Brexit Disclaimer
This website as well as the publications and online tools accessible via this website may contain UK data and analysis based on research conducted before the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union on 31 January 2020. EU averages or other statistical parameters including the UK reflect the situation in the European Union before 31 January 2020 and should not be considered as representative of the situation in the EU thereafter. Any data or information pertaining to the UK will be gradually phased out from Cedefop’s website, publications and online tools, as ongoing research projects with the United Kingdom’s participation are concluded. Data coming from UK were collected, processed and published before its withdrawal from the EU. Therefore, EU averages contain UK related data up to 2019.

General themes

VET in Romania comprises the following main features:

  • VET has a double role: promoting economic and social development in the country; it supports addressing challenges linked to very low participation in lifelong learning and a high share of early leavers from education and training;
  • training standards were updated in 2016 to increase the relevance of qualifications to the labour market.

Since 2017/18, a dual form of initial VET has also been available; participation is growing but still low.

Distinctive features ([1]Cedefop (2019). Spotlight on vocational education and training in Romania. Luxembourg: Publications Office.
http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/8128_en.pdf
):

Distinctive features of initial VET are its inclusiveness, with pathways among different levels of learning and between vocational and more academic tracks, and its focus on easing progression and avoiding dead ends. Reflecting the double role of VET in promoting economic as well as social development, initial VET’s main goals are to ensure:

  • learners’ personal and professional development;
  • equal access opportunities to VET;
  • high-quality provision, organisation and development.

Initial VET qualifications are based on training standards which describe the training process in units of learning outcomes and include, for each unit, an assessment standard. The standards were revised in 2016, to help increase VET labour market relevance by ensuring a better match between qualifications and the reality of working life after graduation.

Creating sector committees, which represent the various sectors of the economy, made the involvement of social partners in designing and assessing vocational qualifications more systemic. To ease education planning, social partners also participate in partnerships at regional level (regional consortia) and local level (local committees for social partnership development in VET).

During the past decade, Romania has developed a system for validating non-formally or informally acquired skills and competences. In line with guidelines adopted by the National Authority for Qualifications, procedural arrangements have been put in place to create a network of providers acting as validation/assessment centres. These centres are active in more than half of the counties.

Investments to support the institutional development of education and training are still few.

The main challenges are unequal access to education and training and the high rate of early leaving; this particularly affects children in rural areas, from poor communities, and Roma. The 2015-20 Strategy to reduce early school leaving was developed to address these challenges, and a mechanism will be established for early warning and intervention that will help detect young learners at risk of leaving school.

Another challenge is to reduce youth unemployment by fostering skills acquisition and securing smooth and sustainable transitions from education and training to the labour market.

The National Centre for Technical and Vocational Education and Training Development introduced the dual form as part of initial VET, leading to a level 3 EQF qualification; it will be extended to levels 4 and 5 EQF. The VET Strategy 2016-20 aims for better links between VET provision and labour market demand. In this respect the centre will launch in 2019 an ESF-funded project that will develop:

  • a mechanism for quality-assuring work-based learning and certification of learning outcomes;
  • a mechanism to adjust the education and training offer to labour market demand;
  • a monitoring system for initial VET graduates;
  • a mechanism for identifying, rewarding and promoting excellence in initial VET.

Continuing VET also addresses the unemployment challenge, with variable duration training programmes linked to labour market needs; depending on the EQF qualification level addressed, these can be from 180 hours for level 1 to 1 080 for level 4.

Participation in lifelong learning is the lowest in the EU and has slightly fallen since 2013. The attractiveness of CVET, and the participation of adults in it, are also of concern. The 2015-20 Strategy for lifelong learning is currently addressing these challenges with a number of actions to increase participation in training, improve recognition of prior learning (including non-formal and informal), increase the quality and relevance of training through a new act on quality assurance in adult learning, and coordinate stakeholder actions. In November 2018, the labour ministry developed a list of elementary occupations giving unskilled adults access to participation in programmes leading to qualifications at EQF level 1, such as six-month apprenticeship programmes.

Data from VET in Romania Spotlight 2019 ([2]Cedefop (2016). Spotlight on vocational education and training in Romania. Luxembourg: Publications Office.
http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/8128_en.pdf
).

Population in 2018: 19 530 631 ([3]NB: Data for population as of 1 January; break in series. Eurostat table tps00001 [extracted 16.5.2019].)

It decreased since 2013 by 2.4% due to negative natural growth and emigration ([4]NB: Data for population as of 1 January; break in series. Eurostat table tps00001 [extracted 16.5.2019].).

As in many other EU countries, the population is ageing.

The old-age dependency ratio is expected to increase from 25 in 2015 to 57 in 2060 ([5]Old-age-dependency ratio is defined as the ratio between the number of persons aged 65 and more over the number of working-age persons (15-64). The value is expressed per 100 persons of working age (15-64).).

 

Population forecast by age group and old-age-dependency ratio

Source: Eurostat, proj_15ndbims [extracted 16.5.2019].

 

Demographic changes have an impact on VET.

Participation in secondary education has been decreasing, leading to optimisation of the school network: merging, and sometimes closing, schools.

Since 2012/13, the number of VET upper secondary schools has decreased by 8.5% ([6]INS-TEMPO-online database: education units, by categories of units, ownerships, macro regions, development regions and counties [SCL101A] at the beginning of school year; exclude ‘vocational’ high schools (military, theology, sports, music, visual arts, theatre, cultural heritage, choreography, pedagogy).). School network optimisation required offering additional transportation for learners; this issue is addressed by local authorities.

The country is multicultural. According to the most recent census, 88.9% of the population declared themselves as Romanians, 6.1% as ethnic Hungarians and 3% as Roma ([7]INS (2011). Recensământul Populaţiei şi al Locuinţelor [Census of population and housing].
http://www.recensamantromania.ro/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/REZULTATE-DEFINITIVE-RPL_2011.pdf
). Their residential density varies across the country.

For the Hungarian population enrolled in initial VET, teaching may also be provided in Hungarian.

Most companies are micro and small-sized.

Services are the main economic sector in terms of contribution to gross value added to the national economy. They accounted for 62.7% of all economic activities in 2017. The share of industry was 32.5% and agriculture 4.8% ([8]NB: Provisional data. Source: Eurostat table, nama_10_a10 [extracted 7.3.2019].).

The main export sectors are:

  • machinery/mechanical appliances, electronics, electrical equipment and its parts (28.4% of total export in 2017); 
  • transportation means and associated equipment (18.1%);
  • base metals and their products (8.5%).

Employers value formal qualifications that are often a prerequisite for hiring qualified staff.

Total unemployment ([9]Percentage of active population, 25 to 74 years old.) in 2018: 3.3% (6.0% in EU 28); it decreased by 1.0 percentage point since 2008 ([10]Eurostat table une_rt_a [extracted 20.5.2019].).

 

Unemployment rate (aged 15-24 and 25-64) by education attainment level in 2008-18

NB: Data based on ISCED 2011; breaks in time series; low reliability for ISCED 5-8, age 15-24. ISCED 0-2 = less than primary, primary and lower secondary education.
ISCED 3-4 = upper secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary education.
ISCED 5-8 = tertiary education.
Source: Eurostat, lfsa_urgaed [extracted 16.5.2019].

 

Unemployment is distributed unevenly between those with low- and high-level qualifications, but the gaps are small. The differences are bigger for the age group 15-24. There, people with higher qualifications (ISCED levels 5-8) were more exposed to unemployment than those with lower qualifications (ISCED levels 0-2) during the economic crisis years.

Unemployment levels have been steady since the pre-crisis period; ISCED level 5-8 graduates were affected the most by the crisis. In 2018, the unemployment rate of people with medium-level qualifications, including most VET graduates (ISCED levels 3 and 4), was lower compared to the pre-crisis years. It was similar to the total unemployment rate ([11]Percentage of active population, 25 to 74 years old.) in Romania (3.3%).

The employment rate of 20 to 34-year-old VET graduates increased from 77.5% in 2014 to 79.5% in 2018 ([12]Eurostat table edat_lfse_24 [extracted 16.5.2019].).

 

Employment rate of VET graduates (20 to 34 years old, ISCED levels 3 and 4)

NB: Data based on ISCED 2011; breaks in time series.
ISCED 3-4 = upper secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary education.
Source: Eurostat, edat_lfse_24 [extracted 16.5.2019].

 

The increase (+2.0pp) in employment of 20-34 year-old VET graduates at ISCED levels 3 and 4 in 2014-18 was slower compared to the increase in employment of all 20-34 year-old graduates (+2.8 pp) in the same period in Romania ([13]NB: Breaks in time series. Source: Eurostat, edat_lfse_24 [extracted 16.5.2019].).

However, the employment rate of 20-34 year-old VET graduates at ISCED levels 3 and 4 in 2018 in Romania (79.5%) was higher compared to the employment rate of all 20-34 year-old graduates in the same year (76.7%).

In 2018, the share of population aged 25 to 64 with upper secondary education including vocational education (ISCED levels 3 and 4) was 60.7%, the fourth highest in the EU.

The share of 25-64 year-olds with low or without education was 21.5%, slightly less than the EU average. 17.8% of the population had a higher education diploma.

 

Population (aged 25 to 64) by highest education level attained in 2018

NB: Data based on ISCED 2011. Low reliability for ‘No response’ in Czechia, Iceland, Latvia and Poland. ISCED 0-2 = less than primary, primary and lower secondary education.
ISCED 3-4 = upper secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary education.
ISCED 5-8 = tertiary education.
Source: Eurostat, lfsa_pgaed [extracted 16.5.2019].

 

Share of learners in VET by level in 2017

lower secondary

upper secondary

post-secondary

not applicable

56.2%

100%

Source: Eurostat, educ_uoe_enrs01, educ_uoe_enrs04 and educ_uoe_enrs07 [extracted 16.5.2019].

 

Share of initial VET learners from total learners at upper secondary level (ISCED level 3), 2017

NB: Data based on ISCED 2011.
Source: Eurostat, educ_uoe_enrs04 [extracted 16.5.2019].

 

Traditionally, there are more males in VET (57.9% in 2016 in upper secondary education), except at post-secondary level ([14]Source: Eurostat tables educ_uoe_enrs01, educ_uoe_enrs04 and educ_uoe_enrs07 [extracted 26.2.2019].).

Romanian initial VET offer is provided within:

  • the professional school (three-year VET programme, leading to level EQF level 3 qualification), and the dual initial VET that is currently provided at EQF level 3;
  • technological high schools / colleges (four-year technological programmes leading to EQF level 4, ISCED 354 (liceu tehnologic);
  • technological high schools / colleges (one- to three-year higher VET programmes leading to a professional qualification at EQF level 5, ISCED 453).

There are three main study fields: technical, services, natural resources and environmental protection.

Males prefer the technical field, whereas females enrol more often in services and natural resources and environmental protection.

The share of early leavers from education and training has decreased from 16.6% in 2009 to 16.4% in 2018. In 2009-18, it has been above the national target for 2020 of not more than 11.3% and the EU-28 average (10.6% in 2018).

 

Early leavers from education and training in 2009-18

NB: Share of the population aged 18 to 24 with at most lower secondary education and not in further education or training; break in series.
Source: Eurostat, edat_lfse_14 [extracted 16.5.2019] and European Commission: https://ec.europa.eu/info/2018-european-semester-national-reform-programmes-and-stability-convergence-programmes_en [accessed 14.11.2018].

 

Drop-out rate ([15]School dropout rate is the difference between the number of learners enrolled at the beginning and registered at the end of the same school year divided by the total number of learners enrolled at the beginning of the school year.) among VET learners is higher compared with general education and is predominant among groups at risk: young people in rural communities and/or from low-income families, Roma and other minorities, and those required to repeat the same grade because of poor performance. There are also disparities between regions. For example, in the north-east region drop-out is 23.6% compared with 11.3% in the west region. It is also 1.5 times higher in rural than in urban areas in lower secondary education ([16]Ministry of National Education (2015). Strategy to reduce early school leaving 2015-20, approved by Government Decision No 417/2015.
https://edu.ro/strategia-privind-reducerea-p%C4%83r%C4%83sirii-timpurii-%C8%99colii-%C3%AEn-rom%C3%A2nia
) ([17]Eurostat, edat_lfse_16 [extracted 17.9.2018].).

The 2015-20 strategy ([18]Ministry of National Education (2015). Strategy to reduce early school leaving 2015-20. Approved by Government Decision No 417/2015.
https://edu.ro/strategia-privind-reducerea-p%C4%83r%C4%83sirii-timpurii-%C8%99colii-%C3%AEn-rom%C3%A2nia
) aims to address the issue of early leaving from education and training. It combines prevention, intervention (especially at school and learner levels) and compensation measures.

Lifelong learning offers training opportunities for adults, including early leavers from education.

 

Participation in lifelong learning in 2014-18

NB: Share of adult population aged 25 to 64 participating in education and training.
Source: Eurostat, trng_lfse_01 [extracted 16.5.2019].

 

Participation in lifelong learning in Romania has decreased from 1.5% in 2014 to 0.9% in 2018. It is below the EU28 average and Romania’s objective 2020 of at least 10% ([19]https://eacea.ec.europa.eu/national-policies/eurydice/content/lifelong-learning-strategy-64_en)

Discussions between national policy makers and Cedefop ([20]On 26 and 27 September 2018, in Bucharest.) have revealed how citizens perceive participation in lifelong learning. While official certificates/diplomas are highly valued by learners and employers, non-formal training not offering such certificates is not always seen by learners as lifelong learning and is possibly not reported as such to the statistical authorities.

Participation in initial VET

 

Number of learners in public schools

 

 

2017/18

2013/14

Age

three-year programmes

(ISCED-P 352, învățământ profesional) ([21]The figures for 2013/14 relate to the two-year professional programmes organised after the ninth grade of technological high school that have been replaced starting with the school year 2014/15 with the current three-year professional programmes organised after grade 8.)

87 841

26 361

14/15-16/17

Out of which: short VET programmes (ISCED-P 352)

671

2 056

 

four-year technological programmes

(ISCED-P 354, liceu tehnologic)

266 031

376 963

14/15-18/19

four-year vocational programmes

(ISCED-P 354, EQF level 4)

50 915

49 395

14/15-18/19

Upper secondary education (total including general, vocational, technological and professional programmes)

715 151

786 815

17-18/19

post-secondary VET programmes (ISCED-P 453),

51 973

55 296

18/19+

Source: National Institute of Statistics, education statistics for school years 2013/14 and 2017/18): high school education at the beginning of school year; professional, post-high school and foremen school at the beginning of school year.

The education and training system comprises:

  • early education (ISCED level 0):
    • early pre-school level (age up to three);
    • pre-school education (age three to six);
  • primary education (ISCED level 1):
    • preparatory grade (age six to seven);
    • grades 1 to 4;
  • secondary education (ISCED levels 2 and 3):
    • lower secondary education (ISCED 2, grades 5 to 8) ([22]Also called ‘gymnasium’ (gimnaziu).)
    • upper secondary education (ISCED 3) ([23]Also called ‘secondary superior education’.), which comprises VET programmes;
  • post-secondary VET programmes (ISCED level 4) ([24]Postliceu.)
  • higher education (ISCED levels 5, 6, 7, and 8).

Early education is not compulsory and is divided into early pre-school level (age up to three), and pre-school education (age three to six).

Compulsory education starts at primary school (age six) and it includes primary, lower secondary and the first two years of upper secondary education (grades 9 and 10), for a total of 11 years.

Primary education is divided into a preparatory grade (age six to seven), and in grades 1 to 4 (ages 7 to 11). Secondary education is divided into lower secondary education (ISCED level 2, grades 5 to 8, ages 11 to 15) ([25]Gimnaziu.), and upper secondary education (ISCED level 3, from grade 9 and age 15 onwards).

After completing lower secondary education, learners continue their studies in upper secondary education, in any of the following programmes: general, vocational, technological or school-based VET.

Higher education has no formal VET programmes. However, some bachelor and master programmes are more practice/technical-oriented than others.

Ethnic minorities have the right to study in their mother tongue in all types, forms and levels of education (including tertiary). Special needs education is provided based on type and degree of needs identified, either in regular or specialised schools. School boards may decide to provide activities after classes. Private education and training is organised by education institutions, at all levels and forms, according to current legislation.

Initial and continuing VET are regulated by the government.

Initial VET

Initial VET is provided at upper secondary and post-secondary levels. Qualifications can be acquired in upper secondary VET through vocational, technological and school-based programmes.

