OUR NEWS

Intensive and fruitful EMPLOGAME transnational partners meeting in Sofia, Bulgaria – 21-22 March 2024

On 21st and 22nd March 2024, at 94 SU “Dimiter Strashimirov” the transnational partners meeting of the project was held. The meeting was opened by the host partner – Mrs. Latinka Kovacheva – Principal of the 94 SU “Dimitar Strashimirov” Sofia and by the project coordinator Mr. Melchor Gomez from Autonomous university of Madrid, Spain.

Main scope of the meeting was the review of the new improved version of the EMPLOGAME serious game “I am ready to work”. The partners discussed the outcomes from the focus groups feedback in Bulgaria, Spain and Turkiye and agreed on next amendments. They have discussed the new scenarios for the next game levels.

Final IM-PRO-MENT dissemination and exploitation multiplier event – 20 March 2024, Sofia, Bulgaria

On 20 March, 2024 (Wednesday) in the Great Hall “prof. Asen Zlatarov” of the Federation of Scientific and Technical Unions (FNTS) in the city of Sofia, the final event of the project was held. It was organized by 94 SU “Dimitar Strashimirov” Sofia (project coordinator) in partnership with “Bulgarian Inclusive Support Team” Sofia and WINSS – World Innovative Sustainable Solutions, Istanbul, Turkey. More than 50 people took part in the event, including principals of vocational schools, teachers, pedagogical counsellors, students (including participants in the pilot phase of the project), as well as representatives of the Union of Bulgarian teachers and academics.

Mr. Andrean Lazarov from the Bulgarian Inclusion Support Team presented the concept of the project and the four main didactic results of the project, namely: Model for peer learning mentoring between advanced students and students with learning difficulties and low skills; Code of conduct for advanced students to act as peer mentors of marginsalised mentees (students); Handbook for usage of digital tools in peer support; Guidance for teachers on peer mentoring realisation during distance learning.

A summary of the evaluation forms for participation in the program from all 24 mentor couples in Bulgaria was also presented. The results show an extraordinary benefit to the participants. Mentees (among them 9th and 10th graders from Roma backgrounds and with special educational needs) understood that the tasks set by the teachers were realistically achievable. They became more motivated to continue instead of giving up, and thanks to the program they were able to make informed decisions about their future. Their participation fostered their sense of citizenship and made educational processes more transparent and accountable to them. They improved their self-esteem, developed a sense of initiative and built their digital skills, as well as communication, negotiation and work skills team.

Fruitful IM-PRO-MENT 2nd transnational project partners meeting and internal training seminar – 16 February 2024, Sofia, Bulgaria

The second transnational partners meeting was held on 16 February 2024 in Sofia, Bulgaria. It consists of two parts – morning session with training seminar conducted by Mrs. Latinka Kovacheva and Mrs. Penka Nikolova from 94 SU “Dimitar Strashimirov” – Sofia (project coordinator), Mr. Andrean Lazarov from Bulgarian Inclusion Support Team (project partner), Sofia and Mrs. Huliya Karaca and Mrs. Figen Sekin from WINSS – Turkiye (project partner) and with the participation of 30 teachers from 94 SU.

The training was dedicated to the midterm evaluation of the results from the peer mentoring process at 94 SU “Dimitar Strashimirov” Sofia. The teachers and the trainers discussed how the peer mentoring process is progressing and what are so far the outcomes from it. Overall, the feedback is very positive, because the peer mentors and mentees are very satisfied from this unique and for the first time organised collaboration at the 94 SU. Each of the 15 mentoring couples have an action plan with tasks, which needs to be completed on regular basis.

The participants discussed also the final feedback form and how the process of evaluation of the effectivenes and impact. The overall process will be completed on 15 March 2024 and testimonials from the peer mentors and mentees will be prepared. The partnership also agreed to invite 2 mentoring couples during the final project event, which will be held on 20 March 2024 in Sofia.

