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Bulgaria: Education, business and regional authorities join forces for ICT innovation

Two new vocational high schools in Bourgas and Sofia specialising in ICT education began admitting learners for the academic year 2018-/19.

The Bourgas school is a joint project of the municipality, which works actively to create the right conditions for young people from the region to become leaders in hi-tech and digital innovation, and leading ICT companies in Bulgaria. It focuses not only on traditional subject area programming but also on cutting-edge technologies of the future and, more specifically, robotics and artificial intelligence (AI). Company representatives are on the school management board, ensuring that the needs of business for skilled personnel are safeguarded and that the school will develop to an innovation incubator.

The school is equipped with modern technical equipment: computers, 3D printers, multimedia screens and interactive boards, a video-conference call system, a laboratory with industrial training robots and its own humanoid robot. Students at the school visit the headquarters of different IT companies or meet guest lecturers, such as managers from the companies, with huge professional experience in the area.  During these presentations the future professionals learn more about the specific knowledge, skills and competences which are fundamental to success in the dynamic world of technology.

The first private vocational high school for IT and digital skills in Bulgaria, Soft Uni Svetlina, is the result of a partnership between the educational centre for IT skills and digital technologies SoftUni and a private primary school with 18 years of experience in education. Tuition in applications programmer, graphic designer, and marketing activities associate professions aims to develop learners’ practical skills while working with the most advanced information technologies.

Students have the chance to work on real cases, under the guidance of successful experts and entrepreneurs, and to develop their own projects. The high school also offers a rich choice of out-of-class activities: software engineering labs, IT labs, creative labs, start-up labs, school parliament, and a humanitarian-charity activities workshop. The IT business sector supports the activity and education processes of the school.

The educational programmes Soft Uni Svetlina, which are the theoretical strand, are developed in cooperation with business and with the participation of a wide range of specialists.

The establishment and further development of such vocational schools is a solid step on the road to overcoming the shortage of ICT specialists and aids the sustainable development of the software industry.

Thanks to the partnership between the world of education and the world of business, young people will not only adjust to changes in the ICT sector but, most important, will foster innovation.

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SoftUni Svetlina