In recent years, academic circles, business representatives and government institutions have been increasingly discussing the need for the Bulgarian higher education system to reform, modernize and significantly improve its effectiveness. Its main disadvantages are the weak link with the practice and the requirements of the economy, the ineffective realization of the graduates and the quality of their professional training. The discussions are driven by the need to overcome the existing disproportions between the degree and quality of the training of specialists in higher schools and the needs of the economy on the one hand. On the other hand, the shortage of personnel for priority sectors in the industry is becoming more acute and requires an intensive search for new solutions and non-standard approaches to overcome it.
For higher education in Bulgaria it is necessary:
- substantially improve its quality and compatibility with European higher education systems in order to take a place of excellence in the European Higher Education Area;
- building a sustainable and effective relationship between higher education institutions and the labor market, achieving a dynamic match between the supply and demand of specialists with higher education;
- stimulating research in higher education institutions and developing market-oriented innovation;
- modernization of the management system of higher education institutions;
- optimizing funding for higher education through new funding models;
- closer alignment of the quality of training of specialists with the requirements of the business and the labor market and the realization of the graduates.
Discussions with the active participation of academics and interested institutions, transparent and frank dialogue with industrialists and the public - this is the sound basis for conducting reasoned and meaningful changes leading to the upgrading of the prestige and quality of higher education in Bulgaria. It was in this direction that the main issues were discussed at a working seminar at the Bulgarian Industrial Association with the participation of representatives of the business, the Ministry of Education and Science, higher education institutions and branch organizations, members of BIA.
In pursuance of its policies, the Bulgarian Industrial Association has offered numerous ideas and projects of normative and organizational - management measures to improve the regulatory framework and improve the quality of higher education. Contemporary economic reality, the knowledge-based economy, the transformation of human potential into a decisive factor for the competitiveness of the Bulgarian business, determine the need for active search for solutions.
Within the framework of the EDU-LAB project BIA has held discussions with over 100 representatives of companies from different sectors of the Bulgarian economy. In depth, specific proposals for the introduction of vocationally oriented higher education for specialties related to the Mechatronics and Automation sector, Chemical Industry sector, Tourism sector are considered.