A Bulgarian team of students became a finalist in an international debate tournament in Lisbon, as reported by the Bulgarian Association of Private Schools (BACHU). The competition took place during the conference of the European Council of National Associations of Independent Schools ECNAIS (ecnais.org). The focus this year was on the theme “Promoting democracy and civic engagement.”
Teams of students from 11 European countries participated in the debates – Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Turkey, United Kingdom, and Spain. The Bulgarian team reached the final along with the Spanish team and finished second but won the applause and hearts of the audience. The topics that the young people debated in the first selection round were “We live in a post-truth world”, “European countries should establish quotas for young people in parliament”, and “It is possible for European countries to achieve a common immigration policy”. In the final, our team and the Spanish team debated on the topic “Parental choice of school reduces inequality”.
“Regardless of the models of financing of independent schools in individual European countries, private educational institutions face common difficulties related to the decreasing number of teachers, increasing political and economic instability, and the rapid pace of digitization and the entry of new technologies into education. Despite the dynamically changing world with many unknowns and challenges, independent schools in Europe maintain their optimism. They have proven their indispensable role in quality and progressive education for building strong, self-confident, and knowledgeable people. These are future leaders for the good of a world in which quality knowledge, combined with a strong spirit and high morals, will be decisive,” says Ani Angelova, a member of the BACHU Board and coordinator of the organization’s international memberships.
The success of the Bulgarian team in the debates in Lisbon is a recognition for all educational institutions where these skills are developed and children are prepared for the future – as active people with civic position and critical thinking.
“For the National Children’s Network, youth participation is a big and important topic. That is why we have been developing a youth network – “Megaphone” since 2010, within which young people learn about their rights and how to advocate for them at the local, national, and international levels. Young people actively participate in all activities of the organization. An example of this is the largest forum for children’s and youth participation – Voice it – organized and facilitated by the “Megaphone” program of the National Children’s Network. The topic they chose and discussed with politicians at the last forum was mental health in various areas – family, education, healthcare, friendship, and social networks.”