At upper secondary level, there are four types of VET programme:

  • four-year technological programmes (liceu tehnologic, ISCED level 354). They offer graduates an upper secondary school-leaving diploma and the EQF level 4 ‘technician’ qualification ([26]A qualifications certificate and, after passing a qualifications examination, a Europass supplement to the certificate.);
  • four-year vocational programmes (liceu vocational, ISCED level 354). They provide graduates with a professional qualification in military, theology, sports, arts and pedagogy as well as with an upper secondary school-leaving diploma at EQF level 4; 
  • three-year school-based VET programmes (învățământ profesional, , ISCED level 352) ([27]Available since 2014/15, approved by the Education Minister Order No 3136/2014.). They may be offered as initial dual VET, and they provide graduates with a professional qualification ([28]A qualifications certificate and, after passing a qualifications exam, a Europass supplement to the certificate.) of ‘skilled worker’ at EQF level 3;
  • short VET programmes (stagii de practica, ISCED level 352). They provide learners, who have completed two years of a technological programme (grade 10) with a professional qualification at EQF level 3, after 720 hours of practical training.

Post-secondary VET provides one- to three-year higher VET programmes (ISCED level 453), leading to a professional qualification at EQF level 5.

Initial VET learners may choose between the following study forms:

  • daytime learning (most popular); 
  • evening classes ([29]The three-year professional programmes are organised only as daytime learning.);
  • work-based learning;
  • dual form.

Continuing VET

Continuing VET (also known as adult vocational training) ([30]Regulated by Government Ordinance No 129/2000 on adult vocational training and other acts.) is available for learners from age 16. Training programmes help develop competences acquired in the existing qualification, the acquisition of new competences in the same occupational area, the acquisition of fundamental/key competences or new technical competences, specific to a new occupation.

It is provided by authorised private and public training organisations ([31]Also by individuals (trainers for adults, formatori de adulti) acting as vocational training providers.) considering the needs of employers and basic skills needs of adults in the form of:

  • apprenticeship at workplace;
  • traineeship for higher education graduates;
  • adult training courses.

Apprenticeship at workplace

The public employment service has been managing continuing ‘apprenticeship at workplace’ programmes since 2005 ([32]Currently apprenticeships are provided according to Law No 279/2005 (last amendments in November 2018).). They are only available in continuing VET and are legally distinct from the dual form offered in initial VET. Apprenticeships offer adults (16+, minimum legal age for employment) a professional qualification at EQF levels 1 to 4.

Traineeship for higher education graduates

Traineeship for higher education graduates is regulated by the law on traineeships (No 335/2013) and the Labour Code (No 53/2003). After graduation from a higher education institution, learners may take six-month traineeship programmes to practice their profession in a real work environment. This does not apply in some professions, such as doctors, lawyers, and notaries, for whom special legislation provides different opportunities. This process is subsidised by the government. Employers may apply for the public employment service subsidy of approximately EUR 483 per month (RON 2 250) for each trainee for the duration of the programme.

Adult training courses

Adult training courses are offered by authorised training providers or by employers to adults willing to obtain a qualification, specialisation or key competences:

  • authorised courses for the unemployed, employees, people who resume work after maternity leave or long sickness leave, Roma, groups at risk and other groups;
  • courses organised by employers for their staff without issuing nationally recognised certificates;
  • internship and specialisation, including periods of learning abroad;
  • all other forms of training.

Since 2017/18, a dual form of ‘professional’ VET has also been available ([33]Based on the Government Emergency Ordinance No 81/2016.). In this, the municipality (local authority) engages in the partnership agreement alongside the standard contract concluded in regular school-based VET programmes between school, employer and learner (or legal representative). Companies are also obliged to pay dual VET learners a monthly allowance that is not less than that provided by the government. Other features are equal to work-based learning in school-based programmes. The share of learners in dual VET was 1.5% of the total VET population enrolled at upper secondary level in the school year 2017/18.

Learn more about apprenticeships in the national context from the European database on apprenticeship schemes by Cedefop: http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/data-visualisations/apprenticeship-schemes/scheme-fiches

Governance in initial VET

Ministry of National Education

The education ministry designs and executes legislation in cooperation with stakeholders (academia, trade unions, teachers associations, students, parents, public administration, businesses and NGOs).

It approves financing and enrolment plans, it awards VET certificates (both in initial and continuing ([34]For continuing VET, certificates are awarded by both labour and education ministries.) VET), and it coordinates national exams.

It approves methodology for teacher enrolment, career advancement and transfers, and approves curricula through subordinate bodies, including school inspectorates.

National Centre for Technical and Vocational Education and Training Development

The centre is accountable to the education ministry. It:

  • evaluates and suggests changes to policies and strategies, and coordinates their implementation;
  • coordinates the design, implementation and review of national curricula, assessment and certification for the initial VET component;
  • supervises the development of professional training standards for qualifications validated by sectoral committees (coordinated by the National Authority for Qualifications) and approved by the education ministry;
  • develops methodologies for the quality assurance and monitoring of programmes.

Romanian Agency for Quality Assurance in Pre-university Education

It is in charge of authorisation (licence), accreditation and external quality evaluation of schools at pre-university education level, including initial VET schools.

Institute of Educational Sciences

It is a national institution for research, development, innovation and training in education and youth. It:

  • establishes and coordinates working groups for the development and review of the national curriculum component;
  • develops various learning and curriculum resources.

Regional consortia ( [35]According to Order of the Ministry of Education No 4456/2015 for the approval of general framework of organisation and functioning of consultative partnership structures in VET.)

They are advisory partnership bodies of the National Centre for Technical and Vocational Education and Training Development. They update, implement and monitor regional education action plans.

County school inspectorates

They propose to the education ministry the VET enrolment plan for the next school year. This is based on proposals from schools and taking into consideration labour market needs, defined through direct requests from employers. The inspectorates also organise the national recruitment of teachers, including VET.

Local committees for development of social partnerships

They are advisory managerial structures that aim at improving VET relevance and quality.

Teaching staff resource houses( [36]Casa Corpului Didactic (CCD).)

They organise continuing teacher training. There is one in each county and in the municipality of Bucharest. The teaching staff resource houses are subordinated to the education ministry.

County centres for resources and education assistance

The centres support learners with special needs, including those in VET. There is one in each county and in Bucharest. The centres are under the control of the education ministry.

Local authorities

They:

  • support the implementation of national strategies on education;
  • ensure the joint financing of projects sponsored by the EU and other funds;
  • maintain school infrastructure.

VET school administration boards

They approve institutional development plans, local/school-based curricula and teacher training plans proposed by their schools.

Commissions for quality assurance and evaluation

In each VET school, a Quality Assurance and Evaluation Commission is appointed to supervise all quality assurance processes and activities, in line with the quality assurance law ([37]Law 87/2006.).

Governance in continuing VET

 

Ministry of Labour and Social Justice

The labour ministry develops and promotes policies in continuing VET, including training for the unemployed, apprenticeship at the workplace, actions for NEETs (not in employment, education and training) and traineeship for graduates of higher education.

It coordinates the authorisation of continuing VET providers, and it manages and updates the nomenclature of qualifications.

It also monitors, analyses, controls, and evaluates vocational training for the unemployed.

National and county agencies for employment

The National Agency for Employment coordinates vocational training of jobseekers at national level, carried out by the county employment agencies.

National Authority for Qualifications

It is responsible for:

  • the national qualifications framework;
  • the national registers of:
    • qualifications in higher education;
    • professional qualifications;
  • centres for the evaluation and certification of professional competences obtained outside formal education;
  • evaluators of competences, external evaluators and evaluators of evaluators.

The authority ensures the link between the standards used for defining qualifications and labour market needs, provides assistance for development of occupational standards, and registers the standards in the national register of professional qualifications in education.

The authority also approves the occupational standards for continuing VET, and endorses the professional training standards used in initial VET programmes.

County authorisation commissions

They are in charge of authorisation and monitoring of training providers, and they decide on the examination commissions at county level. County authorisation commissions are set up by the labour ministry.

Continuing VET providers

Adult vocational training providers carry out vocational training, after authorisation by the county commission ([38]In line with Government Ordinance No 129/2000.).

In 2009, total public expenditure on education and training reached 4.24% of GDP. It fell significantly in 2010-11 due to the economic crisis, and it reached 3.6% in 2017. The National Law on Education of 2011 targets 6%, but this objective is not likely to be achieved before 2025.

In 2018, per capita financing was as follows ([39]Approximate values, based on euro exchange rate.).

  • three-year ‘professional’/school-based programmes (all qualifications): EUR 1 115. Programmes offered in minority language(s): EUR 1 143; 
  • four-year technological programmes (all qualifications): EUR 1 057. Programmes offered in minority language(s): EUR 1 101;
  • four-year vocational programmes (except music and sports): EUR 1 330. Programmes offered in minority language(s): EUR 1 403.

The budget for education and training, including VET, is approved annually. The financing mechanism ([40]Government Decision No 72/2013 on the approval of the methodological norms for determining the standard cost per learner and the establishment of the basic financing of the State pre-university education units. This ensured from the State budget, from sums deducted from VAT through the local budgets, based on the standard cost per learner (last updated by Government Decision No 30/2018).) comprises per capita expenditure supplemented by coefficients (such as for rural/urban areas, number of students and climate area ([41]This refers to geographic areas with difficult weather conditions, especially during winter.), EQF level, type of programme, total number of learners in the school, teaching language).

Financing is provided to schools by the education ministry from the State budget (main source: value added tax) based on actual enrolment. It covers:

  • wages, allowances; 
  • staff continuous training;
  • learner assessment expenditure;
  • materials, services and maintenance.

The basic financing of a school unit is obtained by multiplying the standard cost per pupil by the specific coefficients mentioned above. This is approved annually by Government decision.

VET in public schools is free of charge. The State also provides financing for accredited private and religious education institutions to the same level as for public VET schools. In private education, institution learners pay fees.

Continuing VET is financed by ([42]According to Government Ordinance No 129/2000.):

  • employers/enterprises; 
  • unemployment insurance budget;
  • EU structural and cohesion instruments;
  • personal contributions;
  • other sources.

Jobseekers benefit from free continuing training financed by the unemployment insurance budget. The budget also provides subsidies to employers who provide continuing VET (apprenticeship, traineeship and vocational training programmes).

Initial VET

There are two teaching positions in initial VET:

  • teacher; 
  • practical training instructor ([43]Maistru instructor.).

Requirements for VET teachers are the same as for teachers in general education.

At upper secondary and post-secondary VET, teachers require both:

  • a master degree in a field related to the VET qualification(s) they teach;
  • two psycho-pedagogical modules, totalling 60 ECTS ([44]Ministry of National Education (2017). Order No 3850/2017 regarding the mandatory certification of teaching competences.), that can be obtained either during higher education studies (by enrolling for one module of 30 ECTs during the bachelor programme and for the second module of 30 ECTS during the master programme), or after graduation, by enrolling for both modules within a university department for Teacher Training.

Practical training instructors must have:

  • a post-secondary education diploma in a field related to the VET qualification(s) they teach;
  • psycho-pedagogical training of 30 ECTS provided by a higher education institution ([45]Usually by the Department for the Teaching Staff Training within an accredited higher education institution.).

To become a certified teacher, new employees have two class inspections and produce a professional portfolio; this is an elimination stage, followed by the so-called teacher-confirmation exam ([46]Definitivat.) in the subject they will teach and its methodology, 12 months after their initial employment. During this period, they are supported by an experienced mentor and enjoy the same rights as other teachers with a labour contract. If they fail to pass the exam after 12 months, they may have another two attempts within a five-year period. The share of qualified VET teachers and instructors (vocational theoretical subjects or practical training) is 98.75% of the total teaching staff in initial VET ([47]Based on data from National Institute of Statistics for the school year 2017/18.).

Continuing VET

Continuing vocational training programmes are provided by trainers with a profile or specialisation relevant to the training programme. They should have:

  • the national qualifications framework level of education equal to or higher than the level of the training programme they undertake; 
  • a qualification in the training programme's field of activity;
  • any form of certificate for the following occupations: instructor/trainer/trainer of trainer or the certificates for the teaching profession (60 ECTs ([48]Ministry of National Education (2017). Order No 3850/2017 regarding the mandatory certification of teaching competences.) ).

Continuing professional development of teachers and instructors is a right defined by the Law of National Education ([49]Education Law No 1/2011, Title IV, Chapter 1, Section 2: Initial and continuous teacher training; the teaching career.) that supports career advancement and professional development. Advancement in a teaching career is ensured by acquiring the relevant degrees:

  • the second teaching degree is awarded after at least four years of service (after passing the teacher-confirmation exam ([50]Definitivat.) ), undergoing at least two school inspections and passing an exam in methodology and main subject ([51]The Ministry of National Education provides rules for promotion and methodologies for the exams.); 
  • the first teaching degree is awarded after at least four years after awarding the second degree, undergoing at least two school inspections and defending orally a written thesis ([52]Regulation No 1/2011, Article 242.).

Professional development is compulsory by participation in accredited training courses (teachers have to gather minimum 90 ECTS every five years). The training is provided by public and private education institutions and by NGOs, and can be partially or fully covered by the State budget.

To supply the labour market with VET qualifications that are relevant, the National Centre for Technical and Vocational Education and Training Development, supported by stakeholders and experts, has developed a strategic planning model for VET supply, approved by the education ministry.

Its main objective is to increase the contribution of VET in an efficient transition to an inclusive, participatory, competitive and knowledge-based economy that relies on innovation.

The term ‘strategic planning’ refers to a medium-term (five to seven years) forecast. The model analyses the relevance of supply to the (forecast) labour market demand from quantitative and qualitative perspectives and using the following sources:

  • regional education action plans; 
  • local (county) education action plans;
  • school action plans.

Regional education action plans (set out by the regional consortia) and local education action plans (by the local committees for development of social partnerships) include:

  • analysis of the regional/county context from the point of view of demographic, labour market and economic changes and forecast 
  • analysis of the capacity of VET to serve the identified needs of the labour market in the regional/county contexts;
  • priorities, targets and actions for VET development at regional/county level;
  • the contribution of higher education to regional development.

Desk research is carried out by regional consortia and members of local committees for development of social partnerships who analyse:

  • the national development plan; 
  • the national strategy for human resources development;
  • regional development plans;
  • VET strategies and action plans;
  • the national strategy for employment;
  • labour market and training demand and supply forecasts;
  • company surveys on short-term (six months) labour demand.

The model is based on decentralised decision-making at regional, county and local levels. Strategic planning is characterised by the collective action of multiple social partners, representing the interests of employers, professional associations, employees/trade unions, public administration, relevant government and civil society organisations.

The model combines top-down and bottom-up decision-making processes as demonstrated in the figure below, involving regional consortia at regional level, local committees for development of social partnerships at county level, and school boards at local area level.

 

Anticipating skills: planning levels

Source: National Centre for Technical and Vocational Education and Training Development.

 

See also Cedefop’s skills forecast ([53]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/data-visualisations/skills-forecast) and European skills index ([54]https://skillspanorama.cedefop.europa.eu/en/indicators/european-skills-index)

Initial VET qualifications

Initial VET qualifications (excluding vocational programmes) are based on training standards. The national qualifications register currently comprises 131 qualifications at EQF level 3, 69 at EQF level 4 and 203 at EQF level 5.

 

Training standards ([55]Standard de pregatire profesionala) describe learning units consisting of learning outcomes and are based on occupational standards. Training standards are developed by representatives of companies from the corresponding sectors and of VET providers, with the methodological support of the National Centre for Technical and Vocational Education and Training Development, endorsed by National Authority for Qualifications. They are validated by employers and other social partners through sectoral committees. The revision of standards is carried out at least every five years or at the request of economic operators.

 

From training needs to curricula

Source: National Centre for Technical and Vocational Education and Training Development.

 

Training standards

Training standards play a key role in designing VET curricula, assessing learning outcomes and awarding qualification certificates.

To design the training standards and to establish units of learning outcomes in its structure, one or more occupational standards concerned with the qualification need to be analysed as a starting point.

Each training standard comprises:

  • introduction: description of qualification, occupation(s) the standard leads to; 
  • list of competences as in occupational standard(s) or considering recommendations of the sectoral committees, company representatives or other interested parties;
  • learning outcomes units (a learning unit consists of a coherent set of learning outcomes) for the qualification:
    • general (e.g. maths, language, sciences) and occupational learning outcomes; 
    • minimum equipment requirements for each learning outcome unit;
    • assessment standard for each learning outcome unit.

Core and local curriculum

Curricula for each qualification have two main components:

  • core curriculum designed at national level by education working groups; 
  • local (school) curriculum designed by schools and local businesses to adapt training to the requirements of the local and regional labour market.

The share of national and local curricula varies by qualification level. At EQF level 3, 20% of learning time is reserved for the local curriculum and 80% for national; at EQF level 4, the share is 30% for the local curriculum and 70% for national. At EQF level 5, all curricula are national.

Continuing VET qualifications

Continuing VET qualifications are based on occupational standards, validated by the sectoral committees and approved by the National Authority for Qualifications.

An occupational standard is a national instrument describing professional activities and requested abilities, skills and competences necessary to practise a specific occupation, defined in terms of autonomy and responsibility, and capacity to apply specific knowledge and understanding at the workplace.

Occupational standards stipulate two types of requirement:

  • requirements linked to labour market needs in terms of skills:
    • occupation;
    • identification number from the classification of occupations;
    • qualification level;
    • specific activities to be carried out at the workplace;
    • skills and competences required to practice the occupation;
  • requirements for provision of professional training:
    • established learning content;
    • duration of training and specific requirements for the assessment;
    • access/entry requirements;
    • necessary resources to organise the training.

