Plovdiv Municipality and Teach for Bulgaria are working on a new comprehensive education strategy for the city of Plovdiv for the period of 2017 – 2022. It builds on local authorities’ targeted efforts towards a long-term economic development of the city and the region.
The main goal of the new strategy is to build a modern vision of the development of education in Plovdiv Municipality. It will comprise particular objectives, impact areas, priority activities and measurable success indicators which correspond to the needs and opportunities of the local authorities, population and business. The document will be used to plan the tasks and resources of the municipality and its key partners on education in the city.
To achieve coordination of efforts and resources at an early stage, a Working Expert Group to the project, comprising representatives of the Municipality, the Regional Management of Education, the District Administration and Plovdiv Municipal Council, will start operating on 02.02.17. It will also comprise representatives of the educational institutions in the city, the local business and non-governmental sector. The role of the Working Group is to ensure that the ideas presented in the strategy will be timely analyzed and approved by the experts so that an applicable and sustainable program is implemented and a long-term development of the education in the city is achieved.
To prepare the strategic education plan, the municipality is working in partnership with Teach for Bulgaria Foundation which successfully employs innovative educational practices in the preparation and assistance of new teachers in its two-year program for professional and leadership development. The foundation cooperates with innovative educational organizations in more than 40 countries in five continents in the global network of Teach For All and is constantly exchanging with them good practices and know–how on effectively bridging the gap in students’ achievements and granting equal access to high-quality education.
“Plovdiv has marked a steady economic growth, and an increasing number of specialists are needed to provide the human capital for the investors the municipality attracts and for the start-ups and developing local companies at present and in the future. Plovdiv’s success in this direction is closely related to the education provided in the city and the opportunities for qualification of employees”, commented Mr Stefan Stoyanov, Deputy Mayor heading the unit of Education, Business Development, European Policies and International Cooperation of Plovdiv Municipality.
The strategy is for five years – from 2017 to 2022. It will comprise all education levels: kindergartens, secondary schools, vocational schools and universities.The envisaged measures for each education level will complement each other in building an overall vision for the development of education in Plovdiv. The plan will also comprise a road map for its implementation and particular indicators for measuring the results from the performance of the envisaged measures and activities. The leader of the project for strategy elaboration is Dr Anna-Marie Vilamovska. Her team comprises Kristina Ranguelova and Georgi Dyankov as senior analysts. The content of the strategy will be directly consulted with experienced experts of Teach for Bulgaria Foundation: Mrs Evgenia Peeva, Executive Director, Mr Trayan Trayanov, Program Director and Dr Neli Koleva, Head of Public Partnerships.
“Plovdiv Municipality is currently working on several projects innovative for Bulgaria, in the field of education, such as introducing the Montessori Method in municipal kindergartens, creating an educational and industrial board for establishing stronger links between the business and education as well as implementing the Innovative Schools Project in Plovdiv. All these pilot projects are being implemented with the support of Plovdiv Municipality. The education strategy will build on all these efforts and will create a coordinated overall vision for the development of the Education sector”, said Anna-Marie Vilamovska, a lead of the new education strategy of Plovdiv Municipality.
The plan will be based on a detailed research of the current state of education in Plovdiv Municipality. It will comprise statistical data, focal groups and comprehensive interviews with various interested parties, as well as preparation of a detailed SWOT analysis and clearly defined directions of education development with specific success indicators.
Teach for Bulgaria and Plovdiv Municipality have been working together with great success in the past few years. In 2015, Teach for Bulgaria and Plovdiv Municipality concluded a memorandum of cooperation and partnership. Its main priorities are the attraction of highly qualified and motivated young people to the teaching profession and creating good practices in the selection and career development of teachers. The partnership memorandum also comprises the provision of expert and management level consultations and joint elaboration of initiatives, projects and reports to facilitate and support the long-term access to quality education of every Bulgarian child. The joint work on the development of the new Education Strategy of Plovdiv Municipality is the next step towards this end.
Plovdiv region is one of the first in which Teach for Bulgaria Program began operating as early as 2011. Currently, the organization is working in Plovdiv Municipality with three partner schools and seven teachers under the program. The total number of partner schools in the whole district is 14, and the teachers working under the program are 28. Also, Plovdiv University is an academic partner of many years of Teach for Bulgaria with respect to acquiring a professional qualification in teaching by participants in the program and completing the New Way for New Talents in Teaching International Project.