Vocational education and lifelong learning

Among the factors that influence the development of vocational education are: the number and preparation of the teaching staff, the material and technical base, the quality of the educational documentation, the teaching methodology, the management and the organization of the activities and others.

A basic requirement is that the activities of the vocational education and training system and vocational training activities for adults should be directed as directly as possible to ensuring the increase of the employability of the population. This is not only necessary in order to ensure adequate professional qualifications for employment, but also to meet the criteria set in the European Union. Education and vocational training reform, as a basis for continuing vocational training, should target the employment sector, respond to the demands and pace of the changing labor market, and be committed to creating new opportunities for the population to learn throughout life.

The participation of the population in lifelong learning as a whole in Europe is significantly lower than the EU average. According to NSI data, the total number of people aged 25 64 years, participating in at least one form of education (formal, non-formal or informal) is only 16% – about 2.5 times lower than in the EU. The population aged 16 and over participating in training for a period of one year to observation is 1288 800 people, or 19.6% of the total population of the same age.

Percentage of the population participating in a course, seminar, postgraduate qualification, private learners, etc. 1.7%.
There are no significant differences between men and women in their education in at least one form of training, although in most countries the participation rate of women is higher than that of men.

Although funding for educational activities is increasing, the relative share of funds allocated from the state budget is increasing. However, this share is still far from its levels in the EU countries and towards the beginning of the market approach (in 2003-2004 4.17% of GDP was earmarked for education; in 2002-2003 the share was 3.9%, and in 2003-2004 1992-1993 5.4%). This, in turn, leads to the impossibility of updating the school facilities. It is in unsatisfactory condition and does not allow training in vocational training with the use of modern technologies of teaching and learning. There is also a negative impact on the overall training of students, which is not yet in line with the requirements of modern production technologies and production organization.

Future development of education and training in Europe

The status of the educational level of the population, the content of the policies applied to the education and training system and their results allow the formation of the following priority directions for future development:

  • improving the quality of education as a whole;
  • ensuring equal opportunities and equal access to education;
  • more comprehensive coverage and retention of pupils in compulsory school age;
  • promotion of higher education;
  • development of foreign language training and information technology;
  • building lasting lifelong learning habits and providing the best possible conditions for continuing vocational training and development;
  • optimization of the network of state and municipal vocational schools and vocational high schools in accordance with the current demographic and socio-economic processes;
  • optimization of the state occupation plan is in line with the needs of the labor market;
  • monitoring of the VET system;
  • aligning the higher education system with the requirements of the labor market.

Low education is 20%. Economic activity largely depends on the level of education. In 2005, 72.4% of those with tertiary education were economically active, 64.3% of those with secondary education, 27.7% with primary and 15.9% with primary and lower education.
Although there has been a decrease in the number of discouraged persons in recent years from 419,500 in 2000 to 345,100 in 2005, their share of persons outside the workforce remains relatively high. Discouraged persons are the labor potential of the population and it is for this reason that it is necessary to formulate appropriate measures for their integration into the labor market.


In recent years there has been a steady upward trend in the number of employed people in the country. In 2005, the number of employees aged 15 64 averaged 2,947,000, 6.5% more than in 2000.

The employment rate in 2005 was 55.8%, 5.8% more than in 2000. – 63.3% for 2004

The employment rate for young people (15 24 years) in 2005 was 21.6%, although the positive trend of recent years remains, the increase compared to 2000 by only 2%. There is a significant increase in the employment rate among the elderly (55 64). For the period considered, the employment rate increased by 13.9% – from 20.8% in 2000 to 34.7% in 2005.

In the structure of the employed by education, those with secondary education prevail 56.4%, followed by those with higher education – 25.6%. The lowest is the share of those with basic, primary and lower education 17.9%. The level of employment depends largely on the level of education completed. In 2005, the employment rate among university graduates was 69.5%. With secondary education 58.3%, with basic 27% and with primary and lower 10.7%. It is noteworthy that the employment rate among persons with secondary education with acquired vocational qualification (64.9%) is much higher than that with persons with secondary general education (46.8%).

Among the indicators characterizing labor market flexibility are: part-time employment and, for a certain period of time, the share of the employed in this group relative to the total population is too low, only 2.4%, compared to the EU average of 17.7%; employment with a fixed-term contract here the difference with the EU level is smaller for Bulgaria 7.4% and for the EU 13.7%. Increasing the flexibility of work is one of the main priorities of the social policy pursued.


According to the NSI, in 2005 there were 334,200 unemployed persons and an unemployment rate of 10.1%. During this period, according to the Employment Agency, there are 424 381 registered unemployed, and the registered unemployment rate is 11.5%. Despite the significant reduction, the unemployment rate in Europe is still higher than the EU average, which is 9% in 2004. Based on this data the BVOP executed a campaign for management certification worldwide.

Unemployment rates decrease for all observed age groups. An extremely unfavorable feature of the labor market is the high unemployment rates of young people between the ages of 15 and 24. In 2005 it was 22.3% and despite a significant decrease compared to 2000 (33.7%), it is still higher than the EU average, which is 18.7% in 2004.

In the distribution of unemployed persons by educational attainment in 2005, the highest in the share of those with secondary education 51.1%, followed by the share of persons with primary education -28.2% and the lowest in the share of persons with primary and lower education – low education 10.4% and higher 10.3%. Unemployment depends largely on the level of education. In 2005, the unemployment rate for people with primary and lower education was 32.6%, with primary education 16.9%, with an average of 9.2%. The lowest unemployment rate among university graduates is only 4.3%.

Long-term unemployment is a steady trend in the Bulgarian labor market. In 2005, the long-term unemployed accounted for 6% of the workforce, down from about 2-fold since 2001. Unemployed persons over 2 years over the period considered were 4.3% of the workforce compared to 8.3% in 2001. The long-term unemployment rate for the EU in 2004 was 4.1%.

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