 

Initial VET

At national level, the law on quality assurance of education ([56]Law No 87/2006.) sets a series of basic principles applicable for all levels of pre-university education, including initial VET: focusing on learning outcomes, promoting quality improvement, protecting education beneficiaries (learners as priority), centring on the internal evaluation process (self-assessment) of providers.

Quality assurance in initial VET comprises:

  • VET school self-assessment; 
  • programme and provider authorisation and accreditation;
  • programme and provider external evaluation;
  • programme external monitoring;
  • monitoring of the quality of vocational certification exams.

The Agency for Quality Assurance in Pre-university Education is responsible for authorisation, accreditation and external evaluation of pre-university education, including initial VET. Authorisation and accreditation are compulsory for each initial VET programme:

  • authorisation (licence) grants the right to carry out the education process and to organise admission to new education and training programmes. It gives the right to operate for up to three years ([57]Before June 2018, two years (Government Emergency Ordinance No 48/2018).) after first graduation from the programme ([58]Until the programme is accredited, examinations and issuing diploma/certificates take place in another (accredited) school.); 
  • accreditation follows authorisation and grants the right to issue diplomas/certificates recognised by the education ministry and to organise graduation/certification exams. Accreditation is compulsory after three years from the date of the first graduation from the programme.

Accreditation assures that providers and programmes meet standards approved by the government and defines requirements for:

  • institutional capacity: administrative/management structures, logistics, and human resources; 
  • education effectiveness: learning facilities, equipment, human resources, the quality of the locally developed curricula, the quality of the teaching-learning-evaluation processes, financial activity;
  • quality management (strategies and procedures for quality assurance, procedures concerning the design, monitoring and review of the school action plan.

Accreditation is granted by education ministry order, based on the recommendation of the quality assurance agency.

Every five years following accreditation, initial VET providers have to be externally evaluated by the quality assurance agency. External evaluation of VET providers and programmes is a multi-criteria assessment of the extent to which a VET provider and its programmes meet the quality standards. These standards describe the requirements that define an optimal level, compared to the accreditation standards that describe the minimum level for the existence and functioning of a VET programme/ provider.

School inspectorates offer guidance and support to VET providers about the quality assurance process in initial VET. It is called external monitoring and comprises:

  • validating VET provider self-assessment reports; 
  • verifying that quality requirements are met;
  • proposing and approving improvement measures to address the identified quality assurance issues.

Self-assessment of VET providers and programmes is based on a set of quality descriptors (input, process and output), grouped in seven areas, several of which have a direct effect on the content of training and the qualifications acquired:

  • quality management; 
  • resource management (physical and human);
  • design, development and revision of training programmes;
  • teaching, training and learning;
  • assessment and certification of learning;
  • evaluation and improvement of quality.

The the Romanian Agency for Quality Assurance in Pre-university Education publishes on their website decisions containing evaluation reports and decisions approved by the education ministry.

Quality assurance in continuing VET

Quality assurance in continuing VET comprises:

  • programme and training provider authorisation; 
  • programme and training provider external evaluation;
  • training provider self-assessment;
  • programme external monitoring.

Authorisation of vocational training providers is coordinated by the labour ministry. It is made through county authorisation commissions and gives VET providers the right to issue qualification or graduation certificates with national recognition. To become authorised, training providers must meet certain eligibility conditions. Authorisation is based on the following criteria:

  • professional training programme; 
  • the resources needed to carry out the training programme;
  • experience of the training provider and results of previous work.

The training provider completes a self-assessment form that contains the name of the training programme, the occupation/qualification code, the level of qualification, the access conditions, the objectives expressed in the competences, the duration, the training plan, the evaluation modalities, the curriculum, the necessary material, and financial and human resources.

The external evaluation for authorisation is conducted by two independent specialists appointed by the county authorisation commissions. The specialists are selected from the list drawn up each year of those whose training and experience are directly related to the occupation for which authorisation is requested.

Authorisation of a training programme is based on occupational standards and professional training standards, recognised at national level and with a validity of four years.

Periodic monitoring of authorised training providers is carried out by two external specialists appointed by the county authorisation commission in the list of specialists drawn up annually. Legislation requires at least three monitoring visits during the four years that authorisation lasts.

The methodology for certification of adult vocational training includes procedures authorised vocational training providers to organise and conduct the adult vocational training programmes graduation examination; it also covers the procedures for issuing, managing and archiving certificates of qualification and graduation with national recognition. The examination committee includes two independent experts selected by the county authorisation commissions from the lists of specialists approved annually.

Validation of prior learning is done through assessment centres. The centres are local private or public bodies authorised to conduct validation procedures, for one or more occupations, developed at national level.

Since 2000, legislation on the national system for validation of non-formal and informal learning has been gradually developed and put in place ([59]Government Ordinance No129/2000, Article 45; Law of National Education No 1/2011, Article 340-34; Ministry of Education and Ministry of Labour joint Order No 468/2004 on validation procedures; Ministry of Education Order No 3629/2018 on national register of evaluators.). The National Authority for Qualifications, through the newly established National Centre for Accreditation, ([60]Government Emergency Ordinance No 49 of 26.6.2014.) coordinates and monitors the validation process. The centre is a specialised structure within the authority responsible for:

  • authorisation of the assessment centres and staff involved in validating non-formal and informal learning of adults; 
  • coordination of assessment centre activities;
  • quality assurance;
  • managing the national register of the authorised centres and national register of evaluators (evaluators of competences, evaluators of evaluators of competences, external evaluators).

The validation procedures consist of well-defined national standards, criteria and guidelines. The assessment centres develop their own assessment instruments, based on national occupational standards and/or training standards, to evaluate the candidates. They are responsible for providing validation services following specific requests by beneficiaries/candidates who can acquire full or partial qualifications at EQF levels 1, 2 and 3. Certificates of competences are nationally and internationally recognised. As part of the validation process, the centres offer information and counselling to the candidates. Currently, there are 37 fully functioning local assessment centres that can validate prior learning of candidates, mainly in services, construction and agriculture.

For more information about arrangements for the validation of non-formal and informal learning please visit Cedefop’s European database ([61]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/data-visualisations/european-database-on-validation-of-non-formal-and-informal-learning).

Professional scholarship for three-year professional programmes

The professional scholarship is a national social protection programme ([62]Government Decision No 951/2017.) that offers approximately EUR 43 (RON 200) per month for all three-year professional programme learners. This scholarship can be combined with grants provided by training companies.

Dual VET allowance

In addition to a professional scholarship, dual VET learners receive at least approximately EUR 43 (RON 200) per month in allowances from the company where they undergo training. Companies also pay for work equipment for learners.

High school scholarship

High school scholarship is a national social protection programme that offers approximately EUR 54 (RON 250 since 2018/19) ([63]See the press release published on the Ministry of National Education portal: 114 million euros of European funds for education through ‘High school money’ and ‘professional bursa’ :
https://www.edu.ro/114-milioane-euro-fonduri-europene-pentru-educa%C8%9Bie-prin-%E2%80%9Ebani-de-liceu%E2%80%9D-%C8%99i-%E2%80%9Ebursa-profesional%C4%83%E2%80%9D?fbclid=IwAR2yMchXsNmQUn2wS4iTeOIzKKIjUrwbpqVYgytc4Z58OKLeTyVJuKMwA3U
) monthly financial support for upper secondary education learners in grades 9 to 12, including those in VET (technological and vocational programmes). The scholarship is linked to family income and is not available for all learners.

Euro 200 scholarship

The Euro 200 scholarship is a national programme that supports VET and other learners who otherwise cannot afford to buy a personal computer and develop their digital skills. The programme has been in place since 2004 under Law No 269/2004, granting financial aid based on social criteria. In 2018, the government spent more than EUR 2.6 million on this measure.

Local public transport

All formal education learners, including VET, receive a 50% discount for local public transportation (bus, subway and train) up to age 26. Local authorities may also partly reimburse the cost of a monthly pass for learners with special education needs, orphans or those from a children’s home/orphanage.

Apprenticeship and traineeship cost reimbursement

Employers who sign an apprenticeship ([64]Law No 279/2005 on apprenticeship.) or traineeship ([65]Law No 335/2013 on the completion of the traineeship for graduates of higher education.) contract may apply for subsidies to the public employment service ([66]ANOFM.). They can receive approximately EUR 483 (RON 2 250) per month for each apprentice/trainee for the entire duration of the programme (six months to three years in the case of apprenticeship programmes and six months in the case of traineeship). The subsidies are financed from the unemployment insurance budget or ESF.

Employers who employ graduates from initial education are eligible for a public employment service monthly grant of approximately EUR 483 (RON 2 250) for each graduate for a period of 12 or 18 months ([67]18 months for disabled people.), provided the employment is not terminated during 18 months from its start.

Tax exemption

Authorised VET providers are exempt from paying value added tax ([68]Article 58 of Government Ordinance No 129/2000 on Adult Vocational Training.) for training operations. Companies may also deduct the training costs from their taxable income ([69]Article 47 of Government Ordinance No 129/2000 on Adult Vocational Training.).

Two main strands of guidance and counselling are available, embedded in the:

  • education system (university and pre-university levels);
  • labour market services (e.g. public employment service).

Guidance and counselling include:

  • information necessary to plan, obtain and keep a job; 
  • education on careers;
  • counselling that helps understand individual goals, aspirations and the skills needed to find a job.

The national education law stipulates that:

  • in primary education, counselling is provided by the teacher in cooperation with parents and the school psychologist; 
  • in lower and upper secondary education, guidance and counselling is provided mainly by the pedagogical assistance offices in schools with more than 800 pupils.

In higher education, guidance and counselling is provided by career guidance and counselling centres in universities to aid the transition of graduates from education to work.

Most guidance and counselling staff in the education system are psychologists, teachers, sociologists and social workers. They are trained by the psychology, educational sciences, sociology and social work faculties. Many also follow post-graduate training modules in counselling and guidance, psychotherapy, management and school administration.

The Institute of Educational Sciences supports counsellors through research, working tools and information/training sessions. It is also a member of the Euroguidance network. In 2017, it published several supporting documents ([70]For example:
- contributions to two publications of the European Lifelong Guidance Policy Network: (a)
Euroguidance network’s highlights 2017: activities and achievements across Europe, (b)
Lifelong guidance policy development glossary;
- three reports on national curricula for guidance and counselling: (a) for grades 0-2, (b) for grades 5-8 and (c) for grades 9-11.
).

Within the initial VET system, the National Centre for Vocational Education and Training Development contributes career guidance and counselling activities aiming to increase the awareness of young students and their parents. The Job orientation - training in businesses and schools ([71]www.jobsproject.ro) project offers training to learners enrolled in the last years of lower secondary education and the first years of technological and professional VET programmes to help make well-informed decisions when choosing the VET or general pathway. The target groups also include teachers and companies involved in VET who need to meet the challenges of continuously changing labour markets.

The novelty in the approach to teaching is in using student-centred methods such as task-based learning, which places students in the centre of their own learning process by setting them clear tasks: identify, explore, ask questions, find answers, give solutions and seize and understand the interrelationships between life and work roles, work opportunities and career building processes.

Initially the project was piloted in two schools of one county (judet). In 2017, it expanded to 180 schools from 19 counties, involving more than 800 teachers and 9 000 pupils. The duration of the project has been extended until 2019.

Labour market services

County (judet) agencies for employment are responsible for guidance/counselling for the unemployed, older workers, young graduates, former convicts and ethnic minorities. They provide information about training and job opportunities to their target groups.

Employment agencies also draw up an individual job-matching plan for every jobseeker. Professional information and counselling is carried out in specialised centres, organised within the employment agencies, as well as by other centres and accredited public or private service suppliers, who conclude contracts with the employment agencies. With the consent of the employer, employees may benefit from guidance services for up to three months from accepting a new job.

Please also see:

Vocational education and training system chart

Tertiary

Programme Types
Not available

Post-secondary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

EQF 5

Post-secondary

VET programmes,

WBL varies,

1-3 years

ISCED 453

One- to three-year higher VET programmes leading to a professional qualification at EQF level 5, ISCED 453
EQF level
5
ISCED-P 2011 level

453

Usual entry grade

12+

Usual completion grade

12+

Usual entry age

18+

Usual completion age

18+

Length of a programme (years)

1-3

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?
  • State budget financed/free of charge
  • some are based on fees
Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • daytime learning 
  • evening classes
  • work-based learning
Main providers
  • technological schools;
  • colleges/universities ([83]Colleges and universities provide the programmes under independent departments. These departments are called post-secondary high schools.) ([84]Both provide the programmes at the request of companies or learners.)
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

Varies

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • practical training at school
  • in-company practice
Main target groups

Secondary school graduates

Entry requirements for learners (qualification/education level, age)

Secondary school graduation; the baccalaureate certificate is not required.

Assessment of learning outcomes

To complete a post-secondary VET programme, learners need to pass:

  • a written examination;
  • a practical examination;
  • project-based assessment.

All these steps form the examination for the professional qualification (EQF level 5).

All forms of examinations are learning-outcomes-oriented.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Professional qualification certificate EQF level 5 (specialised technician) (if they pass the examination) and the descriptive supplement of the certificate based on Europass.

(https://www.edu.ro/invatamant-postliceal)

Examples of qualifications

Nursing and pharmacy, optician, analyst programmer, meteorologist.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Graduates can access the labour market.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Information not available

General education subjects

N

However some general subjects may be part of these programmes and are usually strongly related to the domain. For example, for the qualification as general medical assistant the training standard includes theoretical subjects such as:

  • anatomy or elements of bio-chemistry that are taught in a more in-depth/specialised manner. Yet anatomy, biology, chemistry are also taught in high school, as part of general education subjects;
  • general psychology and also medical psychology, because they are necessary in their future work to know how to address patients;
  • elements of sociology, because they are necessary in their future work to know how to address patients;
  • communication in foreign language;
  • statistics/informatics/digital competences.

Other features are:

  • postsecondary education relies also on the training standards;
  • the training standards are learning-outcomes-oriented; 
  • the eight key competences are integrated in the training standards throughout the learning outcomes units/modules.
Key competences

Y

Some key competences are more emphasised, highly dependent on the qualification to be achieved; some of them are transversal.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

All initial VET programmes are based on training standards and are learning-outcomes-oriented; practical training greatly relies on the acquisition of learning outcomes.

Share of learners in this programme type compared with the total number of VET learners

11.4% ([85]2017/18)

Secondary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

EQF 3

School-based VET

Programmes,

WBL 50%,

3 years

ISCED 352

Three-year school-based VET programmes , including the initial dual VET, leading to EQF level 3, ISCED 352 (învățământ profesional)
EQF level
3
ISCED-P 2011 level

352

Usual entry grade

9

Usual completion grade

11

Usual entry age

15

Usual completion age

17

Length of a programme (years)

3

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

for grades 9 and 10

Grade 11 is not part of compulsory education.

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Only in public schools, up to the age of 26

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • daytime learning (most popular)
  • work-based learning
  • dual form
Main providers
  • school-based VET schools (also known as ’professional schools’) or technological schools/colleges
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>=50% ([74]This is an average. Work-based learning is distributed as follows: 20% in the first year, 58% in the second and 72% in the third.)

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • school workshops/laboratories
  • in-company training
Main target groups

Programmes are available for young people and also for adults.

Entry requirements for learners (qualification/education level, age)

Lower secondary education certificate

Assessment of learning outcomes

Assessment is made based on the performance criteria in the training standard.

Besides the formative assessment of work-based learning (portfolio of evidence and practical demonstration) and of classroom learning (combination of written and oral examination) learners need to pass a summative assessment at the end of the training programme.

For impartiality and validity of this final examination, teachers are not allowed to assess their own students.

The summative assessment for the certification of a qualification (EQF level 3) is performed by a team of external evaluators that form an independent examination committee including: director/deputy director of the VET school, vice-president who usually is a representative of social partners, evaluation members (representative from an employer in a related-field and a VET teacher from a school other than the one students come from). The certification exam consists of a practical test and the oral presentation of the final product.

All the requirements and regulations (the general frame) for the assessment and certification of qualification in initial VET are set by the Ministry of National Education.

Assessment is learning-outcomes-oriented, stands as the reference point in the certification and is also included in the training standards approved by the Ministry of Education.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Graduates receive a professional qualification certificate as ‘skilled worker’ if they pass the qualification certification exam. Specifically, they receive a qualifications certificate and, after passing a qualifications exam, a Europass supplement to the certificate.

Graduates also receive a certificate attesting completion of compulsory education that allows access to the third year of EQF level 4 technological programmes.

Examples of qualifications

Cook, welder, baker, carpenter

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Graduates can:

  • access the labour market;
  • continue in the third year of EQF level 4 technological programmes.
Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Information not available

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

The Law of National education adopted all eight key competences within the curriculum for all learning programmes (general, vocational, technological and school-based VET programmes).

