вторник, 10 март 2015 г.

The Idea about Funding Private Schools and Kindergartens in New Bulgarian Education Legislation (Идеята за финасиране на частните училища и детски градини в новото българското образователно законодателство)

Моят доклад от научната конференция на ЕПУ "Образование, наука, иновации" 2014 е на тема: "The Idea about Funding Private Schools and Kindergartens in New Bulgarian Education Legislation" е публикуван на стр. 207-211.
Темата беше актуална при представянето на проекта за закон на ГЕРБ в предишния парламент, когато не се стигна до гласуване и приемане, но тя е част и от новия закон, който в момента се обсъжда в Народното събрание.

  "The Idea about Funding Private Schools and Kindergartens in New Bulgarian Education Legislation"


The educational reforms in the Bulgarian school given the huge number of affected persons have enjoyed great public interest and provoke serious debate both at political level and also in different formats discussions in civil society. Attempts for change, reform and innovation in education are reflected widely in the media – national and regional, print and digital. They always tried to influence on public opinion or to create one.

Object of study is a paragraph in the Law on pre-school and school education, which was prepared and offered by Political Party GERB in 2012-2013.

Subject of study are the discussions and the public reaction to a new paragraph in the Law on pre-school and school education and attempting to influence management decisions regarding school and participants – teachers and students.

The methodology of the study includes two phases:
- Analyzing the new draft on Law on pre-school and school education;
- Analysis of public and media publications, reflecting the attitude of the Government, Ministry of Education, Youth and Science, members on the National Assembly, politicians, students, teachers, parents, citizens and their organizations (initiative committees, NGOs, trade unions, parties and other formal and informal associations) about proposed idea to fund the private schools.

The used methods are:
- Pedagogical thematic analysis of the new draft on Law on pre-school and school education;
- Problem analysis on rhetorical performances, information media posts, comments in forums, authors articles, press-conferences, speeches, statements, and video.

As primary sources for gathering empirical data on public reaction were used: Internet-based electronic editions of national and regional newspapers, websites of organizations and institutions, personal blogs, videos from YouTube, forums, Face book.

Key assumption: Resistance to change from stakeholders.

Pedagogical thematic analysis of the New Draft on Law on pre-school and school education

Two different teams from the Ministry of Education, Youth and Science prepared two projects. First began to work in 2009 and by the autumn of 2010 was prepared and posted on the website of the Ministry for public comment. After unofficial data by its creators have received over 3000 comments and recommendations. In November after the change of the Deputy Minister in charge of secondary education, which was in September, it was decided that the work on the draft law must to stop and start working on a new one. As a result, during the month of March 2011 was published Concept of basic principles and innovative moments in the new draft Law on pre-school and school education [3]. Himself a draft law was posted on the same website in October 2012 and in a separate text are given the reasons for the need of it. It was stated that: "The draft Law on pre-school and school education aims to address major challenges that modern society poses Bulgarian education. The main purpose of education can no longer be mechanical digestion and reproduction of ready sets of knowledge. In the information age, in the knowledge society, the main goal of education should be the development of skills for handling complex constantly changing information and learning methods of learning key skills and attitudes for lifelong learning."[7]
Since November 2012 began public debates at different levels – a discussion in the Committee on Education in National Assembly and discussions in schools, communities, professional organizations, print and digital media, television debates, meetings, petitions, comments in internet forums and many others.
This draft law has caused a stir public debate in many directions in mind:
- Serious structural changes that are set in it related to the proposed new structure of education, namely primary education degree in two stages: primary (I – IV grade) and junior high (V – VII grade) and secondary in two stages: first high school level (VIII – X grade) and second high school (XI – XII grade);
- The emergence of new units in the management of the school – Public Councils and the National Education Inspectorate;
- Terminological ambiguities – education for preschool ages instead preparation and readiness for school;
- Funding of private education;
- The change of status of some schools such as vocational schools who go from state to municipalities;
- The creation of a new unified school (I – X grade);
- The closure of certain types of schools and support units;
- The creation of community Centers for personal development;
- Limiting the powers of school boards;
- Replacement of quantitative assessments of quality by third grade;
- The possibility to go to the next class in the presence of weak evaluations;
- And last but not least the introduction of compulsory pre-school education for children of 4 years old.
The Law came into discussion in National Assembly and parts of the texts were adopted, but the account submitted in February 2013 years resignation of the government of Boyko Borissov was not fully adopted.
In May 2013, a group of members of GERB again submitted for consideration this Law.
Simultaneously, the team of new Minister of Education is working on a revised text of the controversial, raised many objections and discontent. Discussions continue and when and whether it will be passed this law stand to see.