In the afternoon, the meeting continued with the project team of 94 SU, together with the partners from BIST and WINSS. The partners discussed thoroughly the realisation of each activity and planned the final project steps. All project results are now available and printed on Bulgarian and English languages. The partners focused on the presentation of the results from piloting phase, but also on internal evaluation, dissemination and exploitation. They agreed on the action plan till next meeting, which will be held in March 2024.

Final transnational partners meeting of VISAGE4JOBS project  – 14-15 February 2024 – Sofia, Bulgaria

The final transnational partners’ meeting was held on 14th and 15th February 2024 at 94 SU “Dimitar Strashimirov” Sofia. The meeting was attended by all partners. The main purpose of the meeting was to discuss the results from the pilot implementation phase, which are very positive. The partners were able to increase 3 times the number of the involved students in the pre-employment programme piloting comparing with the promised number in the project application form.

Through the pilot, more than 123 marginalised students from 46 nationalities had the opportunity for practical learning that increased their understanding of the job search and application process. Through active participation in the pilot application, students were able to apply theoretical knowledge in practical scenarios, contributing to the development of their critical thinking skills. This contributed to their academic and professional pursuits, resulting in increased motivation, confidence and readiness for future challenges.

In addition, 28 teachers facilitated the process together with representatives of the project partners. The partners discussed the results from the feedback gathering process and the preparation of the piloting report. Furthermore, the partners shared the established exploitation negotiations with schools in Bulgaria and Turkiye, which will multiply the effect of the project and will use the project results.

The partners discussed also the internal evaluation process, dissemination and preparation of the final report. At the end of the meeting, the project coordinator Mrs. Latinka Kovacheva recap the meeting and provided partners with certificates for participation.

Presentation of all project initiatives of BIST during the VISAGE4JOBS final multiplier dissemination event – 15 February 2024 – National students house – Sofia

On 15.02.2024 the final event for the dissemination of the project results of VISAGE4JOBS – “Pre-employment programme and toolkit to foster job preparation skills of low skilled and marginalized students to enhance their employment opportunities upon completion of the school” project was held in the National Student House – Sofia. 40 representatives of the project’s target groups took part in it, including teachers, psychologists, pedagogical advisors, career consultants, representatives of vocational training centers. The CEO of the Bulgarian Inclusion Support Team presented all project initiatives coordinated and partnered by the team. During the informal part of the event exploitation negotiations were agreed with schools in Sofia region.

Transnational dissemination of our project initiatives during INVEST Conference at University of Reims Champagne-Ardenne – 23 January 2024, Reims, France

Thanks to the kind invitation by the University of Agrobusiness and Rural Development, our CEO Mr. Andrean Lazarov participated during the INVEST Conference at the University of Reims Champagne-Ardenne. The event was held on 23 January 2024, at the Aula of the university in Reims, France. He presented all project initiatives, where the Bulgarian Inclusion Support Team is either coordinator or partner.  The event was attended by academicians, staff and PhD students from universities in Greece, Finland, Spain, Italy and Bulgaria. In the informal part of the event, potential for transfer of the outputs to the context of their countries was discussed.

The CEO of the Bulgarian Inclusion Support Team (project conceptor and partner) Mr. Andrean Lazarov was welcomed by the Rector of the University, who is also the Chairman of the University of France – the union of universities in France Prof. Guillaume Gelle.

The head of the “Higher Education” section of the General Directorate “Education, Youth, Sports and Culture” of the EC Mrs. Vanessa Debiais-Sainton addressed the participants via video and congratulated them. She emphasized the great importance of this initiative by presenting the main lines of work.

The delegation was also welcomed by the Mayor of the Reims Arnaud Robinet.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

The Bulgarian Inclusion Support Team wishes you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! May all you wishes comes true. We would like to express our deep gratitude to all our experts, colleagues, friends, supporters and beneficiaries.

Looking forward to new perspectives and success in the coming year!