Initial VET programmes are delivered based on the general curriculum (common core for all learning programmes) and the training standards.

The training standards rely on the occupation standards.

The training standards are documents describing the competence units of a qualification that is an aggregated result of competences specific to one or more occupations, as defined by occupational standards.

In order to ensure the acquisition of the eight key competences, each training standard includes them to provide support for the general aim to ensure the personal and professional competence development of each learner.

Consequently, each training standard comprises:

  • introduction: description of qualification, occupation(s) the standard leads to;
  • list of competences as in occupational standard(s) or considering recommendations of the sectoral committees, company representatives or other interested parties;
  • learning outcomes units (a learning unit consists of a coherent set of learning outcomes) for the qualification:

(i) general (e.g. maths, language, sciences). They are common for all qualifications in the main three domains of initial VET (technical, services, agriculture and environment protection)

(ii) occupational / specialised learning outcomes. they are specific for each qualification supporting labour market immediate responsiveness.

(iii) they integrate the eight key competences

  1. communication in mother tongue (Romanian);
  2. communication in foreign language;
  3. mathematic competences and basic competences in science and technology;
  4. digital competence;
  5. learning to learn;
  6. social and civic competence;
  7. sense of initiative and entrepreneurship.

Based on the type of qualification, some of these competences are strongly emphasised, others are transversal throughout the learning/teaching process and based on the teaching methods (work in pairs, project-based tasks, scenarios for marketing, role play);

  • minimum equipment requirements for each learning outcome unit;
  • assessment standard for each learning outcome unit.
Application of learning outcomes approach

Initial VET programme is learning-outcomes-oriented and is based on the training standards that include this approach.

Share of learners in this programme type compared with the total number of VET learners

19.3% ([75]2017/18)

EQF 4

Technological programmes,

WBL 25%,

4 years

ISCED 354

Four-year technological programmes leading to EQF level 4, ISCED 354 (liceu tehnologic)
EQF level
4
ISCED-P 2011 level

354

Usual entry grade

9

Usual completion grade

12

Usual entry age

15

Usual completion age

18

Length of a programme (years)

4 ([76]The programmes comprise lower and higher cycles, two years for each.)

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

for grades 9 and 10

Grades 11 and 12 are not part of compulsory education.

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Only in public schools, up to the age of 26

Is it available for adults?

N

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • daytime learning (most popular);
  • evening classes;
  • work-based learning.
Main providers
  • technological high schools
  • colleges
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>=25%

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • practical training at school
  • in-company practice
Main target groups

Programmes are available for young people.

Entry requirements for learners (qualification/education level, age)

Lower secondary education certificate

Assessment of learning outcomes

Assessment is made based on the performance criteria in the training standard.

Besides the formative assessment of work-based learning (portfolio of evidence and practical demonstration) and of classroom learning (combination of written and oral examination) learners need to pass a summative assessment at the end of the training programme.

For impartiality and validity of this final examination, teachers are not allowed to assess their own students.

The summative assessment for the certification of a qualification is performed by a team of external evaluators that form an independent examination committee including: director/deputy director of the VET school, vice-president who usually is a representative of social partners, evaluation members (representative from an employer in a related-field and a VET teacher from a school other than the one students come from). The certification exam for qualification (EQF level 4) consists of elaboration and presentation of a project (which may include also the practical elaboration of a product).

All the requirements and regulations (the general frame) for the assessment and certification of qualification in initial VET are set by the Ministry of National Education.

Assessment is learning-outcomes-oriented, stands as the reference point in the certification, and is also included in the training standards that are approved by the education ministry.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Graduates receive an upper secondary school-leaving diploma (baccalaureate diploma, if they undertake and pass the examination) and the EQF level 4 ‘technician’ qualification certificate (if they pass the qualification certification exam) in services, natural resources and environmental protection, and technical study fields. Specifically, they receive a qualifications certificate and, after passing a qualifications examination, a Europass supplement to the certificate.

Examples of qualifications

Technician in gastronomy, industrial design technician, computing technical supervisor, furniture designer.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Graduates can:

  • access the labour market;
  • enrol in higher education after passing the baccalaureate examination;
  • opt out after completing the first two years of the programme ([77]Lower cycle, part of compulsory education.) , and enrol in a short VET programme (ISCED level 352) offering a professional qualification only.
Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Information not available

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

The Law of National education adopted all eight key competences within the curriculum for all learning programmes (general, vocational, technological and school-based VET programmes).

Initial VET programmes are delivered based on the general curriculum (common core for all learning programmes) and the training standards.

The training standards are documents describing the competence units of a qualification that is an aggregated result of competences specific to one or more occupations, as defined by occupational standards.

In order to ensure the acquisition of the eight key competences, each training standard includes them as support; the general aim is to ensure the personal and professional competence development of each learner.

Consequently, each training standard comprises:

  • introduction: description of qualification, occupation(s) the standard leads to;
  • list of competences as in occupational standard(s) or considering recommendations of the sectoral committees, company representatives or other interested parties;
  • learning outcomes units (a learning unit consists of a coherent set of learning outcomes) for the qualification:

(i) general (e.g. maths, language, sciences). They are common for all qualifications in the main three domains of initial VET (technical, services, natural resources and environment protection)

(ii) occupational / specialised learning outcomes. They are specific for each qualification supporting labour market immediate responsiveness.

(iii) they integrate the eight key competences

  • communication in Romanian;
  • communication in foreign language;
  • mathematic competences and basic competences in science and technology;
  • digital competence;
  • learning to learn;
  • social and civic competence;
  • sense of initiative and entrepreneurship. Based on the type of qualification, some of these competences are strongly emphasised, others are transversal throughout the learning/teaching process and based on the teaching methods (work in pairs, project-based tasks, scenarios for marketing, role play);
  • minimum equipment requirements for each learning outcome unit;
  • assessment standard for each learning outcome unit.
Application of learning outcomes approach

All learning programmes in the pre-university system, including initial VET, are learning-outcomes-oriented and rely on the general curriculum documents; the initial VET training standards that is structured accordingly.

Share of learners in this programme type compared with the total number of VET learners

58.3% ([78]2017/18)

EQF 3

Short VET

programmes,

WBL 100%,

720 hours

ISCED 352

Short VET programmes leading to EQF level 3, ISCED 352 (stagii de practica)
EQF level
3
ISCED-P 2011 level

352

Usual entry grade

It takes place after grade 10. But it is not considered as part of grade 11.

Usual completion grade

After grade 10 (for six months)

Usual entry age

17

Usual completion age

17

Length of a programme (years)

Six months

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Only in public schools, up to the age of 26

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • work-based learning
Main providers
  • employers ([79]VET schools coordinate the programmes.)
  • school-based VET schools (also known as ’professional schools’)
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

100% ([80]I.e. 720 hours of work-based learning.)

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • practical training at school
  • in-company practice
Main target groups

Programmes are available for young people and for young and early leavers from education and training.

Entry requirements for learners (qualification/education level, age)

Students must have completed two years of a technological programme (completed grade 10).

Young and adult early leavers from education and training can also access these programmes after completing a second chance programme.

Assessment of learning outcomes

Certification of qualifications at EQF level 3 includes elaboration and presentation of a practical test (which may include also the practical elaboration of a product).

Diplomas/certificates provided

Graduates receive a professional qualification certificate at EQF level 3 (if they pass the qualification certification exam).

Examples of qualifications

Cook

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Graduates can access the labour market.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Information not available

General education subjects

N

Key competences

Y

Some key competences are more emphasised, highly dependent on the qualification to be achieved.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

All initial VET programmes are learning-outcomes-oriented and practical training greatly relies on the acquisition of learning outcomes.

Share of learners in this programme type compared with the total number of VET learners

0.1% ([81]2017/18)

EQF 4

Vocational programmes,

WBL up to 15%,

4 years

ISCED 354

Four-year vocational programmes leading to EQF level 4, ISCED 354 (liceu vocational)
EQF level
4
ISCED-P 2011 level

354

Usual entry grade

9

Usual completion grade

12

Usual entry age

15

Usual completion age

18

Length of a programme (years)

4

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Only in public schools, up to the age of 26

Is it available for adults?

N

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • daytime learning (most popular)
  • practical learning in similar learning context / work-based learning
Main providers
  • high school
  • colleges
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

<=15%

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • practical training at school
  • practice in institutions related to vocational domains:

(i) for those studying theology, for example, they go in a church and perform specific activities;

(ii) for those enrolled in military schools they go to military departments/units and perform specific, practical tasks.

Main target groups

Programmes are available for young people.

Entry requirements for learners (qualification/education level, age)

Lower secondary education certificate

Assessment of learning outcomes

Project-based assessment

Diplomas/certificates provided

Graduates receive a professional qualification certificate in military, theology, sports, arts and pedagogy (if they pass the qualification certification exam) as well as an upper secondary school-leaving diploma, the baccalaureate diploma, if they enrol and pass the exam (the baccalaureate exam is not compulsory, but only after passing this exam learners may enrol in higher education/university programmes).

Examples of qualifications

Pedagogue, librarian, sports instructor, etc.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Graduates can:

  • access the labour market;
  • enrol in higher education after passing the baccalaureate examination.
Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Information not available

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Y

Some key competences are more emphasised, highly dependent on the qualification to be achieved.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

All initial VET programmes are learning-outcomes-oriented and practical training greatly relies on the acquisition of learning outcomes.

Share of learners in this programme type compared with the total number of VET learners

11.2% ([82]2017/18)

VET available to adults (formal and non-formal)

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

EQF 1 to 4

Training

for the employed

Training for the employed, leading to a qualification at EQF level 1 to 4
EQF level
1 to 4
ISCED-P 2011 level

Information not available

Usual entry grade

Not applicable

Usual completion grade

Not applicable

Usual entry age

16+

Usual completion age

Not applicable

Length of a programme (years)

The duration depends on the EQF level:

  • for EQF level 1: minimum 180 hours;
  • for EQF level 2: minimum 360 hours;
  • for EQF level 3: minimum 720 hours;
  • for EQF level 4: minimum 1 080 hours.

For participants that already have the necessary set of skills, the duration of the programme may be reduced by up to 50% following initial assessment.

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

N

Is it initial VET?

N

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?
  • N (usually)
  • some of them are free of charge; depends on the employer if he takes over the costs and then if he requires the employee to perform activities for a minimum period of time.
Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable.

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • adult training courses
Main providers
  • authorised private and public training organisations / employers
  • individuals (trainers for adults ([86]Formatori de adulti.)) acting as vocational training providers
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>=67%

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)

In-company practice/training

Main target groups

Employees

Entry requirements for learners (qualification/education level, age)

Age 16+

Assessment of learning outcomes
  • practical tests or other types of assessment.
Diplomas/certificates provided

Qualification and graduation certificates ([87]Graduation certificates are issued at the end of around 40-hour specialisation programmes that do not provide learners with new qualification(s).)

Examples of qualifications

Information not available

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Graduates can access the labour market (it is more for upskilling/reskilling)

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Information not available

General education subjects

N

([88]There are some exceptions.)

Key competences

Key competences may be integrated/transversal.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Adult learning programmes are learning-outcomes-oriented.

Share of learners in this programme type compared with the total number of VET learners

Information not available

EQF 1 to 4

Training

for the unemployed

and other vulnerable groups

Training for the unemployed and other vulnerable groups, leading to a qualification at EQF level 1 to 4
EQF level
1 to 4
ISCED-P 2011 level

Not applicable

Usual entry grade

Not applicable

Usual completion grade

Not applicable

Usual entry age

16+

Usual completion age

Not applicable

Length of a programme (years)

The duration depends on the EQF level:

  • for EQF level 1: minimum 180 hours;
  • for EQF level 2: minimum 360 hours;
  • for EQF level 3: minimum 720 hours;
  • for EQF level 4: minimum 1 080 hours.

For participants that already have the necessary set of skills, the duration of the programme may be reduced by up to 50% following initial assessment.

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

N

Is it initial VET?

N

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

(provided through the National Agency for Employment and its territorial units, one in each of the 42 counties)

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)

Specialised theoretical knowledge (lectures) and practical training.

The duration depends on the EQF level:

  • for EQF level 1: minimum 180 hours;
  • for EQF level 2: minimum 360 hours;
  • for EQF level 3: minimum 720 hours;
  • for EQF level 4: minimum 1 080 hours.
Main providers
  • authorised private and public training organisations;
  • individuals (trainers for adults ([89]Formatori de adulti.)) acting as vocational training providers.
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>=67%

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)

Information not available

Main target groups

Unemployed and other vulnerable groups

Entry requirements for learners (qualification/education level, age)

There are no minimum entry requirements for education and training, but learners must be at least 16 years old to enrol.

Assessment of learning outcomes

Written test and practical training (portfolios)

Diplomas/certificates provided

Qualification and graduation certificates ([90]Graduation certificates are issued at the end of around 40-hour specialisation programmes that do not provide learners with new qualification(s).).

Examples of qualifications

Qualified worker in various economic fields

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Graduates can access the labour market.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Information not available

General education subjects

N

([91]There are some exceptions.)

Key competences

Key competences may be integrated.

Application of learning outcomes approach

These programmes are learning-outcomes-oriented.

Share of learners in this programme type compared with the total number of VET learners

Information not available

EQF 1 to 4

Apprenticeship

at workplace

for adults (16+),

WBL >70%

Apprenticeship at workplace for adults, leading to a qualification at EQF level 1 to 4
EQF level
1 to 4
ISCED-P 2011 level

Information not available

Usual entry grade

Not applicable

Usual completion grade

Not applicable

Usual entry age

16+

Usual completion age

Not applicable

Length of a programme (years)

The duration depends on the EQF level:

  • for EQF level 1: minimum 180 hours;
  • for EQF level 2: minimum 360 hours;
  • for EQF level 3: minimum 720 hours;
  • for EQF level 4: minimum 1 080 hours.

For participants that already have the necessary set of skills, the duration of the programme may be reduced by up to 50% following initial assessment.

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

N

Is it initial VET?

N

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

Apprenticeship is free of charge for the apprentice.

The apprentices conclude an apprenticeship contract with an employer and are remunerated while learning and working at the workplace.

The apprenticeship scheme is based on a special type of labour contract supporting work and vocational training at the workplace. Employers may apply for the public employment service subsidy of EUR~483 per month (RON 2250) for each apprentice for up to three years (the duration of the apprenticeship programme) from the unemployment insurance budget or ESF.

Training periods alternate with working time allocated for the tasks specified in the job description; the practical training of the apprentice is performed under the guidance and supervision of the training provider.

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

No credit system in adult learning

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • apprenticeship at workplace
Main providers
  • authorised private and public training organisations / employers
  • individuals (trainers for adults ([92]Formatori de adulti.)) acting as vocational training providers
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>=70

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • in-company practice
Main target groups

Adults (16+), the unemployed and early leavers from education and training

Entry requirements for learners (qualification/education level, age)

For each qualification level there are minimum entry requirements, but learners must be at least 16 years old.

Assessment of learning outcomes

Learners need to undertake a final, written examination and practical test in order to pass the professional qualification examination

Diplomas/certificates provided

Qualification and graduation certificates ([93]Graduation certificates are issued at the end of around 40-hour specialisation programmes that do not provide learners with new qualification(s).)

Examples of qualifications

Cook

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Graduates can access the labour market.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Information not available

General education subjects

N

([94]There are some exceptions.)

Key competences

Key competences may be integrated.

Application of learning outcomes approach

These programmes are learning-outcomes-oriented.

Share of learners in this programme type compared with the total number of VET learners

Information not available

General themes

VET in Bulgaria comprises the following main features:

  • VET governance is multi-layered (national, regional, local);
  • there are four  VET qualification levels (ranging from EQF [1]European qualifications framework for lifelong learning (EQF). The European qualifications framework for lifelong learning is a common European reference framework whose purpose is to make qualifications more readable and understandable across different countries and systems. Covering qualifications at all levels and in all sub-systems of education and training, it provides a comprehensive overview over qualifications in the 39 European countries currently involved in its implementation. The core of the European qualifications framework. is its eight reference levels defined in terms of learning outcomes, i.e. knowledge, skills and autonomy-responsibility. Learning outcomes express what individuals know, understand and are able to do at the end of a learning process. Countries develop national qualifications frameworks (NQFs) to implement the European qualifications framework. The implementation of the European qualifications framework was based on the Recommendation on the European qualifications framework for lifelong learning adopted by the European Parliament and the Council on 23 April 2008(EC 111/01/2008). A revised and strengthened Recommendation on the European qualifications framework (EC/189/03/2017) was adopted on 22 May 2017 by the Education, Youth, Culture and Sport Council. The purpose of this revised recommendation is to ensure the continuity as well as a further deepening of the European qualifications framework.
    level 2 to EQF level 5);
  • dual VET (introduced in 2014) remains a major challenge for the country;
  • state educational standards play a major role in shaping qualifications and curricula.