Problem analysis on rhetorical performances, information media posts, comments in forums, authors articles, press-conferences, speeches, statements, and video related to the idea of financing a private education.

It's about students receive their support as the single standard cost whether in public or private school. Since 2008, these students only receive free textbooks.
The idea of funding private education causes mixed reactions and presented widely on the web. The number of publications on this topic placing it second only to publications on the topic of compulsory education for four years. Participants in the debate by representatives of the government, MPs from different parties, parents, representatives of NGOs, journalists, citizens and experts.
Public discussion of the Draft Law began in 2012, culminated in January 2013 during the discussion and adoption by the National Assembly and continues to lead in February and March. The subject became topical again after re-deposition of the law by a group of members of GERD at the end of May and the two interviews on the new Minister of Education in June and July.
The official position of the importers of GERB is that "between 10 and 12 million leva will be released annually from the state budget for private schools in Bulgaria, if the proposal is adopted ... Through these means, the private schools will only finance activities for curriculum and extra costs will continue to be paid by the parents of students in these schools. ... Private schools in Bulgaria are 165 and kindergartens, with the permission of the Minister of Education are about 45. The number of students in private schools, which are now compulsory school age, is around 8000. About 2,000 children are in private kindergartens in the country." [4] The arguments of the importers are that, it's not a lot of money, but rather they talk for right of these children and their parents to receive a subsidy from the state, which is given to students in the municipal and state schools.
Desislava Boshnakova, board member of the Steering Committee of parenting – a non-profit public benefit to protect children's rights to equal access to education, support and protection, protects the proposed change in the law. According to her: "The principle of "money follows the student" seeks state equally and equally bear the cost of the educational requirements to have all children in Bulgarian schools. ... As a parent, the only thing I want is for my children to receive equal treatment and equal, regardless of what schools teach or who’s the property. Otherwise, it is difficult to tell them that the state takes care of them and even more difficult to bring up in respect because they have not received such – not upheld their choice where to study." [1]
Extensive and well-reasoned response to the question: "Why the state should not fund private schools" gives Marian Karagiozov by presenting a number of examples of countries that are not funded or private education or have declined voucher system. "Argument" does not divide the children "is classical technique to manipulate, which is based on emotion, but not on the deliberate reflection of the situation. Why sane person would want to divide the children? The question, however, is that not society but their parents (in most cases fully consciously and aim precisely that) wants them separated. It’s unfair by taxes to be supported entrepreneurial projects, as are private schools because it contradicts the logic of the market and distorts competition because private schools are subsidized by more sources than government. It is illogical to argue that the rich are discriminated – as a rule they have much greater access to educational opportunities as well as knowledge and skills how to assert their rights. Also, the state has already indirectly support private schools and kindergartens, with providing free textbooks and with exercise books and other materials." [6]
"In the government there is disagreement on the bill for schools , especially in that it provides money from the state budget to be financed and children in private schools and kindergartens. " – Informed by Mediapool in March 2012. [2] At a meeting of the Council of Ministers discussed the consequences of this measure. According to Deputy Finance Minister separation of money from the limited state resources to fund private schools is premature and keeps quite hidden risks in terms of secondary education, and in terms of private kindergartens, municipalities will have to look for resources to finance them. He said:"The principle money follows the student is good. He is a liberal approach displayed in most countries, but it must be made when the base standard and system of secondary education provided by the State is fully developed and all the problems are solved. Then, it must be borne in mind that in Western practices, which have been introduced and validated these models, when the state funded largely the fees paid by parents are minimal. While our fee of 7-8 thousand lev, which is paid a year or a period in a private school, do not know how they will be reduced by 1000 or 2000 lev, which the state pays for this student. This should be guaranteed to have a truly equal access and when a student go in a state or a private school has the same opportunity."[2] The Minister of Education, however, speak in support of the idea, and say he is prepared to do the same when considering the law in the National Assembly.
Concern about the consequences of envisaged changes in the law is and the "Solidarity Bulgaria" in an open letter to the Minister of Education. The letter refers to the inadmissibility of the financing of private education is also expressed disagreement with the establishment of community councils as a new control, with the passage of the professional schools at the disposal of the municipalities and the abolition of quantitative assessments and the ability to switch to a higher class of academic underachievement and underperformance enshrined in Art. 122 Art. 123 project.[8]
To 7.02 2013 during the discussion in the plenary of the National Assembly Ivelin Nikolov – MP from Bulgarian Socialistishen Party argues that not all have private schools and private kindergartens and warns that if the text is accepted, you will need as citizens of Gabrovo, to pay for private schools and kindergartens in Sofia. He warned that there are hundreds of opinions, questioning the text and referred to the opinion of Bansko, according to which, if adopted text, private schools will be eligible, and state and municipal - discrimination.
Stanislav Stanilov of "Attack" criticizes the government, that this text government violated basic principles of capitalism. "Violated and the memorandum of the European Union , where it is said that private capital cannot be funded by the state, and you plead just that", and set the text as discriminatory. Discrimination are public schools because private schools charge fees, and receive state funding, he said.
Vanya Dobreva – MP from Bulgarian Socialistishen Party identify text as an act of voluntarism and social irresponsibility. In her introduction of state funding for private schools and kindergartens is unfounded.
Veselin Metodiev – MP from The Blue Coalition argued that we have over 3000 public schools and 100 - private, which he said was a drop in the sea. "You cannot cross out private initiative in education. Who needs that? "He said and urged developed regulations "money follows the student" to be followed. According Metodiev courage importers of this text is discouraged by the lack of courage in the Treasury.
Yanaky Stoilov – MP from Bulgarian Socialistishen Party say that according to principle "money follows the student" should be corrected, as it leads to distortions. "Access to education should be equal, "he categorically warned that the drop in the sea can become "drop of tar".
GERB appealed text to be read correctly before lawmakers vote to think about Bulgarian child. "It does not matter where you train. It has to get money for their education, "stressed GERB and promised that he would not be harmed children from small towns.
During the parliamentary discussion on this paragraph of the law are clearly distinguish left from right positions. BSP MPs are opposed, while right wing supported the idea. Nationalist and populist party "Attack" is also against the financing of private schools and kindergartens. GERB defend its proposal with appeals for equality, which also sounded populist.
Despite opposition from civil society organizations and dissent on the part of the opposition in the National Assembly, the controversial Article 10, which states that students in private schools and private kindergartens will receive government subsidies supported by 73 MPs, while 12 voted "against". [5]