Chairing the pannel on “Inclusion of people with fewer opportunities and special needs” during Annual Valorisation Conference “Active citizenship in Europe” of the Bulgarian Erasmus+ National Agency – 05.12.2023 – Sofia, Bulgaria

In its role as the National Agency for the European Programs “Erasmus+” and “European Solidarity Corps”, the Human Resources Development Centre organise the Annual Valorisation Conference 2023 on the topic “Active Citizenship in Europe”.

Special guests at the event were Acad. Prof. Nikolay Denkov (Prime Minister of the Republic of Bulgaria), Prof. PhD Galin Tsokov (Minister of Education and Science) and Dr. Vanya Kastreva (Head of Regional Educational Directorate – Sofia).

During this year’s conference, five discussion panels were held, during which the reflection of European values and priorities in the two programs was discussed. Special attention was paid to the topic of inclusion of people with fewer opportunities and special needs and how they are included in the projects, and in this regard, the chair of the panel was our Chief Executive Officer Mrs. Andrean Lazarov, who is also an accredited National consultant in the vocational education and training area. In his summary, he highlighted the exceptional role of the Erasmus+ program in the formation of soft skills, a sense of belonging and the professional and social inclusion of this target group and presented as best practice current initiatives, which are managed with the participation by the Bulgarian Inclusion Support Team.

As part of the official part of the event, an awarding ceremony was held for the awarded projects of the Erasmus+ programme that ended in 2023 were awarded with a mark of quality. Successful teaching practices, youth initiatives and volunteer projects were highlighted, as well as the work of partners in large-scale projects for European cooperation in the field of education.

The achievements of the Bulgarian Inclusion Support Team were discussed also with the Minister of Education and Science of Republic of Bulgaria – prof. PhD Galin Tzokov.

Andrean Lazarov with prof. PhD Galin Tzokov – Minister of education and science of Republic of Bulgaria

Fruitful results during the national seminar “From Generation Z to Generation Europas – a successful path from vocational training to the labor market” – 30.11.2023 – 01.12.2023, Sandanski, Bulgaria

The national seminar was organised by the National agency of Erasmus+ in Bulgaria and the Bulgarian National VET team. It was focused on students and their teachers from vocational high schools in the region within the framework of the “European Year of Skills – 2023”. In the program of the seminar, achievements of students from vocational high schools were demonstrated from: PGEE – Bansko, who demonstrated the development of artificial intelligence ; PGTLP “Gotse Delchev” – city of Blagoevgrad, who presented achievements in “Catering” and “Organization of tourism and free time” specialties and ZPG “Kliment Timiryazev”, town of Sandanski, who presented activities from the specialty “Specialist of thermal-spa activities”.

On behalf of Bulgarian Inclusion Support Team, Mr. Andrean Lazarov (moderator of the event) demonstrated tips and good practices in creating the professional resume (through the Europass tools) and motivation letter for a successful career. He conducted practical sessions based on VISAGE4JOBS training toolkit (www.visage4jobs.eu) with the participation of Mrs. Penka Nikolova from 94 SU “Dimitar Strashimirov” – coordinator of the project . In the framework of the workshop, he consulted students and their teachers about common mistakes and advice in career development and preparation for the labor market, as well as provided guidelines for overcoming them with a view to easier access to the labor market in Bulgaria.

New successful kick off meeting of the IM-PRO-IN-DE project in Plovdiv, Bulgaria

“Improvement of digitalisation competences of recent and future teachers by development of advanced training on instructional design of digital training” project started successfully in the beginning of November 2023. It is coordinated by the reknowened project coordinator prof. Dsc Dora Levterova-Gadjalova – Head of Further Teachers’ Qualification Department of University of Plovdiv “Paisii Hilendarski” – Plovdiv, Bulgaria. The project is in the Higher education field and will last 30 months. The partnership included UNIVERSIDAD NACIONAL DE EDUCACION A DISTANCIA (UNED), Madrid, Spain, ASOCIACIÓN MADRILEÑA DE PROFESIONALES DE LA  ATENCIÓN TEMPRANA, Madrid, Spain (AMPAT), BULGARIAN INCLUSION SUPPORT TEAM (BIST), Sofia, Bulgaria, WINSS: World Innovative Sustainable Solutions, Istanbul, Turkiye, EYUPSULTAN ILCE MILLI EGITIM MUDURLUGU, Istanbul, Turkiye, INSTITUTO POLITÉCNICO DE BRAGANÇA, Bragança, Portugal and the BULGARIAN TEACHERS’ UNION, Sofia, Bulgaria.