Distinctive features [2]Adapted from Cedefop (2018). Spotlight on vocational education and training in Bulgaria. Luxembourg: Publications Office. http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/8120_en.pdf

VET is provided at secondary and post-secondary (non-tertiary) levels. There are more learners in VET compared with general education: 51.7% of the total secondary education population in 2017 and 54,5 % in 2018. Secondary general education schools may also open VET classes by a special order of the Education Minister. This option is popular in small towns and rural areas.

Since 2016/17, secondary education has been offered in two stages. This improves access to VET, as learners may now choose their education path also after completing grade 10.

In the national context, the term initial VET is only used to refer to programmes leading learners to their first qualification, such as textile worker qualification at EQF levels 2 or its part.

VET programmes are pursued afterwards; for example, textile production operator and textile technician qualifications at EQF level 3 and 4 are considered continuing VET.

According to the pre-school and school education act and the VET act, the acquisition of vocational qualifications is regulated by State educational standards. These standards exist for most VET qualifications. VET qualifications at all levels (EQF 2 to 5) are learning outcomes based.

Following the European credit system for VET (ECVET) [3]https://ec.europa.eu/education/resources-and-tools/the-european-credit-system-for-vocational-education-and-training-ecvet_en
principles, recent qualifications comprise units of learning outcomes, although a credit system is not yet fully established.

The legal basis for validation of non-formal and informal learning in VET has been in place since 2015 and procedures and quality assurance criteria have been developed. Implementation of the Bulgarian qualifications framework will ease putting validation arrangements in place.

 

To make VET more responsive to labour market needs, the pre-school and school education act (2015), which covers VET, increased the responsibility of local and regional authorities.

The reform increased their role in planning VET intake and defining occupations, funding staff salaries, organising vocational training for the unemployed, and equipping VET schools.

Employer organisations are also becoming more actively involved in implementing VET. Since the 2016 amendments to the VET act, they can propose changes to the list of VET qualifications.

Since the introduction in 2015/16, some schools have started offering dual VET programmes. Several pilot projects supporting dual training aim at expanding the training offer in cooperation with business and public authorities from Bulgaria and abroad. Measures, including specialised forums, media campaigns and events, help attract learners and motivate employers to become involved in dual VET that is still mostly project-based.

To address quality concerns, the Ministry of Education and Science is adopting the European quality assurance reference framework (EQAVET). The 2015 quality assurance regulation mandates VET providers for adult training to organise self-assessment based on a set of indicators.

The government is strengthening initial training and continuing professional development opportunities for VET teachers and trainers to motivate more young people to enter the profession. The new system helps them to keep up with technological innovation and modern teaching methods, and allows for faster career advancement linked to performance.

The 2015-17 VET strategy action plan proposes ways to address the challenges: modularisation, more flexible VET provision, and better and more easily accessible career guidance services. Its implementation is also likely to contribute to raising adult participation in learning, which is currently among the lowest in the EU.

There is a high level of skills mismatch. According to the NSI business inquiries in March 2019 37.0% of the industrial enterprises pointed out the labour shortages a factor limiting their activity. In comparison with the same period of previous year (March 2018) the value of the indicator increased by 4 p.p. to 33.3%.

Data from VET in Bulgaria Spotlight 2018 [4]Adapted from Cedefop (2018). Spotlight on vocational education and training in Bulgaria. Luxembourg: Publications Office. http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/8120_en.pdf

Population in 2018: 7 050 034 [5]NB: Data for population as of 1 January. Eurostat table tps00001 [extracted 28.1.2019

It decreased by 3.2% since 2013 due to negative natural growth and migration [6]NB: Data for population as of 1 January. Eurostat table tps00001 [extracted 16.5.2019].
.

As in many other EU countries, the population is ageing.

An old-age dependency ratio is expected to increase from 30 in 2015 to 63 in 2060.

Population forecast by age group and old-age-dependency ratio

Source: Eurostat, proj_15ndbims [extracted on 24.01.2019]

Demographic changes have an impact on vocational education and training (VET). Participation in secondary education has been decreasing. This has led to optimisation of a school network aiming at better efficiency while safeguarding the quality. Since the academic year 2013/14, the number of VET schools has decreased by 11.9% up to 2018/19. However the number of VET centres has increased by 12.4% for the same period. Adjustments will continue in line with demographic trends.

 

Main economic sectors:

  • manufacturing;
  • wholesale and retail trade;
  • construction;
  • public administration;
  • agriculture, forestry and fishing;
  • transportation and storage.

Export comprises mainly manufactured goods, machinery and transport equipment, miscellaneous manufactured articles, food and live animals, chemical and mineral fuel, beverages and tobacco.

Not many occupations/professions are regulated and the labour market is considered flexible.

Total unemployment [7]Percentage of active population, 25 to 74 years old.
(2018): 4.9% (6% in EU-28); it decreased by 0.1 percentage point since 2008 [8]Eurostat, une_rt_a [extracted 20.5.2019]. 
.

Unemployment rate (aged 15-24 and 25-64) by education attainment level in 2008-18

NB: Data based on ISCED 2011; breaks in time series; low reliability for ISCED 0-2 and 5-8, age 15-24.
ISCED 0-2 = less than primary, primary and lower secondary education.
ISCED 3-4 = upper secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary education.
ISCED 5-8 = tertiary education.
Source: Eurostat, lfsa_urgaed [extracted 16.5.2019].

Unemployment is distributed unevenly between those with low and high-level qualifications. The gap has increased after the crisis as unskilled workers are more vulnerable to unemployment. People with low qualifications are more likely to be unemployed. In 2018, the unemployment rate of people with medium-level qualifications, including most VET graduates (ISCED levels 3 and 4) is back to the levels of the pre-crisis years.

Employment rate of 20 to 34-year-old VET graduates increased from from 77.6% in 2014 to 84.6% in 2018.

Employment rate of VET graduates (20 to 34 years old, ISCED levels 3 and 4)

NB: Data based on ISCED 2011; breaks in time series.
ISCED 3-4 = upper secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary education.
Source: Eurostat, edat_lfse_24 [extracted 16.5.2019].

The increase (+7 pp) in employment of 20-34 year-old VET graduates is lower compared to the increase in employment of all 20-34 year-old graduates (+7.7 pp) in the same period in Bulgaria [9]NB: Data based on ISCED 2011; breaks in time series. ISCED 3-4 = upper secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary education; Eurostat, edat_lfse_24 [extracted 16.5.2019]. 
.

The share of the population aged up to 64 with higher education (28.2%) places Bulgaria below the EU28 average. The share of those with low or without qualifications places Bulgaria (17.4%) almost in the middle of EU-28 Member States.

Population (aged 25 to 64) by highest education level attained in 2018

NB: Data based on ISCED 2011. Low reliability for "No response" in Czechia, Iceland, Latvia, and Poland.
ISCED 0-2 = less than primary, primary and lower secondary education.
ISCED 3-4 = upper secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary education.
ISCED 5-8 = tertiary education.
Source: Eurostat, lfsa_pgaed [extracted 16.5.2019]

Share of learners in VET by level in 2017

lower secondary upper secondary post-secondary
3.7% 50.7% 100%

NB: Data based on ISCED 2011.

Source: Eurostat, educ_uoe_enrs01, educ_uoe_enrs04 and educ_uoe_enrs07 [extracted 16.5.2019].

Share of initial VET learners from total learners at upper-secondary level (ISCED level 3), 2017

NB: Data based on ISCED 2011.
Source: Eurostat, educ_uoe_enrs04 [extracted 16.5.2019]

Traditionally there are more females (53.2% for 2018) in VET [10]http://www.nsi.bg/en/content/4921/persons-who-attained-professional-qualification-level-vocational-training
. Females enrol more often in economics and administration programmes (the most popular options), services (tourism, hotels and restaurants) as well as design and clothing industry. Males prefer programmes related to computer systems and coding (the most popular options), transport, agriculture, economy, construction. 

The share of early leavers from education and training has decreased from 14.7% in 2009 to 12.7% in 2018. It is 2.1 pp above the EU-28 average and also above 11.0%, the national country target.

Early leavers from education and training in 2009-18

NB: Share of the population aged 18 to 24 with at most lower secondary education and not in further education or training; break in series.
Source: Eurostat, edat_lfse_14 [extracted 16.5.2019] and European Commission: https://ec.europa.eu/info/2018-european-semester-national-reform-programmes-and-stability-convergence-programmes_en [accessed 14.11.2018].

Dropout rate from VET (%)

 

Lifelong learning offers training opportunities for young people and adults.

Participation in lifelong learning in 2014-18

NB: Share of adult population aged 25 to 64 participating in education and training
Source: Eurostat, trng_lfse_01 [extracted 16.5.2019]

Participation in lifelong learning in Bulgaria has slightly increased in the past decade. However, it is well below the EU28 average (with 2.5% participation in lifelong learning in 2018). Increasing participation is one of the biggest challenges that the country faces.

Information not available

The education and training system comprises:

  • primary and lower secondary education (1, 2 and 3);
  • secondary education comprises general (profiled) (ISCED 344 and 341) and VET programmes (ISCED 351 and 354) in two subsequent stages: the first (3-year, grades 8-10) and the second (2-year, grades 11-12). It is compulsory for learners until they reach age 16. At the end of stage two, learners who pass State matriculation examinations (matura) (Bulgarian language in addition to another subject or – for VET learners – State qualification examination) receive a secondary education diploma (EQF level 4) and certificate for VET qualification after successful passing the State qualification examination. Others receive a certificate for the completion of secondary education with access to vocational training for adults but not to higher education. VET programmes provide graduates with general education diploma in addition to a VET qualification certificate;
  • post-secondary non-tertiary VET (ISCED level 4);
  • higher education (ISCED levels 6, 7 and 8);
  • apprenticeships, internships and dual VET (range of VET qualifications ranging from  ISCED 351 to 454).

Primary and lower secondary education (grades 1-7) is compulsory [11]Education is compulsory till the age of 16.  
. Primary education starts at age seven and is provided by State, municipal and private schools. There are no VET programmes at this level. Graduates may continue to general or vocational secondary education. In 2016/17, all general secondary education programmes became ‘profiled’, i.e. they specialise on a selected subject, for example, mathematics, natural sciences or foreign languages.

Secondary education comprises general (profiled) (ISCED 344 and 341) and VET programmes (ISCED 351 and 354) in two subsequent stages: the first (3-year, grades 8-10) and the second (2-year, grades 11-12). It is compulsory for learners until they reach age 16. At the end of stage two, learners who pass State matriculation examinations (matura) (Bulgarian language in addition to another subject or – for VET learners – State qualification examination) receive a secondary education diploma (EQF level 4) and certificate for VET qualification after successfully passing the State qualification examination. Others receive a certificate for the completion of secondary education with access to vocational training for adults but not to higher education. VET programmes provide graduates with a general education diploma in addition to a VET qualification certificate.

Higher education comprises the following programmes:

  • professional bachelor (ISCED 655, EQF level 6; NQF level 6a);
  • bachelor (ISCED 645, EQF level 6; NQF level 6b);
  • master’s (ISCED 766, 767, EQF/ NQF level 7);​
  • PhD (ISCED 864, EQF/ NQF level 8). 

School based VET is provided only at a secondary level. Until August 2016, the lowest level of qualification could also be acquired in lower secondary education programmes. Out-of-school adults (16+) can still acquire the lowest VET qualification level (VET qualification level 1, EQF level 2) before secondary education.

Secondary VET aims at obtaining a vocational qualification but also comprises a general education part that is required to acquire a secondary education diploma.
Vocational education and training complies with the requirements of the State educational standards and consists of theory and (study and production) practice.

Post-secondary, non-tertiary vocational qualifications (ISCED 2011 level 4, EQF level 5) can be acquired only by people with completed secondary education. The acquired qualification at this level provides access to the labour market.

Examples of such qualifications are company manager, hotel manager, restaurant manager as well as sports and military/defence qualifications.

Training in real work environment: apprenticeships, internships, dual VET

There are several types of training in real work environment.

In 1992, so-called apprenticeships for employees were introduced. They often guarantee a job at the end of training, according to the contract with the employer. The duration of this type of apprenticeships is up to six months.

In 2014, internships were introduced for young people (up to 29 years old) who have already acquired a VET qualification (or higher education degree) but have no work experience in the profession. The duration of internships is between six and 12 months.

Since 2014, dual VET has started to evolve. It allows learners to acquire VET qualifications. The practical training in a company alternates with periods of theoretical training in a school or another VET provider. In-company trainers (mentors) are responsible for the practical training.

For adult learners the following options are available in order to acquire a VET qualification:

  • 300 hours for EQF level 2;
  • 660 hours for EQF level 3;
  • 960 hours for EQF level 4;
  • 1 260 hours for EQF level 5.

The legal framework distinguishes six types of initial and continuing VET (IVET and CVET) programmes, defines age and entry requirements, and regulates content and duration.

There are several types of training in real work environment.

In 1992, so-called apprenticeships for employees were introduced. They often guarantee a job at the end of training, according to the contract with the employer. The duration of this type of apprenticeships is up to six months.

In 2014, internships were introduced for young people (up to 29 years old) who have already acquired a VET qualification (or higher education degree) but have no work experience in the profession. The duration of internships is between six and 12 months.

Since 2014, dual VET has started to evolve. It allows learners to acquire VET qualifications. The practical training in a company alternates with periods of theoretical training in a school or another VET provider. In-company trainers (mentors) are responsible for the practical training. They are required to have a VET or higher education qualification and at least three years of professional experience.

More information for Bulgaria is available at: http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/data-visualisations/apprenticeship-schemes/country-fiches/bulgaria

Learn more about  apprenticeships in the national context from the European database on apprenticeship schemes by Cedefop: http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/data-visualisations/apprenticeship-schemes/scheme-fiches

VET stakeholders are the following:

  • the National Assembly of the Republic of Bulgaria – implements the legislative activity in the field of VET;
  • the Council of Ministers sets out the government policy in the field of VET;
  • the education ministry manages, coordinates and implements the VET policy;
  • the labour ministry participates in the implementation of the national VET policy;
  • the culture ministry implements the VET policy in art schools;
  • the sports ministry implements the VET policy in sports schools;
  • the health ministry participates in the coordination of the list of professions;
  • the sectoral ministries are involved in the development, coordination and updating of the State educational standards for the acquisition of qualifications; in the development, coordination and updating of the list of professions; in coordinating the admission plan for schools, funded by them;
  • the employers’ representatives participate in the development, coordination and updating of the State educational standards for the acquisition of qualifications, the legislative framework and policy documents, as well as in the updating of the list of professions and in organising and conducting qualification examinations;
  • the Economic and Social Council discusses and makes proposals with regard to issues, related to education, including VET in the context of lifelong learning;
  • the National Council for Tripartite Cooperation discusses and gives opinions on draft legislation regarding employment and vocational qualification and thus participates in the formulation of VET policy. The Council is composed on the tripartite principle. It is a body for consultations and cooperation at a national level for labour, social insurance and living standard issues, consisting of two representatives of the government (of whom one is the Vice Prime Minister), two representatives of trade unions and two representatives of employers’ organisations;
  • the National Council for Vocational Qualifications at the labour ministry coordinates the development of national policies and strategies for training for unemployed and employees, leading to the acquisition of professional qualifications;
  • the National Council for the Promotion of Employment at the labour ministry is also constituted on the tripartite principle. Its functions are to discuss and give opinions regarding the development and implementation of the employment policy and the national action plan for employment.
  • the National Agency for Vocational Education and Training (NAVET) is a specialised body within the Council of Ministers. The Agency develops the State educational standards for the acquisition of VET qualifications; it maintains the list of professions according to the needs of the labour market; it licenses and exercises further control over the activities of VET institutions for people over 16 years of age and over the activities of vocational guidance providers;
  • the Employment Agency implements the State policy on promoting employment and provides career information, counselling and training for employees and unemployed;
  • the Human Resource Development Centre is a national agency, which coordinates the management and administration of the EU Erasmus+ Programme;
  • the National Inspectorate of Education is a new structure (2018). The Inspectorate does not exercise control over the activities of directors and teachers in schools and kindergartens. In fact, the inspection, performed by the inspectorate, is the process of preparing a comprehensive independent assessment of the quality of services provided by kindergarten or school education at some point of their Activities, based on criteria and indicators, grouped into fields.

At regional level:

  • the regional administration participates in the implementation of the government policy for employment and acquisition of VET qualifications;
  • the Regional Employment Service Directorates implement the government policy for training of unemployed and employed adults for acquiring a vocational qualification; they offer training measures and projects; provide coordination and support in the field of vocational training, consultancy of and guidance for the local employment offices;
  • the regional management units of the education ministry (territorial administrative units of the education ministry, situated in the 28 district centres) implement the State policy in the field of VET at a regional level through projects, programmes and strategies for development, functioning and improvement of VET at a district level;
  • the permanent and temporary employment committees to the Regional Councils for regional development identify, organise and control the implementation of the State policy on the promotion of employment and training for acquiring a vocational qualification at a regional level.

