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29.01.2018The World Development Report - 2018 was presented in Sofia

Minister of Education Krasimir Valchev, World Bank Education Senior Director Jaime Saavedra,President of Amalipe Center Deyan Kolev, Trayan Trayanov from Teach for all - Bulgaria and School Principals Lyudmil Lachev and Ksenia Semizorova participated in the discussion "Learning to realize education's promise". It was organized on 26 of January at Sofia University to present the Global Development Report of the World Bank "LEARNING to Realize Education's Promise". The event was opened by Prof. Atanas Gerdzhikov, Dean of Sofia University "Kliment Ohridski". It was attended by the mayor of Sofia Yordanka Fandakova, school principals, academics and non-governmental organizations.

There is a large increase in enrolled students in education in the world, with millions of new students attending school, although many of them not understanding what they are reading or do not having good knowledge in Maths. This was stated by Jaime Saavedra, World Bank Senior Director of Education and former Education Minister of Peru. Globally, 44 percent of students do not do well in math, and 53 percent do not understand what they read, said Saavedra. He specified that this data is not the same anywhere in the world. There are countries in Central Europe, where these rates are half, in Eastern Europe are about 25 percent, in Latin America about 40 percent, and in Africa 90 percent. "For Africa, we are talking about something monstrous, something insignificant, concerning this data on education," Saavedra said. He reported that there are 260 million children who haven't been enrolled in primary and secondary schools, and thus full scope still remains a challenge.

Three are the main issues that all ministers of education must work on. They relate to curricula, the need for good teachers and the management of education systems and schools, Saavedra said. He noted that there are two challenges for the whole world. The first is for early childhood education, and at best, at the global level, half of the children aged 3 to 6 attend an early education institution of acceptable quality. This is very important because the first years of life are crucial for the future cognitive skills of the person, Saavedra noted. He added that the second challenge relates to adult education, especially for people on the labor market, but who did not receive quality education.

The Minister of Education and Science Krassimir Valchev thanked for the presentation of the report in Bulgaria, although there are no specific data about Bulgaria, because it is not dedicated to our country. He noted, however, that there are many World Bank reports that focus on Bulgaria. "Reading this report, we are more convinced that the policies we have formulated are right," said Minister Valchev.

He stressed that many of the education policies require many years of effort that go beyond the mandate of a government or of the National Assembly. Today there is a relative political consensus for them, e.g. for inclusive education, for financing education and teachers, said Minister Valchev. He announced that proposing a legislative change for a compulsory education for children at four years is in the management program. We are currently waiting, as we know there is a constitutional case. We have not given up on it, the report confirms how important it is for children to be covered in early childhood, "Valchev said.

 "Our primary goal is to teach children the key competences of the 21st century, to invest in them from a very early age, to build them as creators and thinkers," the minister added.

The first reflection on the report was made by Deyan Kolev, Trayan Trayanov and the principals Lyudmil Lachev and Ksenia Semizarova. According to the Amalipe President, the report is based on the correct theoretical premise that access to education and the quality of education are two crucial aspects of an educational reality, and if the school functions well as a system, improving one aspect will lead to improvement of the other one. He also pointed out that the educational environment in Bulgaria is characterized by systemic disproportions for decades: between school education in urban and rural areas, as well as between schools that teach pupils from the majority and Roma students. The introduction of delegated budgets solely on the basis of number of students further exaggerated those disproportions, Kolev stressed. The ongoing reform, in which delegated budgets depend not only on the number of students, but also on the number of classes and educational institutions, as well as the provision of additional funds for teachers working in rural schools and vulnerable groups, gives hope for securing financial resources to overcome these disproportions. The big task is to use it to bring about systemic change that will improve both access and quality of education. That depends not only on the Ministry of education and science, but on all of us - teachers, principals, NGOs, stressed the chairman of Amalipe.

 

See the report in English here

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