personal development support centres and specialised services units.
Law on People with Disabilities
The Law on People with Disabilities, adopted in 2018, regulates public relations related to the rights of people with disabilities in the Republic of Bulgaria. The law aims to:
- promote, protect and guarantee the full and equal rights and freedoms of people with disabilities;
- create conditions for social inclusion of people with disabilities;
- contribute to respect for the inherent human dignity of people with disabilities;
- provide support for people with disabilities and their families.
National Development Programme: Bulgaria 2030
The National Development Programme: Bulgaria 2030 was adopted by the Council of Ministers Protocol No. 67 of 2 December 2020.
A framework strategic document defines the vision and general objectives of development policies in all sectors of government, including their territorial dimensions. The document is based on the vision, goals and priorities of the National Development Programme: Bulgaria 2030. It was approved by the Council of Ministers Decision No. 33 of 20 January 2020.
The document outlines three strategic goals:
- accelerated economic development;
- demographic recovery;
- reduction of inequalities.
To implement these goals, the document groups government intentions into five areas (axes) of development and identifies 13 national priorities. The programme also includes:
- detailed strategies for the priorities;
- indicative financial framework;
- preliminary assessment of the impact of implementation of the set interventions on key macroeconomic indicators;
- a mechanism for monitoring and controlling the implementation of the strategic document.
Ordinance on Inclusive Education
This Ordinance has been effective since 27 October 2017. It was adopted by the Council of Ministers No. 232, dated 20 October 2017. It:
- determines the state educational standard for inclusive education
- regulates public relations related to the provision of inclusive education in the pre-school and school education system
- regulates the activity of the institutions in this system in providing support for learners’ personal development.
The state educational standard for inclusive education determines the conditions and order for:
- providing general support for learners’ personal development;
- providing additional support for learners’ personal development under art. 187, paragraph 2 of the Law on Pre-school and School Education and its provision;
- participation of learners’ parents in the procedure for imposing the sanctions under art. 199, paragraph 1 of the Law on Pre-school and School Education, as well as the specific conditions and procedures for imposing these sanctions;
- approval of individual curricula and individual curricula for learners with special educational needs or with expressed gifts under art. 95, paragraph 1, items 1 and 2 of the Law on Pre-school and School Education;
- admission and the organisation of education for learners with special educational needs in special schools for the education and support of learners with sensory disabilities;
- education of learners in centres for special educational support;
- referring learners with special educational needs who graduate from grades 7 and 10 to profile classes, such as foreign languages, natural sciences, information technology, etc., or to vocational training.
The Ordinance defines inclusive education as a process of awareness, acceptance and support of the individuality of each learner and the diversity of learners’ needs. It activates and includes resources aimed at removing barriers to learning and creating opportunities for learners’ development and participation in all aspects of community life.
Inclusive education is an integral part of the right to education. It is realised in accordance with the principles in аrt. 3, paragraph 2 of the Law on Pre-school and School Education.
The institutions in the pre-school and school education system provide conditions for equal access to education for learners. They also provide:
- an accessible architectural and physical environment;
- accessibility of information and communication;
- access to curricula and learning content;
- reasonable facilities;
- technical means;
- specialised equipment and specialised support environments;
- didactic materials, methodologies and specialists.
Pre-school and school education institutions provide support for learners’ personal development, together with state and local authorities and structures and social services providers.
Last updated 02/03/2021