School and Education in Bulgaria


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.

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. See for all countries starting with B.

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 exams.

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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.

Country data

Area: 111,002 km2 (world ranking: 102)

Population: 7,076,000

Population density: 64 per km2 (as of 2017, world ranking: 103)

Capital: Sofija (Sofia)

Official languages: Bulgarian

Gross domestic product: 50.4 billion euros; Real growth: 3.6%

Gross national product (GNP, per resident and year): 7760 US$

Currency: 1 lev (Lw) = 100 Stotínki


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Head of State: Rumen Radew, Head of Government: Bojko Borisow, Outside : Ekaterina Zachariewa

National Day: 3.3. (Peace of San Stefano 1878)

Administrative structure
28 districts

State and form of government
Constitution of 1991
Parliamentary republic
Parliament: National Assembly (Narodno sabranje) with 240 members, election every 4 years
Direct election of the head of state every 5 years (one-time re-election)
Mandatory elections from 18 J.

Population: Bulgarians, last census 2011: 7,364,570 residents.
85% Bulgarians, 9% Turks, 5% Roma; Others (Russians, Armenians, Aromanians, Greeks)
Proportion of foreigners 2017: 1.1%

Cities (with population): (As of 2017) Sofija (Sofia) 1,238,438 inh., Plovdiv 345,213, Varna 335,854, Burgas 202,694, Ruse 144,125, Stara Zagora 136,307, Pleven 97,557, Sliven 87,063, Dobric 84,502, Sumen 75,837, Pernik 73,638, Chaskowo 71,214,417, Yambol 68,846

Religions: 76% Orthodox, 10% Muslim, 1% Protestant; 12% without religion or no information (status: 2006)

Languages: Bulgarian; Minority languages: Turkish, Russian, Armenian, Aromanian, Macedonian, Tatar, Greek, Romanian, German, Albanian, Ladino, Romani

Employees by economic sector: Agriculture. 6%, industry 29%, business 65% (2017)

Unemployment (in% of all labor force): 2017: 6.2%

Inflation rate (in%): 2017: 1.2%

Foreign trade: import: 30.2 billion euros (2017); Export: 26.6 billion euros (2017)