Bulgaria was under the influence of the Soviet Union
until the late 1980s. The education system was hitherto
centralized and focused on the natural sciences, mathematics
and education adapted to the needs of the labor market.
After 1989, the education system was substantially reformed.
The change included curricula, textbooks, examination
systems and teacher training.
Today, the school consists of preschool and primary
school, which includes grades 1-4, grades 5-8 (also called
pre-secondary school) and grades 9-12 (general high school).
Instead of general high school, students can choose a
vocational education that is 2-4 years old. Subsequently,
higher education follows a college or high school. Grades
1–8 are compulsory. Students take national tests at the end
of classes 4, 7 and 9. See TOPSCHOOLSINTHEUSA for TOEFL, ACT, SAT testing locations and high school codes in Bulgaria.
In Bulgaria, about 4 percent of the population state that
they are Roma. The government has introduced some
improvements to facilitate the schooling of the Roma as
these have been largely excluded from the school system. The
country has been granted EU funding to make the situation
better, but not all of these have been taken out.
Private schools are allowed. However, it is relatively
uncommon for students to attend such schools. 1 percent of
pupils in primary school attend private schools. The state
does not subsidize private schools. They are funded by
paying students a school fee.
Higher education in the country consists of university
education, vocational education and artistic education.
After high school graduation, applicants for higher
education are accepted based on results in higher education
The duration of university education is four years for
the undergraduate degree, another one to two years for the
master's degree and another couple of years for postgraduate
education. This training follows the Bologna principles.
About 284,000 read at the advanced level (2016). 54 percent
of these are women and 46 percent are men.