“The selfish interest of the employers is clear - we expect the higher education institutions to prepare sufficient human resources for the new economy of Bulgaria. You are here as our employers, so today we will listen and you will speak. We expect you to share your views, concerns, problems and assess together what in reality and in practice we can make to change the system of science and education for the better.”
With these words, the Executive President of BIA Radosvet Radev opened a working meeting today (26 October 2018) with rectors of higher schools and heads of scientific institutes at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, as well as scientific and technical unions - members of BIA. The meeting was attended by the rectors of the Technical University of Sofia, Prof. Georgi Mihov, the University of Architecture, Civil Engineering and Geodesy - Prof. Ivan Markov, and the University of Chemical Technology and Metallurgy - Prof. Mitko Georgiev, the President of the International Business School - Lena Gaidarska, the director of the Institute for Economic Research at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences - Prof. Alexander Tasev, Professor Tatyana Hubenova from the Institute of Economics at BAS, Prof. Kamen Veselinov from the Institute of Metal Science at BAS, the Executive Director of the Union of Automatics and Informatics - Vesselin Akhanov, and Prof. Ivan Yachev - Chairman of the Federation of Scientific and Technical Unions, Prof. Kamen Veselinov from the Institute of Metal Science at BAS and former Rector of Technical University of Sofia, as well as Acad. Stefan Vodenicharov - also a representative of The Institute of Metal Science, member of the Managing Board of BIA and former chairman of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences.
According to Prof. Kamen Veselinov, there must be a differentiation of higher education institutions, both in terms of the supported majors and in terms of their financing. “It was a dramatic mistake for HEIs to be named universities and to be allowed to study in all majors and at all levels, incl. PhD degrees,” said Prof. Veselinov. As an example, he pointed out that in the United States only 10% of HEIs are entitled to PhD degrees.
Competitive funding should be complementary rather than part of the core funding of higher education institutions. In addition, it must be consistent with what specialties are funded because one is the cost of engineering and engineering training (including the construction and maintenance of laboratories), another is the cost of humanitarian specialties.
According to the rector of the Technical University of Sofia, Prof. Georgi Mihov, when speaking of higher education, the remaining degrees of education should not be forgotten. “Without good secondary education, there can be no good tertiary education,” prof. Mihov said. According to him, the destruction of the system of technical secondary schools forces businesses to look for technical staff from higher education, which puts an additional burden on the system. The rector of the Technical University has drawn attention to the fact that, despite the large number of higher education institutions, there is no private technical university, except for the two IT universities that are specialized in software but not hardware.
According to the head of the Institute for Economic Research at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences - Prof. Alexander Tasev, the key task of the scientific and academic circles is to develop a qualitative analysis and forecast labor market processes, in partnership with businesses and institutions, which will allow for precise planning of the admission to HEIs. The second key issue is the application by the business of mechanisms to attract young people to certain professions, but more importantly - to be kept on the Bulgarian labor market, i.e. to stop the emigration flow.
“You have given us arguments and you have supplied us with one more armor so that we can better represent your interests to the competent institutions,” Radosvet Radev concluded. He made the commitment that meetings such as this one to become a tradition so that issues are shared in good time and practical solutions are sought and steps are taken to overcome them.