The bell rings for 57,000 first-graders, over 700,000 students enter class

The bell rings for 57,000 first-graders, over 700,000 students enter class
The bell rings for 57,000 first-graders, over 700,000 students enter class

The new school year begins. Over 717,000 students will cross the threshold of classrooms. Of these, 57,000 are first graders, which is two thousand children less than last year. Unlike the last two pandemic years, this September 15 is shaping up to be a more festive one, with appropriate celebrations planned by most schools thanks to declining Covid cases.

In nearly 900 schools, repairs were made during the summer, they will continue in 46 educational institutions and learning will take place in other buildings.

All students and teachers are provided with conditions for conducting a normal educational process. Free textbooks and study kits for students up to seventh grade have already been delivered, there are textbooks for visually impaired students and those studying in European schools. Schools also have a significant amount of technology, including computers and electronic whiteboards.

There will be an increased police presence around schools across the country today. The Ministry of the Interior appealed to drivers, students and parents to follow the traffic rules around educational institutions.

The Minister of Education and Science, Prof. Sasho Penov, will attend the opening of the academic year at 18 “William Gladstone” Secondary School in Sofia (10:00 a.m.), and at 1:30 p.m. he will visit “Hristo Smirnenski” PGZPT in Karlovo. Deputy Minister Maria Gaidarova will open the STEM center and the new school year at the “Ivan Vazov” language high school in Plovdiv at 9:30 a.m. She will also be at the start of the academic school year at the Medical University in the city (11 a.m.). Deputy Minister Nadya Mladenova will be at the celebration at “St. St. Cyril and Methodius” Primary School in the village of Aprilovo, Gorna Malina municipality, from 10:30 a.m. Deputy Minister Prof. Albena Chavdarova will open the school year at EG. Vasil Karagyozov” in Yambol at 9:00 a.m.

President Rumen Radev will take part in the ceremonial opening of the new school year in the capital’s 43rd OU “Hristo Smirnenski”, and Vice President Iliana Yotova – in 191 OU in Zheleznitsa.

Prime Minister Galab Donev will be in 60 primary schools, of which he was a graduate.

The Minister of Education and Science, Sasho Penov, will open the academic year at the capital’s 18th SU “William Gladstone”, and in the afternoon he will visit the “Hristo Smirnenski” Vocational High School for Railway Transport in Karlovo. Penov’s deputy, Maria Gaidarova, will open a STEM center and the new academic year at the “Ivan Vazov” language high school in Plovdiv. It will also be at the start of the academic year at the Medical University in the city. The other deputy ministers – Nadia Mladenova will be at the celebration at the “St. St. Cyril and Methodius” elementary school in the village of Aprilovo, Gorna Malina municipality, and Prof. Albena Chavdarova at the EG “Vasil Karagyozov” in Yambol.

The Minister of Economy and Industry Nikola Stoyanov will be at the official opening of the academic year at the German language high school, and the Minister of Tourism Ilin Dimitrov – at the official opening of the new academic year 2022/23 at the University of Economics – Varna

The Mayor of Sofia, Yordanka Fandakova, will be a guest at the 28th SU in the city of “Krasna Polyana”. From this academic year, the school has a new building, the new building has 10 classrooms intended for students in the elementary course from 1 to 4 grades, an assembly hall and new football, basketball and volleyball courts).

What’s new for students in the new school year?

In the new school year, each student’s ID card will be the only document that remains on paper, and the notebook can be on paper or electronic – at the discretion of the schools.

From the academic year 2022/2023, Bulgarian education will have a new integrated management system, and this is the National Electronic Information System for Preschool and School Education (NEISPUO). In this system, almost all of our education is digitized and all data will be in it, they will be processed more easily, but at the beginning it is difficult, said Asen Alexandrov – chairman of the Association of Principals in Secondary Education. He is also the director of the 51st Secondary School “Elisaveta Bagryana” in Sofia.

The new integrated system will contain all the data about our education – the electronic diaries will be in it, there will also be electronic files of the students with information about them from the first to the 12th grade, explained Asen Alexandrov. He specified that in this electronic file there will be everything that happens with a given student – every test or note will be published in the system. Student transfers will also now be done electronically rather than using a paper document. “In this way, our educational system becomes the most digitized system in Bulgaria, because 100,000 teachers, 700,000 students and one and a half million parents will have access to NEISPUO,” commented the chairman of the Association of Directors in Secondary Education.

However, school principals said they initially found it difficult to enter data into the new unified electronic education system, which should benefit teachers, students and parents. The MES assured that there will be time and opportunity for the schools to enter the information in the new system.

Another news for the new school year is that students from the 5th to the 7th grade will have shorter school hours from September 16 – 40 instead of 45 minutes.

Bulgarian, mathematics and geography classes are increasing. Fifth graders will have 1.5 hours more study per week – half an hour extra for mathematics, Bulgarian and geography. Sixth graders will study half an hour more in Bulgarian and half an hour extra in mathematics, or 1 hour more per week. Their total number of hours per week also increases to 32, which is the maximum for seventh graders (from 31.5 to 32 hours per week). For them, however, the change is the lightest – their hours increase by half an hour per week only in geography, or by 18 hours per year. Next year, mathematics should be increased by another half hour per week.

There are also changes in the holidays, such as the interim becomes five days. Next year it is scheduled between February 1 and 5. There are no major changes to the rest of the holidays – the autumn one will be a day longer, the Christmas one a day shorter, and the 10-day spring holiday will start on April 8, instead of the traditional April 1.

There are no changes to the exams, except for the 10th grade (scheduled for May 29 and 30, when there will also be tests for seventh graders starting at 9 a.m.), which will now start at 11 a.m. instead of 10 a.m. .

There will be no new curricula as originally expected. The Ministry of Education and Culture has begun a major review of the programs from 1st to 10th grade, asking a wide range of students, teachers and parents what should be changed in them. As a result of the surveys, a number of weaknesses were highlighted – overcrowding with information, unclear language in the textbooks, content inappropriate for the age of the students, etc. Proposals were also made for specific revisions – mostly in the Bulgarian language programs, but also in mathematics, geography, biology, informatics. These will be examined by working groups with the participation of teachers, psychologists, etc. Only after that, the possible changes in the curricula will be proposed for public discussion. The deadline for this is October 31, 2022. So we can expect new programs around Christmas at the earliest, and new textbooks will have to wait a little longer.

Concerns about the upcoming education of students due to the coronavirus pandemic have not completely disappeared, with decisions about the transition to online education will be made by the Ministry of Health. However, there are growing fears of the gas crisis and the danger that due to a lack of sufficient funds for heating, schools will go on a “wooden vacation” in the winter.

“Funds will be provided for heating the schools and kindergartens. Training will be attended and distance lessons in a possible COVID situation will only be switched to in force majeure circumstances”. This was stated two days before September 15 in front of the directors of 574 educational institutions in Sofia by the acting Minister of Education and Science Prof. Sasho Penov. He emphasized that the advantages of face-to-face training are indisputable, but after two years of a pandemic, the experience and opportunities offered by online training can be used.

The article is in bulgaria

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