History of Bulgarian Education

The first schools in Bulgaria were opened in the 8th century by the Tzar Boris I and the Tzar Simeon The Great. Two notable Universities were also established in that period at Ohrid and Preslav, with the one in Ohrid having more than 3000 students at one point.

Modern schools began opening in the early 19th century (during the National Revival) first for boys and then for girls. Those schools provided only basic education, such as reading, writing, and basic arithmetic. Students who wished to continue their education had to go study abroad. After Bulgaria overturned the Turkish yoke in 1878, it started laying the foundations of its educational system. In 1878 the government passed the Temporary Law on National Schools. This law stimulated the establishment of schools in villages. However, many peasants did not let their children attend school because they thought education was not relevant to peasant life. Furthermore, several universities were established in the period 1878 - 1918. Educational process in Bulgaria was disrupted during the Balkan Wars (1912 - 1913) and World War I. By the mid-1920s normal function of schools had been restored.

During the communist era, the Soviet Union had a great impact on Bulgarian educational system. A new form of education was brought in. Emphasis on liberal arts was replaced by increased technical training. In 1979 Zhivkov created the Unified Secondary Polytechnical School, which was a twelve-grade program focusing mainly on technical subjects. After the end of the Zhivkov Era, the Bulgarian educational system was completely reconstructed. The government sought to depoliticize the system and take the opinions of others into consideration.