The main result of the project will be Curriculum and training course about Instructional design of digital learning by applying the Universal design of learning principles for existing teachers and those, that are studying to become techers to enable  full inclusion of students with special needs in Bulgaria, Spain, Portugal and Turkiye.

Exceptional progress on project development evidenced during the 2nd International partners meeting in Plovdiv, Bulgaria

The project consortium met in the oldest city in Europe – Plovdiv in the period 20-22 November 2023. The host partner was the Bulgarian Inclusion Support Team. Special guest was Prof. PhD Christina Sanchez Romero – Head of Inclusion and Diversity Department of UNED – Spain.

The partners presented positive feedback from the National advisory boards in Portugal, Spain, Bulgaria and Turkiye, who validated the content and structure of Result 1 New functional profile of “Disability support moderator for youth with disabilities”.

The partners discussed and finalised the second project deliverable – Result 2 Training handbook on inclusive education adjustments including guidelines and tips. It will be evaluated by the advisory board members and upon approval it will be translated.

Very intensive work was dedicated also on the development of Result 3 Communication module on disability awareness, disability etiquette, communication guidelines, basic use of assistive technologies and sign language.

Key representation of our team as keynote speakers at XVII International congress of the organisations working in the field of education in Oviedo, Spain

The Bulgarian Inclusion Support Team presented the key outcomes of recent project initiatives during the XVII International congress of the organisations working in the field of education, which was held in the period 08-10 November 2023 in Oviedo, Spain. It was organised by the University of Oviedo and included more than 200 participants from Europe and Latin America (academicians, business representatives, teachers, lecturers, NGO representatives, policy makers). During the first congress day, the team of Bulgarian Inclusion Support Team presented the key outcomes of the several projects related to improvement of the students with disabilities. The presentation was especially appreciated by the giant name in the didactics of Spain – prof. Antonio Medina Rivilla from UNED | Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia and the key organiser prof. Emilio Álvarez Arregui – President of UNESCO Spain . Possibilities for exploitation of the key project results in Spain and in Latin America were discussed.

The Bulgarian Inclusion Support Team was involved in 4 articles published with ISBN: 978-84-18482-96-0

More information at: https://www.cioie2023.org/es/programa.php 

Our participation during National career guidance training event – 25 October 2023, Sofia, Bulgaria

Thanks to the invitation by the Bulgarian National Agency – Human Resources Development Centre, the team of Bulgarian Inclusion Support Team was invited to present “The role of the career guidance towards disadvantaged and marginalised people in Bulgaria”. Mr. Andrean Lazarov, who is a national consultant in vocational education and training as part of the National VET team in Bulgaria, presented methods and resources for contemporary career guidance of young people representing disadvantaged communities.

Three project initiatives were mentioned as suitable resources:

  • The coordinated by us project ADAPTREF results: R1: Enhanced and adapted version of the European supported employment model specifically related to the counseling and guidance of refugees and immigrants & R2: Career counseling guidelines for career counsellors and supported employment consultants to support the realisation of the process of their labour market inclusion was presented as suitable and helpful guidance materials.
  • The project initiative, coordinated by the 94 SU “Dimiter Strashimirov” Sofia, where our team is an equal partner together with organisations from Spain and Turkey: VISAGE4JOBS , where we have developed a pre-employment toolkit for career counsellors
  • The EMPLOGAME project, where at the moment together with the coordinator from the Autonomous university of Madrid, we are developing a serous game for marginalised youth on pre-employment skills acquisition.

