The department will focus on developing the social and emotional intelligence of students.
In a meeting at the Ministry of Education and Science (MOE), we spoke with the Minister of Education, Prof. Galin Tsokov, and his team. We discussed topics such as the quality framework in education, curricula, school leadership, staff qualification, the overall school environment, social skills development, and violence prevention. Among the commented issues was the need to transition to a single-shift system and care for the mental health of both students and teachers. Along with Georgi Bogdanov and Plamena Nikolova from the National Children’s Network (NCN), we were also joined by Gergana Efremova from “Together in Class” and Yana Alexieva and Zornitsa Trifonova from the “Parents” association – experts and members of the Governing and Control Board of NCN.
We talked about the need to guarantee an equally high standard for all children and students – in both small and large cities. MOE plans in the new budget to allocate funds for educational activities with children from vulnerable groups, ensuring compensations for educational mediators, social workers, and teacher assistants who will support children to improve their results. Early childhood development is also a priority in the ministry’s program.
We are encouraged by the efforts of Prof. Galin Tsokov and the vision of the new team at the ministry on vital educational topics. The department shared that several changes are underway, aimed at forming skills and competencies in students that will make them more successful and happy. Framework curricula will be developed, a competency model will be introduced, new types of test tasks will be created, etc. MOE data shows that much of the aggression in schools comes from children with family issues, and it’s essential to involve parents more actively in school life. Minister Tsokov emphasized that hearing from NGOs working with schools and parents is crucial in developing approaches to address the above issues sustainably.
We will monitor MOE’s work and advocate for quality change and the implementation of best practices. We will also advocate for synchronizing measures in sectors involving other ministries and institutions’ competencies to avoid the current fragmented approach that doesn’t lead to sustainable improvements.
We see that the new team in the ministry is open to dialogue and partnership with the non-governmental sector. We also see a clear intent for key reforms concerning the vision, goals, and quality of education.