Final conclusions

The results of the analyzes and conclusions allow us to say that the hypothesis for the resistance to change on the part of stakeholders convincingly proved by many arguments and facts. On the other hand it can be a global conclusion that for educational reform can proceed if and only if there are positive attitudes formed and agreed upon by all stakeholders and actors in civil society.
Undoubtedly, the Bulgarian school is in need of legal prerequisites for its optimization and innovation, but they will not happen, if not previously provided support inside and outside. And as most conducive to the formation of public opinion among large groups of people in recent years have digital media and social network. Their influence can no longer be ignored by those in power, and should be used for the purposes of information and communication campaigns in support of education reform, legislation and innovation in educational practice. Opinions and recommendations of teachers, educational managers and experts have to be appreciated and be a base for agreement on the issue of the importance of education to achieve national prosperity and receiving international recognition in the scale of European education.

1.     Boschnakova, D. Whether the money will follow the children. 17.02.2012. Web 10. June. 2014. <http://www.euinside.eu/bg/comments/whether-the-money-will-follow-the-children>
2.     Bozukova, M., In the government has reservations financing of private schools. 30. 03. 2012. Web 10. June. 2014. <http://www.mediapool.bg/v-kabineta-ima-rezervi-kam-finansiraneto-na-chastnite-uchilishta-news191303.html>
3.     Concept of basic principles and innovative moments in the new draft Law on pre-school and school education, 2009, Web 10. June. 2014. <http://www.minedu.government.bg/opencms/export/sites/mon/news-home/2009/kontseptsia-22-03-2011.pdf>
4.     Evropeiska, Evg. Experts argue the idea the state to fund private schools. 15.02.2012. Web 10. June. 2014. <http://www.investor.bg/ikonomika-i-politika/332/a/eksperti-argumentiraha-ideiata-dyrjavata-da-finansira-chastnite-uchilishta,130244/>
5.     Ivanova, I. After 2016 governmental subsidy also for private Education. 07. 02. 2013. Web 10. June. 2014. <http://news.ibox.bg/news/id_945372928>
6.     Karagozov, M. Why the state should not fund private schools. 27.02.2012. Web 10. June. 2014. <http://www.euinside.eu/bg/comments/why-the-state-should-not-fund-private-schools>
8.     Position on Association “Solidarity Bulgaria” 28. 03. 2012. Web 10. June. 2014.  <http://solidbul.eu/?p=10>

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