Science and Education for Smart Growth

Ministry of Education and Science of Bulgaria in cooperation with the Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency of the European Commission

Bulgaria

Evidence of results

Purpose related to Let's Care

Level of Education

PrimarySecondary

Pillars

Safe Education

Brief description of the Project

Duration

2014-2020

Scope

National

Funds

Public, mainly by the European Union through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the European Social Fund (ESF)

Objectives

Improving education, research and innovation in Bulgaria to boost the country's smart and sustainable growth.

Methodology

To achieve its objectives, the Science and Education for Smart Growth Operational Programme 2014-2020 implements a number of specific measures, including:

  • Improving science and technology education: measures are carried out to improve the quality and efficiency of science and technology education at all levels of education. This includes the development of new curricula and educational materials, the training of teachers and educators, and the strengthening of students' scientific skills and competences.
  •  Strengthening the training and professional development of teachers and educators: Actions are undertaken to improve the training and professional development of teachers and educators in science and technology. This includes the organisation of training programmes and the creation of knowledge-sharing networks.
  • Improving educational infrastructure and resources: Measures are implemented to improve educational infrastructure and resources in educational institutions, research centres and enterprises. This includes support for the construction and renovation of educational facilities, the acquisition of scientific and technological equipment, and the strengthening of libraries and educational resource centres.

Type of Action

Learning tools (robotics and ICTs)School curriculumTeachers training

Target Group and Determinants attended

Academic researchersStudentsTeachers

Professionals involved

Academics and researchersLegal expertsPoliticiansSchool Management

Networking - Actors and Institutions mobilised by the Project

GovernmentLocal authoritiesResearch centersSchoolsThird sector organisationsUniversities

Enablers

The programme has benefited from the financial support of the European Commission, the political and financial support of the Bulgarian government, the collaboration of educational institutions and research centres, and the support of companies and organisations for its implementation.

Barriers

The implementation of the programme has been subject to a large number of administrative procedures and regulations, which has delayed project implementation and increased costs. On the other hand, despite the financial resources, there has been a shortage of trained human resources; the lack of trained and specialised STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) personnel has limited the programme's capacity to implement high-quality projects. Finally, the lack of adequate educational infrastructure and resources in some areas of Bulgaria has hindered the implementation of the programme and access to science education for some students.

Grade of linkage with the Safe Education Model

The programme has as one of its main objectives to foster active learning and the improvement of students' skills, including autonomy and attachment to school. To achieve this goal, the programme has implemented various initiatives that seek to involve students in the learning process and promote their active participation in education. For example, the programme has promoted the formation of clubs and interest groups in schools, where students can work together on science and technology projects and develop leadership and collaboration skills. In addition, the programme has promoted the formation of learning communities, where students can receive support and guidance from their peers and trained tutors.

Grade of linkage with the purpose of Let's Care

The programme has implemented actions to improve the quality of science and technology education, with the aim of increasing students' motivation and interest in these subjects. It has also promoted the formation of learning communities and the active participation of students in research and science projects, which can contribute to improving their motivation and engagement in education. In addition, the programme has implemented actions to improve guidance and counselling for students, with the aim of supporting their transition to higher education and the world of work. It has also promoted the development of key skills, such as problem solving and teamwork, which are fundamental for academic and employment success.

Grade of evidence about impact and political relevance

According to the programme's official website, more than 120 projects have been implemented in different areas, and more than 1,500 schools and universities have participated in the programme.

  • Among the programme's outstanding results are:
  • More than 13,000 teachers have received training and support to improve the quality of science and technology teaching.
  • More than 2,500 science and technology projects have been developed by students and teachers in collaboration with companies and scientific organisations.
  • More than 130 new educational infrastructures have been built or renovated, including science laboratories and technology centres.
  • The early school dropout rate in Bulgaria has been reduced from 11.1% in 2014 to 5.5% in 2019, suggesting that the programme has had a significant impact on the retention of students in secondary and higher education. These numbers and results show that the programme has had a significant impact on education and society in Bulgaria, and that it has been a success in terms of promoting student and teacher participation in science and technology, improving the quality of education and reducing early school leaving.

Grade of evidence about impact - Project deliverables

Reproducibility

The programme's approaches and methodologies may be transferable to other contexts and countries facing similar challenges in science and technology education. However, it is important to bear in mind that the degree of transferability will depend on factors such as political, economic and social conditions, and the availability of resources and partnerships in each specific context. In the Bulgarian case, it has benefited from strong EU funding that would otherwise have prevented the implementation and execution of the programme.

Outcomes

Innovation, collaboration, science

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