Bulgarian students win gold medals at international Olympiads.

High school students get accepted in some of the most prestigious universities in the world.

Young Bulgarians start innovative companies and make scientific discoveries.

Does this mean that Bulgaria provides good education to all children?.

The reality is different.

Nearly half of all young people in Bulgaria cannot interpret the meaning of what they read.

Tens of thousands of children drop out of school every year.

Every fifth young person in Bulgaria is neither in employment, nor in education and training.

Labor shortage stunts business growth in Bulgaria.

There is a lack of capable individuals who can work towards improving this reality in the education system in Bulgaria.

We believe that well-prepared and motivated professionals are the most valuable resource towards positive change in education. This is why we recruit, train, and develop people who are motivated to contribute to every child’s access to quality education in Bulgaria; quality education which leads to a functioning economy and a strong society.

MISSION AND VISION

To a great extent, the education which children receive in Bulgaria depends on factors which are out of their control.

 

Students in small towns and villages who grow up in families experiencing financial difficulties significantly lag behind in terms of skills and knowledge compared to their peers in larger cities and those whose parents are financially stable. These children and youths are at a huge risk of dropping out and staying trapped in the cycle of poverty they were born into.

Schools in Bulgaria do not manage to develop the skills necessary for their students’ success in the 21st century – analytical thinking, problem-solving, teamwork, creativity, and emotional intelligence.

At the same time there is a serious shortage of well-prepared professionals who are committed to work long-term towards the improvement of the education system.

All of this leads to dire consequences for young people and the overall development of our country. The business sector is in stagnation because of labor shortages and our society cannot evolve.

Our vision for education in Bulgaria

is for every child to have access to quality education – regardless of where they live, which school they go to, and what the financial ability of their parents is.

Teach For Bulgaria’s mission

is to recruit, train, and develop capable and motivated professionals who are committed to work long-term towards positive change in education in Bulgaria.

At Teach For Bulgaria we believe that:

  • every child has the potential to be successful;
  • the people who have an active and long-term engagement to improve the education system are its most valuable resource;
  • the role of school education is to provide quality instruction to all students to ensure that they are successful in the 21st century;
  • well-prepared and continuously supported teachers are the most important factor for children’s success at school;
  • every single one of us is responsible for children’s access to quality education in Bulgaria;
  • true positive change comes as a result of the joint effort of people and institutions, concrete goals, transparency, and traceability of invested resources.

THE PROBLEM

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Socioeconomic factors have a strong effect on Bulgarian students’ results at school.Children born in poor families or living in small towns and villages are lagging behind in terms of skills and knowledge compared to their peers who are not at a similar disadvantage. Bulgaria is one of the countries where this educational inequality is most prominent. At the same time nearly half of all children in Bulgaria are at risk of poverty and social exclusion.

In the meantime, Bulgarian schools fail to teach students how to be successful in the 21st century. Outdated teaching practices are perpetuated which prevents students from developing key skills such as creativity, decision-making, critical thinking, and complex problem-solving.

Our education system lacks the human capital necessary to change this unjust reality..Approximately half of all teachers in Bulgaria are going to retire in the next few years and their number cannot be compensated for by the new graduates entering the profession. A great number of education majors choose not to work as teachers and people with different professional backgrounds have a very restricted access to the teaching profession.

Bulgaria does not provide quality education to all children in the country

13,6%

of Bulgarian students achieve high results despite their low socioeconomic status.This means that schools cannot help students overcome the limitations of the environment they live in. The OECD
average for 2015 is close to 30%.

16%

of the achievement gap in the results of ninth-graders is caused by factors linked to their socioeconomic status. The OECD average is 13%.

Tens of thousands of children drop out of school every year

Dropped out of school
School year Number of students
2012/2013 17 571
2013/2014 17 794
2014/2015 21 146
2015/2016 21 170
2016/2017 20 092

A huge part of Bulgarian students lack analytical skills

41,5%

of Bulgarian students are functionally illiterate which means that they do not understand the meaning of what they read. 42% are mathematically illiterate which means they cannot apply simple numerical concepts in everyday life situations. 38% are scientifically illiterate – they cannot explain or provide arguments for natural phenomena.

30%

of ninth-graders in Bulgaria score below the basic level for their age group in all three subjects tested by PISA – reading, mathematical, and science literacy. The OECD average is 13%.

7%

of ninth-graders in Bulgaria perform at the top level in one of the three subjects tested by PISA and the OECD average is 15%.