At local level:

  • the municipalities participate in the development of a VET policy within their territories regarding: the employment needs for vocational guidance and training of students, unemployed and other groups; the necessary equipment of schools, vocational training providers and centres for information and guidance through funds from the municipal budget;
  • the Labour Offices of the Employment Agency provide career services: career information; advice and guidance for inclusion in the appropriate program/measure for employment and training;
  • the Cooperation Councils at the Labour Office Directorates monitor the implementation of programmes and measures included in the national action plan for employment.

According to the VET Act, sources of financing for State and municipal schools, vocational training centres for information and vocational guidance and training centres for trainers are:

  • the State budget;
  • the municipal budget;
  • donations;
  • own revenue;
  • national and international programmes;
  • other sources.

Funding mechanism for secondary VET schools is based on financial resources delegated to schools per student and varies between EUR 1 000 and 1 500 per year per student depending on the specifics of the VET programmes delivered.

The financing of vocational training offered after secondary education is provided by individuals under the terms and conditions set by the education minister. The training is financed by:

  • learners;
  • employers;
  • the State budget (active labour market policy);
  • EU programmes (mainly ESF).

Secondary VET is mostly State-financed. Private VET schools may also apply for State funding. However, only 11 out of 350 VET schools were private in 2017/18. 

Most (over 90%) adult VET providers are private. They may also receive public financing. In 2016, self-financing of training courses by learners was the most common source (53.49%) followed by employer financing (29.14%) and funding through national or European public resources (16.83%).

In VET there are:

  • general subject teachers;
  • vocational subject teachers;
  • trainers who work in vocational centres;
  • mentors for training that takes place at enterprises.

The qualification requirements are set by the relevant legislation. Strategic documents also contain provisions for teachers and trainers.

The required qualification of teachers in general studies subjects is a Master's, Bachelor's or Specialist /Professional Bachelor (national qualifications framework level 6A, European qualifications framework level 6) higher education degree acquired in:

  • a specialty of a professional field corresponding to the relevant school subject with a professional qualification in teaching;
  • a specialty of another professional field and additional professional qualification in teaching in the relevant school subject.

There is no special training provided to teachers in general studies subjects in respect of their work at vocational schools, since the mandatory general education background for a certain educational level is the same for all types of schools in the country.

Teachers in a vocational training subject must hold a Master, Bachelor or Specialist higher education degree in:

  • specialties of vocational fields corresponding to the professions on the list of professions for vocational education and training taught at the relevant school and an additional professional qualification in teaching;
  • specialties of a professional field corresponding to the professions taught at the relevant school. This is applied in cases where specialists working in companies or prominent experts in the respective field are invited to participate in vocational training at VET institutions, with the aim to provide up to date specialised knowledge and improve the link with practice and increase the attractiveness of VET.

The required qualification of trainers at vocational training centres is laid down in the State educational requirements by professions in the ‘Requirements to trainers’. A trainer is required to be a university graduate with a Master or Bachelor educational degree in a specialty corresponding to the professional field out of the list of professions for vocational education and training wherein the profession to be taught has been classified. There is no requirement for additional pedagogical qualifications for trainers at vocational training centres.

The conditions for professional development of staff within the public education system (in-service training) and also the procedures for acquiring professional qualification levels are set by Regulation No 5 (1996) [12]Ordinance No 12, active as of 1.9.2016: https://www.mon.bg/upload/2333/naredba_12_01.09.2016_prof_razvitie_uchiteli.pdf
.

There are five professional qualification levels (highest being level one) and three types of teachers positions that depend on the experience and qualifications. These are: a teacher, a senior teacher and a head teacher- . The Ordinance No 12 (2016) sets the terms and conditions for acquisition of such position, the conditions for continuing teachers' qualification on the base of credit points. Training is provided by the approved training providers which are registered in the teachers training programmes informational system of the education ministry [13]http://iropk.mon.bg/

VET teacher's profession isn’t attractive in Bulgaria.
The decrease of VET teachers aged up to 34, the fact that the profession was amongst those with high demand (12 420 vacancies), together with the steady increase of the relative share of older VET teachers (aged 60+) poses a risk of staff shortage in the next 20 years.

The 2016 Ordinance No 12 [14]https://www.mon.bg/upload/2333/naredba_12_01.09.2016_prof_razvitie_uchiteli.pdf
 regulates the statute and the professional development of the teachers, school headmasters and pedagogical staff. According to the ordinance, teachers (including VET teachers) are required to improve their competences continuously.

Teachers receive a certificate for continuing training or specialisation credit points. Sixteen training hours (academic) equals to one credit point. At least three credit points in acquired in external programmes are compulsory for each period of appraisal in addition to one credit point per year acquired in the institution they work. The credit system ensures opportunities for accumulation, recognition and transfer of credits (for the forthcoming periods, or in case of change of school, in application for higher qualification level). Teachers, headmasters and other pedagogical staff now have to create and maintain their professional portfolio.

According to the State requirements (Ordinance 162/1997), the basic training of teachers (10 hours) is designed so as to include obligatory practical training, which is carried out through doing teacher observation (60 hours), ongoing teaching practice (60 hours) and an internship (100 hours).

The ongoing teaching practice relates to participation in the organisation of the educational process under the direct supervision of a teacher at the higher education institution. The internship for people who would like to work as teachers is carried out under the supervision of a mentoring secondary education teacher and a teacher at the higher education institution.

European funds have been used for continuing vocational training of teachers.

More information is available in the Cedefop ReferNet thematic perspective on teachers and trainers [15]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/country-reports/teachers-and-trainers
.

The demand for qualifications is forecasted based on the macro-economic model (for medium and long-term forecasts) and the annual employer skill needs survey (for short-term forecasts).

The labour ministry is responsible for skills forecasting for medium and long term forecasts and the Employment Agency – for short term forecasts which are based on the employer skill needs survey provided twice in the year in accordance with the Employment Promotion Act.

Medium- and long-term forecasts take into account the demographic trends and changes in the educational attainment of the labour force and in the structure of the economy.

They provide information on labour demand and supply by:

  • level of education (basic, secondary or higher); 
  • economic activity;
  • profession;
  • structural shortage/surplus of labour by education level.

Since 2018, the Employment Committees of the Regional Development Councils biannually collect, process and submit to the Employment Agency information on the employers' demand for the labour force.

See also Cedefop’s skills forecast [16]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/data-visualisations/skills-forecast
and European Skills Index [17]https://skillspanorama.cedefop.europa.eu/en/indicators/european-skills-index
.

VET qualifications are classified in the list of professions by education field, vocational area, occupation and specialty.

According to the Pre-school and School Education Act [18]https://www.mon.bg/bg/57
 and the VET Act [19]https://www.navet.government.bg/bg/media/ZPOO-2018-1.pdf
, the acquisition of vocational qualifications is regulated by the State educational standards. The national agency for VET designs the standards in coordination with the relevant ministries and departments, and the education minister endorses them. The standards are by occupation (profession).

State educational standards are developed in units of learning outcomes. They include:

  • requirements for the candidates – minimum entry level qualification and education requirements for pupils and adults;
  • option for validation of professional knowledge, skills and competences;
  • opportunities for continuing vocational training;
  • description of profession – with core working activities, responsibilities, job conditions specification, used equipment and tools, special requirements etc.
  • opportunities for professional development according to the national classification of professions and occupations;
  • units of learning outcomes for general, sectoral and specific vocational training– with defined knowledge, skills and expected competences;
  • defined assessment tools for theoretical and practical skills;
  • execution of the examination conditions;
  • assessment criteria;
  • requirements for training facilities;
  • requirements for trainers.

The approach for development of State educational standard in units of learning outcomes implements the principles of the European credit system for vocational education and training (ECVET) recommendation since 2016. The standards are mandatory for VET programmes leading to nationally recognised qualifications, also for adults.

In the beginning of 2019 NAVET’s methodology guidelines for development of State educational standards were revised. In addition of core development process there were included two more options:

  • collecting information for the profession from employers' organisations by online questionnaires
  • consultation with branch employers ( before the final acceptance), according to development or updating the standards

The up-to-date State educational standards are available for free use on the websites of the education ministry and the national agency for VET [20]http://www.mon.bg and http://www.navet.government.bg
.

Each time that the State educational standards are amended, vocational training centres are obliged to update the relevant training programmes and curricula.

The curricula are based on framework programmes [21]Framework programmes include: general provisions, including the regulatory basis, the aim and purpose of the programme; requirements: entry (age, medical, previous education and qualification level), career and education pathways, form(s) of training (day full time, evening, part-time,  individual, distance, dual, self-learning); curriculum; training module content (theoretical and practical); graduation requirements (State examinations for full qualifications and final examinations for partial qualifications).
 and on the State educational standards for VET.

The education ministry develops the compulsory part of the VET curricula for new professions or forms of learning in VET schools.

VET teachers and employers support designing the curricula.

School-specific curricula part is designed by VET providers for each programme in order to reflect the specificities of the local labour market.

Curricula for VET schools comprise a training schedule, subject distribution between general and vocational parts, graduation requirements, explanatory notes, etc. to ensure the achievement of the learning outcomes.

Vocational training centres develop their own training programmes that take account also of prior learning. These programmes are evaluated (licenced) by the national agency for VET.

Since 2018, in the amended VET Act, the requirement to update modules in VET curriculum once every five years was added.

The Pre-school and School Education Act (2015, in force since August 2016) and the VET Act (2014)) establish the process of quality management, including VET. The quality management is a continuous process of organisational development based on its analysis, planning, implementation and evaluation. The evaluation is performed through self-assessment and inspection. It aims at preparing the internal evaluation of the quality of provided education through operations, procedures and criteria set by schools. It is carried out under terms and conditions determined by the State educational standard for quality management in the institutions.

The process follows these steps:

  • establishing a working group;
  • defining activities, procedures, criteria, indicators and tools;
  • contacting learners, teachers and parents;
  • performing self-assessment and analysing the results that may lead to recommendations;
  • preparing and validating the report.

The inspection is a process of preparing an overall independent expert evaluation of the education quality in schools at a given moment and guidelines for improvement. At least one inspection should be carried out in each school every five years.

All VET providers have to introduce an internal system for quality assurance to meet the requirement of the standards.

This system comprises:

  • policy and goals for quality assurance;
  • quality management responsibilities;
  • rules for the system’s implementation;
  • annual schedule for self-assessment;
  • rules and procedures for measuring the quality achieved through self-assessment.

A significant role is given to the improvement of the working environment, learning outcomes, interaction with the local community stakeholders, social partners, employers' organisations and universities, and staff training. The education ministry supports and monitors the implementation of quality assurance in VET schools and the national agency for VET in vocational training centres.

In 2014, the validation of informal and non-formal learning outcomes was introduced by the amendments to the VET Act [22]https://www.mon.bg/bg/57
.

The validation of knowledge, skills and competences acquired in non-formal and informal learning is regulated by Ordinance No 2/2014 (in force since 1.1.2015) [23]https://www.mon.bg/bg/59
, approved by the minister of education and science.

VET providers organise the validation for professions and specialties that are included in the list of professions for VET [24]https://www.mon.bg/bg/100053
.

Introducing a new approach for the development of State educational standards, based on units of learning outcomes in 2015 [25]https://www.mon.bg/bg/100305
, made the validation process more transparent.

Applicants present the evidence for the learning outcomes they possess in order to acquire a full or partial qualification allowing their access to vocational training and/or to the labour market.

The methods for assessing the learning outcomes are essentially identical to those for assessing knowledge, skills and competences applied in formal education and training.

Two types of certificates can be issued as a result of the validation:

  • a certificate validating a full qualification. By means of examination it certifies that all units of learning outcomes defined in the State educational standard have been achieved;
  • a certificate validating a part of vocational qualification (partial qualification). It certifies through an examination that one or several units of learning outcomes included in the State educational standard have been achieved.

Holders of these certificates have the same rights as those who have attained corresponding certificates through the formal education system.

Validation procedures are monitored by the regional education authorities and national agency for VET.

They also consult and guide providers methodologically.

Validation procedures can be funded by beneficiaries (individuals), companies and projects.

Validation fee for individuals cannot exceed the actual expenditure incurred by a provider.

For more information about arrangements for the validation of non-formal and informal learning please visit Cedefop’s European database [26]https://cumulus.cedefop.europa.eu/files/vetelib/2016/2016_validate_BG.pdf
.

VET is attractive because after graduation learners receive both a diploma for secondary education (giving access to higher education) and a certificate for vocational qualification.

Allowances, grants, vouchers and travel subsidy

Secondary VET learners may receive grants:

  • performance scholarships are awarded to learners with high learning achievements;
  • social allowances support access to education and prevent early leaving from VET of disadvantaged learners, e.g. with special education needs or orphans.

The grants are offered on a monthly basis and vary between 5% and 15% from the minimal national salary.

Learners in dual VET receive monthly remuneration from the companies they are trained in based on their contract. In addition, secondary VET learners can participate in ESF projects for work-based learning where they can also receive an additional grant of EUR 150.

A person (employed or unemployed) may have only one training voucher for key competences and one for VET training during the implementation of the programme:

  • at EQF level 2 – EUR 300;
  • at EQF level 3 – EUR 600;
  • at EQF level 4 – EUR 900.

All secondary VET learners are entitled to receive discounts when using public transport, including trains and in-city public transport. The discount can be up to 60% and is decided by each municipality.

According to the VET Act, provision of training is free of value added tax for companies.

Financial support for offering dual VET

Employment Promotion Act foresees financial benefits for employers for creating training places (jobs) for the unemployed. State budget pays remuneration, social security and health insurance for apprentices for up to 36 months. It also covers the costs of the training institution that provides theoretical lessons to an apprentice and mentoring costs.

According to the VET Act the system of vocational education and training includes vocational guidance, vocational education and vocational training.

The institutions, which provide vocational guidance for students are structured on regional principle for 28 regions.

The responsible institution for licensing centres for information and vocational guidance for adults is NAVET.

Up to 31.12. 2018, 48 centres for information and vocational guidance for adults were licensed.

The regional employment service directorates, which are part of the employment agency, provide vocational guidance to the unemployed individuals and for those, who wish to change their current job.

The employment service directorates provide  vocational guidance services in the form of:

  • in person vocational consultation;
  • vocational consultation in groups.

The main goals of these services are to support individuals in making the right choice in terms of entering the labour market or choosing a suitable VET programme, the level of vocational qualification – initial or continuous and the options for acquiring the desired qualification.

Please see:

Vocational education and training system chart

Tertiary

Programme Types
Not available

Post-secondary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

EQF 5

Post-secondary VET,

up to 2 years,

WBL: min. 50%,

FP: D (Г)

 

 ISCED 453

Initial/Continuing VET programmes leading to EQF level 5, ISCED 453 (РАМКОВА ПРОГРАМА Г за професионално обучение с придобиване на четвърта степен на професионална квалификация)
EQF level
5
ISCED-P 2011 level

453

Usual entry grade

12

Usual completion grade

12+

Usual entry age

18+

Usual completion age

18+

Length of a programme (years)

2

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

For State owned schools

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • school-based learning (contact studies, including virtual communication with the teacher/trainer);
  • work practice (practical training at school and in-company practice);
  • apprenticeships.
Main providers
  • Schools
  • Enterprises
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

<=70%

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • practical training at school
  • in-company practice
Main target groups

Programmes are available for people who have completed upper secondary education.

Entry requirements for learners (qualification/education level, age)

This type of VET is available only for people who have completed secondary education.

Assessment of learning outcomes

Learners need to pass a vocational qualification examination.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Graduates receive certificate for vocational qualification for EQF level 4 (Свидетелство за професионална квалификация - 4 СПК).

The learners may also ask to receive a Europass certificate supplement to the certificate.

The document is recognised by the labour market.

Examples of qualifications

Company manager, hotel manager, restaurant manager as well as sports and military/defence qualifications [43]As described in national context.
.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Those who complete VET can enter the labour market.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

According to Art. 40, para 1 of the VET Act, ‘Validation of professional knowledge, skills and competences is the identification and recognition of professional knowledge, skills and competences acquired through non-formal education or self-study and their compliance with the State educational requirements for acquiring qualification in professions’.

The validation procedure is carried out for professions and specialties included in the list of professions for vocational education and training under Art. 6 of the VET Act. The validation procedure starts with an application submitted by the person to the director of the institution entitled to carry out the validation. In order to prove the acquired professional knowledge, skills and competences declared for validation, the person shall submit copies of documents held by him/her together with the originals for reconciliation – workbook, service book, social security book, education diploma, attestations, references, certificates from previous professional trainings, artefacts, photos of artefacts, etc.

Validation procedure includes informing the person requesting validation about the purposes, validation procedures and their sequence, identifying the professional knowledge, skills and competences acquired by the person and recognition of a degree of professional qualification or of qualification for part of a profession.

