In 2019 vocational schools and all other types of secondary schools will receive funding for working with vulnerable groups, similar to primary schools. That became certain from the National Budget Act approved for 2019 by the National Assembly and from the amendments to the Financing Ordinance.
In 2018, for the first time, the Ministry of Education and Science distributed nearly BGN 24 million between schools and kindergartens to work with children and students from vulnerable groups. They were provided only to students up to seventh grade, with primary and secondary school students receiving additional funding for only the primary classes. From 2019, a resource will be provided for both primary and secondary level, with the standard for pupils in primary classes remaining the same, and for secondary classes being twice lower.
The changes will lead to increased funds up to 30 million BGN to work with vulnerable groups, which is stated in the Law on State Budget for 2019. According to preliminary calculations 126 vocational schools with concentrations of more than 20% of students from vulnerable groups will receive additional funding. Funds will be provided to dozens of secondary and combined schools, as their secondary school students will also be included.
The change was proposed by Amalipe Center and schools included in "Every student will be a winner" network. They initiated a petition to Minister Valchev, which was supported by hundreds of schools.
Which schools and kindergartens can receive funds to work with vulnerable groups?Allocation of additional resources to work with children and students from vulnerable groups is regulated according Art. 52 and 52b of the Financing Ordinance, and in November the Ministry of education and science proposed additional text to it for public discussion.
- schools and kindergartens that have filled out information in the NEISPUO in the "Environmental Features" work card for more than 80% of the kindergarten or primary school children. They are also required to educate at least 15 children / students;
- to have at least 20 % concentration of children from vulnerable groups. The vulnerability is determined by the parents' educational status: if parents have lower than secondary education, students are considered at risk or of vulnerable groups.
How is the funding of different schools and kindergartens determined?
Under the proposed amendments to the Ordinance, schools and kindergartens with a concentration of students from vulnerable groups receive an additional 40 to 200 BGN per pupil at primary level and between 20 and 100 BGN per student at secondary level for extra work. They are divided into 5 groups as the lowest funding is in the first group (40 BGN per pupil in basic level and 20BGN per student in secondary level per year), and the highest - in the fifth group (200 BGN and BGN 100 per pupil per year).
To which of the five additional funding groups will the respective school or kindergarden be determined, i.e. how much will it be funded depends on two factors:
- percentage of parents with lower than secondary education;
- percentage of parents with lower than primary education.
Thus, in the "heaviest" fifth group there will be schools and kindergartens, where more than 60% of parents have lower than secondary education and over 50% do not have even basic education. In fact, most of them teach children of parents who rarely have any level of education.
How to use those funds?
The allocated funds are for basic and additional salaries of the staff, as well as for payments on civic contracts.
The school principal can use them to pay:
- the extra work of teachers, included in the scope teams;
- appointment of educational mediator, social worker, etc. It is permitted to appoint a person for any position, incl. guardian, fireman ... with the idea that he /she should help working with parents and overall efforts to return children to classrooms;
- additional Bulgarian language classes;
- staff involved in measures to support access to education: in essence this means an opportunity to increase teachers' salaries.
Those funds could not be used to make repairs, to purchase equipment or for any other costs than salaries /wages.
Can you invlove a non-governmental organization?
Yes, the proposed changes to the Ordinance explicitly allow that.