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Georgi Bardarov: We need to change the philosophy of our education system

The policy towards Bulgarian communities abroad is the key to increasing the share of young and active population

Photo: BGNES

The demographic crisis in Bulgaria has been sparking public discussions for a long time. And although each government steps in with promises to counter this alarming trend, the results are rather alarming and cause a feeling of helplessness. Georgi Bardarov, writer and university lecturer, is among the public figures who have been engaged for years in search of a solution to the problem. In his view, Bulgaria faces two major demographic problems- high mortality and severe shortage of young and active population. It is precisely in this direction that Bulgarians should invest their efforts through a system of complex measures, Georgi Bardarov contends and adds:

“The first step is very concrete- we should make a radical reform in the country’s education system. If we discourage high-school and university students, then there is no point for them staying in Bulgaria and we can’t make that happen. We have an education system that employs excellent experts. However, its philosophy is linked to a bygone industrial era, which is not relevant to the modern world. We need to change the philosophy of the system. For instance, the Finnish educational system turned Finland into a prosperous country. This system can help us find a way out of the demographic crisis”, Georgi Bardarov contends.

Although Bulgaria is among the highest ranking European counties in terms of the number of universities per capita, it is at the bottom of the ranking in terms of the number of university graduates per capita. According to the latest survey of Eurostat, which covers young people aged 25 to 35, only 33% of Bulgarians go into university and complete their studies there successfully, while the average level in the EU is 40%. According to Georgi Bardarov, this tendency is due to demography. There just aren’t enough young people and the number of university vacancies exceed the number of high-school graduates. Georgi Bardarov is convinced that immigration policy is one of the keys to increasing the share of young and active population in Bulgaria.

“First and foremost, we should target the Bulgarian communities abroad and only then people from other countries. We have large Bulgarian diaspora abroad which includes the traditional diaspora and those who left the country after 1989. I travel Europe all the time and I see a real love and nostalgia for Bulgaria. People have a moderate desire to return, if living conditions improve. It is possible, if we work in this direction. The promises of the authorities are no good. Concrete measures are needed. We must also look at the global picture. Western and Southern Europe will be increasingly subject to migration pressure from Africa and Asia. At some point, Bulgaria, which has unique natural and climatic conditions, will become an attractive destination. Moreover, in my view, in 20 years or so Bulgaria will be attracting foreign nationals from Europe who will be willing to live and work here because of the favorable conditions”, Georgi Bardarov said.

English version: Kostadin Atanasov

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