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Information not available

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

Share of learners in this programme type compared with the total number of VET learners

Information not available

Secondary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

EQF 2

Mainly school-based VET,

3 years,

WBL: min. 70%,

FP: A (A)

 

ISCED 351

Initial VET programmes leading to EQF level 2, ISCED 351 (Рамкова програма А за начално професионално обучение с придобиване на първа степен на професионална квалификация)
EQF level
2
ISCED-P 2011 level

351

Usual entry grade

8

Usual completion grade

10

Usual entry age

13

Usual completion age

16

Length of a programme (years)

2

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

In Bulgaria education is mandatory till the age of 16.

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

This framework programme is only for initial VET.

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

For State owned schools

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • daily
  • evening
  • extramural
  • distance learning
  • work based training
  • individual
  • self-learning

The most common learning form is daily form.

Main providers
  • schools
  • schools in partnership with enterprises.
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>=70%

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • practical training at school – when the school uses its own base for practical training
  • in-company practice - when learners go to external companies for practical training
Main target groups

Programmes are available for young people and also for adults.

This VET programme is appropriate for those learners who wish an early entry to the labour market.

Entry requirements for learners (qualification/education level, age)

The requirements for enrolment in VET programmes are minimum age, health condition, previous education and qualification level.

The minimum required age is :

  • 13 (in the year of application) for vocational gymnasiums and schools;
  • 16 for vocational training centres.

The health condition of the applicant is certified by a medical certificate proving the fitness for the selected occupation.

Minimum entry requirements for VET learners:

  • for current learners - grade 6;
  • for newly enrolled learners (after 2016) -basic education, secondary education, stage 1, grade 7 for learners with special educational needs.

Minimum entry requirements for individuals above the age of 16:

  • for current learners: primary education or literacy course,  grade 7 for learners with special educational needs;
  • for newly enrolled learners (after 2016): primary education or literacy course, grade 7 for learners with special educational needs.
Assessment of learning outcomes

To complete this type of VET programme learners need to pass a State qualification examination: (for theory and practice of the occupation.

The education ministry develops and approves national examination programmes for the State qualification examinations. They include guidelines for content of the exam, task assignments and assessment criteria.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Graduates receive:

  • certificate for completed first stage of secondary education (Удостоверение за завършен първи гимназиален етап на средно образование);
  • certificate for vocational qualification for EQF level 2 (Свидетелство за професионална квалификация - 1 СПК). The learners  may also ask to receive a  Europass certificate supplement to the certificate;
  • competence certificate (Свидетелство за правоспособност) – if applicable for the particular qualification.

All these documents are recognised by the education system and by the labour market.

Examples of qualifications

Welder, turner, worker in the food industry [30]As described in national context
.

These three qualifications are included in the list of specialties from professions with expected shortage of specialists on the labour market, approved by the Council of Ministers in 2018.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

The graduates may continue their studies to the second stage of secondary education and VET qualification at EQF level 3 or 4, or can enter the labour market. However progression in either VET or general education is subject to different prerequisites, rather than completion of this VET programme.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

According to Art. 40, para 1 of the VET Act, ‘Validation of professional knowledge, skills and competences is the identification and recognition of professional knowledge, skills and competences acquired through non-formal education or self-study and their compliance with the State educational requirements for acquiring qualification in professions’.

The validation procedure is carried out for professions and specialties included in the list of professions for vocational education and training under Art. 6 of the VET Act. The validation procedure starts with an application submitted by the person to the director of the institution entitled to carry out the validation. In order to prove the acquired professional knowledge, skills and competences declared for validation, the person shall submit copies of documents held by him/her together with the originals for reconciliation – workbook, service book, social security book, education diploma, attestations, references, certificates from previous professional trainings, artefacts, photos of artefacts, etc.

Validation procedure includes informing the person requesting validation about the purposes, validation procedures and their sequence, identifying the professional knowledge, skills and competences acquired by the person and recognition of a degree of professional qualification or of qualification for part of a profession.

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Y

This type of VET programme includes modules for:

  • entrepreneurship;
  • foreign language and communication;​
  • ICT (digital competences).
Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

Share of learners in this programme type compared with the total number of VET learners

<=5% [31]2018/19. Share of learners compared to the total number of secondary VET learners.

EQF 3

Mainly school-based VET,

4 years, 

WBL: min. 60%,

FP: B (Б)

 

ISCED 351

Initial/Continuing VET programmes leading to EQF level 3, ISCED 351 (Рамкова програма Б за начално и продължаващо професионално обучение с придобиване на втора степен на професионална квалификация)
EQF level
3
ISCED-P 2011 level

351

Usual entry grade

8

Usual completion grade

11

Usual entry age

13 - Minimum age of the candidate in the year of application

Usual completion age

17

Length of a programme (years)

4

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

In Bulgaria education till the age of 16 is mandatory.

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

Y

This framework programme is applicable for both IVET and CVET.

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

For State owned schools

Is it available for adults?

Y

It is available for adult learners who cover minimum entry requirements.

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • daily 
  • evening
  • extramural
  • distance learning
  • work based training
  • individual
  • self-learning

The most common learning form is daily form.

  • Apprenticeship is available after the age of 16 (grades 11-12).
Main providers
  • schools;
  • schools in partnership with enterprises.
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>=60%

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • practical training at school – when the school uses its premises for practical training
  • in-company practice – when learners go to external companies for practical training
Main target groups

This VET programme is appropriate for learners who wish to enter the labour market holding a recognised professional qualification and also for those who wish to continue their studies at EQF level 4.

Entry requirements for learners (qualification/education level, age)

The requirements for enrolment in VET programmes are minimum age, health condition, previous education and qualification level.

The minimum required age is 13 (in the year of application) for vocational gymnasiums and schools.

The health condition of the applicant is certified by a medical certificate proving the fitness for the selected occupation.

There is no limitation for maximum age.

Completed basic education is also a prerequisite for this type of programme for current learners.

Assessment of learning outcomes

Vocational education finishes with State qualification examinations: for theory and practice of the occupation.

The education ministry develops and approves national examination programmes for the State qualification examinations. They include guidelines for content of the exams, task assignments and assessment criteria.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Graduates receive:

  • certificate for vocational qualification for EQF level 3 (Свидетелство за професионална квалификация - 2 СПК). The learners may also ask to receive a Europass certificate supplement to the certificate;
  • competence certificate (Свидетелство за правоспособност) – if applicable for the particular qualification.

All these documents are recognised by the education system and by the labour market.

Examples of qualifications

Waiter, cook, hair dresser [32]As described in national context.
.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

The graduates may continue their studies at second stage of secondary education and VET qualification at EQF level 4, or can enter the labour market. However progression in either VET or general education is subject to different prerequisites, rather than completion of this VET programme.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

According to Art. 40, para 1 of the VET Act, ‘Validation of professional knowledge, skills and competences is the identification and recognition of professional knowledge, skills and competences acquired through non-formal education or self-study and their compliance with the State educational requirements for acquiring qualification in professions’.

The validation procedure is carried out for professions and specialties included in the list of professions for vocational education and training under Art. 6 of the VET Act. The validation procedure starts with an application submitted by the person to the director of the institution entitled to carry out the validation. In order to prove the acquired professional knowledge, skills and competences declared for validation, the person shall submit copies of documents held by him/her together with the originals for reconciliation – workbook, service book, social security book, education diploma, attestations, references, certificates from previous professional trainings, artefacts, photos of artefacts, etc.

Validation procedure includes informing the person requesting validation about the purposes, validation procedures and their sequence, identifying the professional knowledge, skills and competences acquired by the person and recognition of a degree of professional qualification or of qualification for part of a profession.

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Y

There are subjects for:

  • entrepreneurship;
  • foreign language and communication;​
  • ICT (digital competences).
Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

Share of learners in this programme type compared with the total number of VET learners

Information not available

EQF 3

Mainly school-based VET,

1 year,

WBL: min. 60%,

FP:B (Б)

 

ISCED 351

Initial/Continuing VET programmes leading to EQF level 3, ISCED 351 (РАМКОВА ПРОГРАМА Б за начално и продължаващо професионално обучение с придобиване на втора степен на професионална квалификация)
EQF level
3
ISCED-P 2011 level

351

Usual entry grade

11

Usual completion grade

12

Usual entry age

17

Usual completion age

17

Length of a programme (years)

1

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

In Bulgaria education is mandatory till the age of 16.

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

It is part of formal education and training system.

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

Y

This framework programme is applicable for both IVET and CVET.

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

For State owned schools

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • daily
  • evening
  • extramural
  • distance learning
  • work based training
  • individual
  • self-learning

The most common learning form is daily form.

  • Apprenticeship is available after the age of 16 (grades 11-12).
Main providers
  • schools
  • schools in partnership with enterprises
  • vocational training centres
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>=60% - Min 60% - The share of practical training for these qualifications that require the performance of a complex set of activities (NQF/ EQF level 3) is no less than 60%.

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • practical training at school
  • in-company practice – when learners go to external companies for practical training
  • practical training at school – when the school uses its own premises for practical training
Main target groups

Programmes are available for individuals above the age 16.

Entry requirements for learners (qualification/education level, age)

The requirements for enrolment in VET programmes are minimum age, health condition, previous education and qualification level.

The minimum required age is 13 (in the year of application) for vocational gymnasiums and schools.

The health condition of the applicant is certified by a medical certificate proving the fitness for the selected occupation.

Previous education requirements are at least a completed grade or stage from the basic or secondary education, completed initial stage of the lower secondary education or a successfully completed literacy course under the Employment Promotion Act.

For the particular programme stage 1 of secondary education and VET qualification level 2 is a prerequisite for admission – for newly enrolled learners (after 2016).

Assessment of learning outcomes

Vocational education finishes with State qualification examination: The examination is both theoretical and practical and is relevant to the occupation.

The education ministry develops and approves national examination programmes for the State qualification examination. They include guidelines for content of the exams, task assignments and assessment criteria.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Graduates receive:

  • certificate for vocational qualification for EQF level 3 (Свидетелство за професионална квалификация - 2 СПК). The learners may also ask to receive a  Europass certificate supplement to the certificate;
  • competence certificate (Свидетелство за правоспособност) - if applicable for the particular qualification.

All these documents are recognised by the education system and by the labour market.

Examples of qualifications

Assistant trainer in sports, system programmer, tourist guide [33]As described in national context.
.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

The graduates may continue their studies to the second stage of secondary education and VET qualification at EQF level 4, or can enter the labour market. However progression in either VET or general education is subject to different prerequisites rather than the completion of this VET programme. 

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

According to Art. 40, para 1 of the VET Act, ‘Validation of professional knowledge, skills and competences is the identification and recognition of professional knowledge, skills and competences acquired through non-formal education or self-study and their compliance with the State educational requirements for acquiring qualification in professions’.

The validation procedure is carried out for professions and specialties included in the list of professions for vocational education and training under Art. 6 of the VET Act. The validation procedure starts with an application submitted by the person to the director of the institution entitled to carry out the validation. In order to prove the acquired professional knowledge, skills and competences declared for validation, the person shall submit copies of documents held by him/her together with the originals for reconciliation – workbook, service book, social security book, education diploma, attestations, references, certificates from previous professional trainings, artefacts, photos of artefacts, etc.

Validation procedure includes informing the person requesting validation about the purposes, validation procedures and their sequence, identifying the professional knowledge, skills and competences acquired by the person and recognition of a degree of professional qualification or of qualification for part of a profession.

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Y

There are modules for:

  • entrepreneurship;
  • foreign language and communication;​
  • ICT (digital competences).
Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

Share of learners in this programme type compared with the total number of VET learners

Information not available

EQF 3

Mainly school-based VET,

5 years,

WBL: min. 60%,

FP: C (B)

 

ISCED 354

Initial/Continuing VET programmes leading to EQF level 3, ISCED 354 (РАМКОВА ПРОГРАМА В за професионално образование с придобиване на втора степен на професионална квалификация)
EQF level
3
ISCED-P 2011 level

354

Usual entry grade

8

Usual completion grade

12

Usual entry age

14

Usual completion age

18

Length of a programme (years)

5

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

In Bulgaria education is mandatory till the age of 16.

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

For State owned schools

Is it available for adults?

N

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • school-based learning (contact studies, including virtual communication with the teacher/trainer);
  • work practice (practical training at school and in-company practice);
  • apprenticeships after the age of 16 (grades 11-12).
Main providers

Schools

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>=60%

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • practical training at school
  • in-company practice
Main target groups

Programmes are available for young people.

Based on the type and school curriculum for students with sensory disabilities, special curricula are developed. Typical curricula for framework programmes C apply depending on the student's specific abilities to reach the learning outcomes that are included in the State Educational Standard for acquiring a qualification in the respective profession. For imprisoned learners vocational education is organised for the acquisition of the second degree of professional qualification (EQF 3) in the first and second stage of secondary education.

Entry requirements for learners (qualification/education level, age)

Learners must be at least 13 years old in order to apply.

Basic education is a prerequisite for admission at this VET programme.

Assessment of learning outcomes

To complete a VET programme learners need to pass a State matriculation examination in ‘Bulgarian language and literature’ and a State qualification examination.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Graduates receive:

  • diploma for secondary education (Диплома за средно образование);
  • certificate for vocational qualification for EQF level 3 (Свидетелство за професионална квалификация - 2 СПК). The learners may also ask to receive a  Europass certificate supplement to the certificate;
  • competence certificate (Свидетелство за правоспособност) - if applicable for the particular qualification.

All these documents are recognised by the education system and by the labour market.

Examples of qualifications

Electric fitter, cook, wood processing operator [34]As described in national context.
.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

The graduates may:

  • continue their studies at tertiary education;
  • continue their VET qualification at EQF Level 5;
  • enter the labour market.
Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

According to Art. 40, para 1 of the VET Act, ‘Validation of professional knowledge, skills and competences is the identification and recognition of professional knowledge, skills and competences acquired through non-formal education or self-study and their compliance with the State educational requirements for acquiring qualification in professions’.

The validation procedure is carried out for professions and specialties included in the list of professions for vocational education and training under Art. 6 of the VET Act. The validation procedure starts with an application submitted by the person to the director of the institution entitled to carry out the validation. In order to prove the acquired professional knowledge, skills and competences declared for validation, the person shall submit copies of documents held by him/her together with the originals for reconciliation – workbook, service book, social security book, education diploma, attestations, references, certificates from previous professional trainings, artefacts, photos of artefacts, etc.

Validation procedure includes informing the person requesting validation about the purposes, validation procedures and their sequence, identifying the professional knowledge, skills and competences acquired by the person and recognition of a degree of professional qualification or of qualification for part of a profession.

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Information not available

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

Share of learners in this programme type compared with the total number of VET learners

=20% [35]2018/19. Share of learners compared with the total number of secondary VET learners.

EQF 4

Mainly school-based VET,

2 years,

WBL: min. 50%,

FP: C (B)

 

ISCED 354

Initial/Continuing VET programmes leading to EQF level 4, ISCED 354 (РАМКОВА ПРОГРАМА В за професионално образование с придобиване на трета степен на професионална квалификация)
EQF level
4
ISCED-P 2011 level

354

Usual entry grade

11

Usual completion grade

12

Usual entry age

17

Usual completion age

18

Length of a programme (years)

2

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

In Bulgaria education is mandatory till the age of 16.

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

For State owned schools

Is it available for adults?

N

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • school-based learning (contact studies, including virtual communication with the teacher/trainer);
  • work practice (practical training at school and in-company practice);
  • apprenticeships after the age of 16 (grades 11-12)
Main providers

Schools

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>=50%

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • practical training at school
  • in-company practice
Main target groups

Programmes are available for young people.

Based on the type and school curriculum for students with sensory disabilities, special curricula are developed. Typical curricula for framework programmes C apply depend on the learner's specific abilities to acquire the learning outcomes that are included in the State educational standard for acquiring a qualification in the respective profession. For imprisoned learners, vocational education is organised for the acquisition of the second degree of professional qualification (EQF 3) in the first and second stage of secondary education.

Entry requirements for learners (qualification/education level, age)

Learners must be at least 13 years old to apply.

Basic education is a prerequisite for admission to this VET programme.

For the particular VET programme completion of secondary education stage 1 and VET qualification level 2 are prerequisites for admission.

Assessment of learning outcomes

To complete this type of VET programme learners need to pass a State matriculation examination in ‘Bulgarian language and literature’ and a State qualification examination.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Graduates receive:

  • diploma for secondary education (Диплома за средно образование);
  • certificate for vocational qualification for EQF level 4 (Свидетелство за професионална квалификация - 3 СПК). The learners may also ask to receive a  Europass certificate supplement to the certificate;
  • competence certificate (Свидетелство за правоспособност) – if applicable for the particular qualification.

All these documents are recognised by the education system and by the labour market.

Examples of qualifications

Electro-technician, restaurant keeper, wood-procession technician-technologist [36]As described in national context 
.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

The graduates may:

- continue their studies at tertiary education;

- continue their VET qualification at EQF Level 5;

- enter the labour market.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

General education subjects

Y

According to Art. 40, para 1 of the VET Act, ‘Validation of professional knowledge, skills and competences is the identification and recognition of professional knowledge, skills and competences acquired through non-formal education or self-study and their compliance with the State educational requirements for acquiring qualification in professions’.