There is a shortage of well-prepared and motivated teachers

10,7%

of all teachers in Bulgarian general education schools are under 35 years of age for the 2017/2018 school year.

4,83

The average high school GPA of students who major in Education is 4.83 out of 6. In comparison, the average high school GPA of Public Communication majors is 5.02.

55%

of all students who have majored in Education in the past five years enter the teaching profession. The percentage of Education graduates who are certified to teach a specific subject and who enter the profession is only 24%.

Young people neither in employment, nor in education and training
(% of the population aged 15 to 24)

1. Italy 19.9
2. Bulgaria 18.2
3. Romania 17.4

26. Denmark 5.8
27. Luxemburg 5.4
28. The Netherlands 4.6
EU average 11.5

The quality of education affects societal development and economic growth

One out of five young people in Bulgaria is neither in employment, nor in education and training. The percentage of inactive people aged 15 to 24 is one of the highest in the EU.

The quality of education is one of the most important factors in order to achieve long-term economic growth and active civil society.

Nearly 40% of Bulgarian manufacturers state that labor shortage stunts their business growth, according to a survey conducted by Colliers International.

OUR APPROACH

At Teach For Bulgaria we believe that every child should be provided with quality education regardless of their socioeconomic status.

People are the most valuable resource to achieve this goal – capable and motivated professionals with different backgrounds who can work together to improve the education system. We recruit, train, and support these people to become teachers for a period of two years and then to continue their long-term contribution – in alignment with their future career plans – to every child’s access to quality education in Bulgaria. We join forces with a community of supporters and partners from the public and private sector because we can only change a major system like the education one, if we work with all stakeholders.

HOW WE WORK

1
Selection

We recruit capable and motivated graduates or professionals with different backgrounds who have the skills and mindsets it takes to work towards quality education for every child and to participate in Teach For Bulgaria’s program. Less than 10% of all applicants successfully complete the entire selection process.

2
Training

We train all successful candidates, who start their participation in the program, to be effective teachers for those students who need their support the most, in order to develop children’s knowledge and skills. Teach For Bulgaria participants who do not have teaching certification complete a university program in teacher education.

3
Workplace

We connect Teach For Bulgaria participants with our partner schools, located in different regions of Bulgaria so they are able to find the right place which would allow them to help their students and grow professionally at the same time.

4
Support

Our leadership and professional development program provides all participants with professional support in their effective work at school and with the local community for a period of two years. We also provide additional trainings for their future professional development in career tracks such as school and instructional leadership, social entrepreneurship, community-level impact, and policy and national advocacy.

5
Continuous development

We provide continuous support to Teach For Bulgaria alumni by granting access to various opportunities for professional development and learning opportunities from the experience generated in our community.

6
Community

We unify the experience, knowledge, and skills of all current program participants, alumni, team members, institutional and corporate partners, so we can join forces in our work towards a better education system in Bulgaria.

VALUES

LONG-TERM IMPACT

We are led by the belief that every child can be successful and should be given the opportunity to realize their full potential. We work to achieve long-term sustainable results and take actions aimed at the greatest possible impact. We use data to measure our effectiveness and to focus our efforts where they are most needed.

PROFESSIONALISM

We always act as ambassadors of our organization and mission. We show perseverance – even in the most difficult and stressful moments, we remain calm and act in a professional way. We keep deadlines and work effectively. We always use appropriate language and tone of communication.

EFFECTIVE COLLABORATION

We strive to create sustainable and meaningful partnerships with our supporters and partners in order to achieve our goal to provide access to quality education to every child. We are friendly, honest, open to feedback, and supportive in our teamwork. We show the necessary patience to understand different points of view and to adapt our style of communication and actions.

ENTREPRENEURIAL SPIRIT

We face challenges with enthusiasm and energy. We find revolutionary and innovative solutions to all problems we encounter without sacrificing our professionalism and focus on long-term results. We are open to new ideas, we work outside of our comfort zone, and we try out new solutions to accomplish our mission.

RESPECT AND HUMILITY

We show respect to all people regardless of their background, age, ethnicity or nationality, religion, sexual orientation, different beliefs, and experience. We do not make assumptions, but believe that every person can be successful. We are open-minded and curious about different points of view.

CONTINUOUS LEARNING

We strive to constantly develop and improve ourselves and our organization. We take advantage of every learning opportunity and we help our teammates, supporters, and partners in their own lifelong learning.