The validation procedure is carried out for professions and specialties included in the list of professions for vocational education and training under Art. 6 of the VET Act. The validation procedure starts with an application submitted by the person to the director of the institution entitled to carry out the validation. In order to prove the acquired professional knowledge, skills and competences declared for validation, the person shall submit copies of documents held by him/her together with the originals for reconciliation – workbook, service book, social security book, education diploma, attestations, references, certificates from previous professional trainings, artefacts, photos of artefacts, etc.

Validation procedure includes informing the person requesting validation about the purposes, validation procedures and their sequence, identifying the professional knowledge, skills and competences acquired by the person and recognition of a degree of professional qualification or of qualification for part of a profession.

Key competences

Information not available

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

Share of learners in this programme type compared with the total number of VET learners

Information not available

EQF 4

Mainly school-based VET,

5 years,

WBL: min. 50%,

FP: C (B)

 

ISCED 354

Initial/Continuing VET programmes leading to EQF level 4, ISCED 354 (РАМКОВА ПРОГРАМА В за професионално образование с придобиване на трета степен на професионална квалификация)
EQF level
4
ISCED-P 2011 level

354

Usual entry grade

8

Usual completion grade

12

Usual entry age

14

Usual completion age

18

Length of a programme (years)

5

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

In Bulgaria education is mandatory till the age of 16.

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

For State owned schools

Is it available for adults?

N

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • school-based learning (contact studies, including virtual communication with the teacher/trainer);
  • work practice (practical training at school and in-company practice);
  • apprenticeships after the age of 16 (grades 11-12)
Main providers

Schools

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>=50%

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • practical training at school
  • in-company practice
Main target groups

Programmes are available for young people.

Based on the type and school curriculum for learners with sensory disabilities, special curricula are developed. Typical curricula for framework programmes C apply depending on the student's specific abilities to acquire the learning outcomes that are included in the State educational standard for acquiring a qualification in the respective profession. For imprisoned learners vocational education is organised for the acquisition of the third degree of professional qualification (EQF 4) in the first and second stage of secondary education.

Entry requirements for learners (qualification/education level, age)

Learners must be at least 13 years old (when they apply) to enrol.

For this type of VET programme the completion of basic education is a prerequisite for admission.

Assessment of learning outcomes

The secondary VET is completed with State matriculation examinations in ‘Bulgarian language and literature’ and a State qualification examination.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Graduates receive:

  • diploma for secondary education (Диплома за средно образование);
  • certificate for vocational qualification for EQF level 4 (Свидетелство за професионална квалификация - 3 СПК). The learners  may also ask to receive a  Europass certificate supplement to the certificate;
  • competence certificate (Свидетелство за правоспособност) – if applicable for the particular qualification.

All these documents are recognised by the education system and by the labour market.

Examples of qualifications

Electro-technician, restaurant keeper, wood-procession technician-technologist [37]As described in national context 
.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

The graduates may:

  • continue their studies at tertiary education;
  • continue their VET qualification at EQF Level 5;
  • enter the labour market.
Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

According to Art. 40, para 1 of the VET Act, ‘Validation of professional knowledge, skills and competences is the identification and recognition of professional knowledge, skills and competences acquired through non-formal education or self-study and their compliance with the State educational requirements for acquiring qualification in professions’.

The validation procedure is carried out for professions and specialties included in the list of professions for vocational education and training under Art. 6 of the VET Act. The validation procedure starts with an application submitted by the person to the director of the institution entitled to carry out the validation. In order to prove the acquired professional knowledge, skills and competences declared for validation, the person shall submit copies of documents held by him/her together with the originals for reconciliation – workbook, service book, social security book, education diploma, attestations, references, certificates from previous professional trainings, artefacts, photos of artefacts, etc.

Validation procedure includes informing the person requesting validation about the purposes, validation procedures and their sequence, identifying the professional knowledge, skills and competences acquired by the person and recognition of a degree of professional qualification or of qualification for part of a profession.

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Information not available

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

Share of learners in this programme type compared with the total number of VET learners

>=75% [38]2018/19. Share of learners compared to the total number of secondary VET learners.

EQF 4

Mainly school-based VET,

1 year,

WBL: min. 50%,

FP: C (B)

 

ISCED 354

Initial VET programmes leading to EQF level 4, ISCED 354 (РАМКОВА ПРОГРАМА В за професионално образование с придобиване на трета степен на професионална квалификация)
EQF level
4
ISCED-P 2011 level

354

Usual entry grade

12

Usual completion grade

12

Usual entry age

17

Usual completion age

18

Length of a programme (years)

1

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Information not available

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

Information not available

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

For State owned schools

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • school-based learning (contact studies, including virtual communication with the teacher/trainer);
  • work practice (practical training at school and in-company practice);
  • apprenticeships after the age of 16 (grades 11-12).
Main providers
  • schools
  • enterprises 
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

<=70%

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • practical training at school
  • in-company practice
Main target groups

Programmes are available for young people and also for adults.

Entry requirements for learners (qualification/education level, age)

The requirements for enrolment in VET programmes are minimum age, health condition, previous education and qualification level.

The minimum required age is 13 (in the year of application) for vocational gymnasiums and schools and 16 for vocational training centres (initial and continuous VET providers for employees and unemployed, without acquisition of an education level). The health condition of the applicant is certified by a medical certificate proving the fitness for the selected occupation. Previous education requirements are at least a completed grade or stage from the basic or secondary education, completed initial stage of the lower secondary education or a successfully completed literacy course under the Employment Promotion Act.

For the particular VET programme completion of grade 11 and VET qualification level 2 or 3 are prerequisites for admission.

Assessment of learning outcomes

To complete the program learners need to pass a matriculation exam and a State qualification examination.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Graduates receive:

  • diploma for secondary education (Диплома за средно образование);
  • certificate for vocational qualification for EQF level 4 (Свидетелство за професионална квалификация - 3 СПК). The learners may also ask to receive a Europass certificate supplement to the certificate;
  • competence certificate (Свидетелство за правоспособност) - if applicable for the particular qualification.

All these documents are recognised by the education system and by the labour market.

Examples of qualifications

Builder, electro technician, electronic equipment technician, cook, waiter, assistant trainer in sports and system programmer [39]As described in national context 
.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

The graduates may:

  • continue their studies at tertiary education;
  • continue their VET qualification at EQF Level 5;
  • enter the labour market.
Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

According to Art. 40, para 1 of the VET Act, ‘Validation of professional knowledge, skills and competences is the identification and recognition of professional knowledge, skills and competences acquired through non-formal education or self-study and their compliance with the State educational requirements for acquiring qualification in professions’.

The validation procedure is carried out for professions and specialties included in the list of professions for vocational education and training under Art. 6 of the VET Act. The validation procedure starts with an application submitted by the person to the director of the institution entitled to carry out the validation. In order to prove the acquired professional knowledge, skills and competences declared for validation, the person shall submit copies of documents held by him/her together with the originals for reconciliation – workbook, service book, social security book, education diploma, attestations, references, certificates from previous professional trainings, artefacts, photos of artefacts, etc.

Validation procedure includes informing the person requesting validation about the purposes, validation procedures and their sequence, identifying the professional knowledge, skills and competences acquired by the person and recognition of a degree of professional qualification or of qualification for part of a profession.

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Information not available

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

Share of learners in this programme type compared with the total number of VET learners

Information not available

EQF 2

Mainly school-based VET,

1 year,

WBL: min. 70%,

FP: A (A)

 

ISCED 351

Initial VET programmes leading to EQF level 2, ISCED 351 (РАМКОВА ПРОГРАМА А за начално професионално обучение с придобиване на първа степен на професионална квалификация)
EQF level
2
ISCED-P 2011 level

351

Usual entry grade

11

Usual completion grade

11

Usual entry age

16

Usual completion age

17

Length of a programme (years)

1

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

For State owned schools

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • school-based learning (contact studies, including virtual communication with the teacher/trainer);
  • work practice (practical training at school and in-company practice);
  • apprenticeships after the age of 16 (grades 11-12).
Main providers
  • schools
  • enterprises 
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>=70%

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • practical training at school
  • in-company practice
Main target groups

Programmes are available for young people and also for adults.

Entry requirements for learners (qualification/education level, age)

The requirements for enrolment in VET programmes are minimum age, health condition, previous education and qualification level.

The minimum required age is 13 (in the year of application) for vocational gymnasiums and schools and 16 for vocational training centres (initial and continuous VET providers for employees and unemployed, without acquisition of an education level). The health condition of the applicant is certified by a medical certificate proving the fitness for the selected occupation. Previous education requirements are at least a completed grade or stage from the basic or secondary education, completed initial stage of the lower secondary education or a successfully completed literacy course under the Employment Promotion Act.

For this type of programme the completion of secondary education, stage 1 is a prerequisite for admission.

Assessment of learning outcomes

Information not available

Diplomas/certificates provided

Graduates receive:

  • certificate for vocational qualification for EQF level 2 (Свидетелство за професионална квалификация - 1 СПК). The students may also ask for receiving Europass certificate supplement to the certificate;
  • competence certificate (Свидетелство за правоспособност) – if applicable for the particular qualification.

All these documents are recognised by the education system and by the labour market.

Examples of qualifications

Builder, electro technician, electronic equipment technician, cook, waiter, assistant trainer in sports and system programmer [40]As described in national context 
.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Those who complete VET can enter the labour market or continue their studies at EQF level 3 (VET) or in general education stage 2. However, progression in either VET or general education is subject to different prerequisites rather than the completion of this VET programme.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

According to Art. 40, para 1 of the VET Act, ‘Validation of professional knowledge, skills and competences is the identification and recognition of professional knowledge, skills and competences acquired through non-formal education or self-study and their compliance with the State educational requirements for acquiring qualification in professions’.

The validation procedure is carried out for professions and specialties included in the list of professions for vocational education and training under Art. 6 of the VET Act. The validation procedure starts with an application submitted by the person to the director of the institution entitled to carry out the validation. In order to prove the acquired professional knowledge, skills and competences declared for validation, the person shall submit copies of documents held by him/her together with the originals for reconciliation – workbook, service book, social security book, education diploma, attestations, references, certificates from previous professional trainings, artefacts, photos of artefacts, etc.

Validation procedure includes informing the person requesting validation about the purposes, validation procedures and their sequence, identifying the professional knowledge, skills and competences acquired by the person and recognition of a degree of professional qualification or of qualification for part of a profession.

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Information not available

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

Share of learners in this programme type compared with the total number of VET learners

Information not available

EQF 3

Mainly school-based VET,

1 year,

WBL: min. 60%,

FP: C (B)

 

ISCED 354

Initial/Continuing VET programmes leading to EQF level 3, ISCED 354 (РАМКОВА ПРОГРАМА В за професионално образование с придобиване на втора степен на професионална квалификация)
EQF level
3
ISCED-P 2011 level

354

Usual entry grade

11

Usual completion grade

11

Usual entry age

17

Usual completion age

18

Length of a programme (years)

1

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

For State owned schools

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • school-based learning (contact studies, including virtual communication with the teacher/trainer);
  • work practice (practical training at school and in-company practice);
  • apprenticeships after the age of 16 (grades 11-12).
Main providers
  • schools
  • enterprises
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>=60%

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • practical training at school
  • in-company practice
Main target groups

Programmes are available for young people and also for adults.

Entry requirements for learners (qualification/education level, age)

The requirements for enrolment in VET programmes are minimum age, health condition, previous education and qualification level.

The minimum required age is 13 (in the year of application) for vocational gymnasiums and schools and 16 for vocational training centres (initial and continuous VET providers for employees and unemployed, without acquisition of an education level). The health condition of the applicant is certified by a medical certificate proving the fitness for the selected occupation. Previous education requirements are at least a completed grade or stage from the basic or secondary education, completed initial stage of the lower secondary education or a successfully completed literacy course under the Employment Promotion Act.

For this type of VET programme completion of upper secondary stage 1 and VET qualification level 2 are prerequisites for admission.

Assessment of learning outcomes

To complete this type of VET programme learners need to pass a State matriculation examination and a State qualification examination.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Graduates receive:

  • diploma for secondary education (Диплома за средно образование);
  • certificate for vocational qualification for EQF level 3 (Свидетелство за професионална квалификация - 2 СПК). The learners may also ask to receive a Europass certificate supplement to the certificate;
  • competence certificate (Свидетелство за правоспособност) - if applicable for the particular qualification.

All these documents are recognised by the education system and by the labour market.

Examples of qualifications

Builder, electro technician, electronic equipment technician, cook, waiter, assistant trainer in sports and system programme [41]As described in national context.
.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

The graduates may:

  • continue their studies at tertiary education;
  • continue their VET qualification at EQF Level 5;
  • enter the labour market.
Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

According to Art. 40, para 1 of the VET Act, ‘Validation of professional knowledge, skills and competences is the identification and recognition of professional knowledge, skills and competences acquired through non-formal education or self-study and their compliance with the State educational requirements for acquiring qualification in professions’.

The validation procedure is carried out for professions and specialties included in the list of professions for vocational education and training under Art. 6 of the VET Act. The validation procedure starts with an application submitted by the person to the director of the institution entitled to carry out the validation. In order to prove the acquired professional knowledge, skills and competences declared for validation, the person shall submit copies of documents held by him/her together with the originals for reconciliation – workbook, service book, social security book, education diploma, attestations, references, certificates from previous professional trainings, artefacts, photos of artefacts, etc.

Validation procedure includes informing the person requesting validation about the purposes, validation procedures and their sequence, identifying the professional knowledge, skills and competences acquired by the person and recognition of a degree of professional qualification or of qualification for part of a profession.

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Information not available

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

Share of learners in this programme type compared with the total number of VET learners

Information not available

EQF 3

Mainly school-based VET,

2 years,

WBL: min. 60%,

FP: C (B)

 

ISCED 354

Initial/continuing VET programmes leading to EQF level 3, ISCED 354 (РАМКОВА ПРОГРАМА В за професионално образование с придобиване на втора степен на професионална квалификация)
EQF level
3
ISCED-P 2011 level

354

Usual entry grade

11

Usual completion grade

12

Usual entry age

16

Usual completion age

18

Length of a programme (years)

2

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

For State owned schools

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • school-based learning (contact studies, including virtual communication with the teacher/trainer);
  • work practice (practical training at school and in-company practice);
  • apprenticeships  for ages after 16 (grades 11-12).
Main providers
  • schools
  • enterprises
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

<=70%

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • practical training at school
  • in-company practice
Main target groups

Programmes are available for young people and also for adults.

Entry requirements for learners (qualification/education level, age)

The requirements for enrolment in VET programmes are minimum age, health condition, previous education and qualification level.

The minimum required age is 13 (in the year of application) for vocational gymnasiums and schools and 16 for vocational training centres (initial and continuous VET providers for employees and unemployed, without acquisition of an education level). The health condition of the applicant is certified by a medical certificate proving the fitness for the selected occupation. Previous education requirements are at least a completed grade or stage from the basic or secondary education, completed initial stage of the lower secondary education or a successfully completed literacy course under the Employment Promotion Act.

For this type of VET programme completion of grade 11 and VET qualification level 2 or 3 are prerequisites for admission.

Assessment of learning outcomes

To complete this type of VET programme learners need to pass a matriculation examination and a State qualification examination.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Graduates receive:

  • diploma for secondary education (Диплома за средно образование);
  • certificate for vocational qualification for EQF level 3 (Свидетелство за професионална квалификация - 2 СПК). The learners may also ask to receive a  Europass certificate supplement to the certificate;
  • competence certificate (Свидетелство за правоспособност) – if applicable for the particular qualification.

All these documents are recognised by the education system (for continuation of the education) and by the labour market.

Examples of qualifications

Builder, electro technician, electronic equipment technician, cook, waiter, assistant trainer in sports and system programmer [42]As described in national context.
.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

The graduates may:

  • continue their studies at tertiary education;
  • continue their VET qualification at EQF Level 5;
  • enter the labour market.
Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

According to Art. 40, para 1 of the VET Act, ‘Validation of professional knowledge, skills and competences is the identification and recognition of professional knowledge, skills and competences acquired through non-formal education or self-study and their compliance with the State educational requirements for acquiring qualification in professions’.

The validation procedure is carried out for professions and specialties included in the list of professions for vocational education and training under Art. 6 of the VET Act. The validation procedure starts with an application submitted by the person to the director of the institution entitled to carry out the validation. In order to prove the acquired professional knowledge, skills and competences declared for validation, the person shall submit copies of documents held by him/her together with the originals for reconciliation – workbook, service book, social security book, education diploma, attestations, references, certificates from previous professional trainings, artefacts, photos of artefacts, etc.

Validation procedure includes informing the person requesting validation about the purposes, validation procedures and their sequence, identifying the professional knowledge, skills and competences acquired by the person and recognition of a degree of professional qualification or of qualification for part of a profession.

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Information not available

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

Share of learners in this programme type compared with the total number of VET learners

Information not available

VET available to adults (formal and non-formal)

Programme Types
Not available