Role play games on interview preparation and career guidance during National seminar on the topic: “A panorama of skills among students in vocational high schools on their way to a successful career” – 19 October 2023, Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria

On October 19, 2023 In Veliko Tarnovo, a national seminar was held on the topic: “Panorama of skills among students in vocational high schools on their way to a successful career”. The event was organized by the Human Resources Development Center and the National VET Expert Team. Principals, teachers and students from grades 9 to 12 from the following high schools took part in the event: VET school on tourism “Pencho Semov”, Gabrovo, VET school on construction and geodesy “Angel Popov, town of Veliko Tarnovo, PGTSD “Sava Mladenov” City of Teteven and VET school in Electronics and Chemical Technologies “Asen Zlatarov” City of Pleven demonstrated skills and achievements in their educational preparation.

Part of the event was dedicated to playing educational role-playing games for more successful preparation for the labor market by the moderator of the event, Mr. Andrean Lazarov from Bulgarian inclusion support team and National VET team. The resource is part of the VISAGE4JOBS project – “Pre-employment programme and toolkit to foster job preparation skills of low skilled and marginalized students to enhance their employment opportunities upon completion of the school”, who is coordinated by 94 SU “Dimitar Strashimirov” Sofia (which was represented by Mrs. Penka Nikolova, who is also a National VET team expert) with the participation of Bulgarian Inclusion Support Team, Uluslararası Şehit Mehmet Karaarslan Kiz Anadolu Imam Hatip Lisesi, Istanbul, Turkiye and World Innovative Sustainable Solutions, Istanbul, Turkiye.

In the interview rehearsal game, students from 9th and 11th grade have participated. The moderator Mr. Lazarov provided them with tips on successful labour market inclusion.

Participation at the INVEST WINTER SCHOOL 2023 – “AN INTRODUCTION TO NATURE-INCLUSIVE AGRICULTURE”

Thanks to the kind invitation of the UARD – Bulgaria, our CEO was invited as keynote speaker at the INVEST WINTER SCHOOL 2023 – “AN INTRODUCTION TO NATURE-INCLUSIVE AGRICULTURE”, which was held in the period 08-15 October 2023 in Heerenveen and Leeuwarden in The Netherlands. The topic was “The inclusive urban agriculture as an approach towards social entrepreneurship”. Students from bachelor and master degrees from Slovakia, Bulgaria, Greece and Finland took part in the school. Major point of interest for them was the existing policies and good practices into social entrepreneurship in Bulgaria.

IM-PRO-MENT project at the National conference “How the Erasmus+ program helped to improve the skills of teachers to create innovations in the VET system in Bulgaria” – 04 September 2023, Burgas, Bulgaria

On 04.09.2023, in the city of Burgas, a national conference was held on the topic “How the Erasmus+ program helped to improve the skills of teachers to create innovations in the VET system in Bulgaria”, organized by the Human Resource Development Centre – the Bulgarian Erasmus+ National Agency. During the event, concepts for professional knowledge management, ways to apply micro-training in professional training, as well as the impact of youth activities was demonstrated by different VET institutions and NGOs.

As part of the official agenda of the event, the team of BIST presented the common initiative coordinated by 94 SU “Dimitar Strashimirov” Sofia, which provides opportunities for peer mentoring as a way to support learners with fewer opportunities as part of the IM-PRO-MENT model. The main project results were demonstrated to the participants and several schools from Burgas area expressed their wish to join the pilot trainings, thanks to which peer mentoring schemes will be implemented between students with special needs and their older peers. During the event, participants also exchanged ideas and shared experience on key issues in the sector.

Considerable project progress reached on the initiative “Digital training on financial literacy for youth with fewer opportunities” coordinated by 94 SU “Dimitar Strashimirov” Sofia

The team of HAVZA İLÇE MİLLİ EĞİTİM MÜDÜRLÜĞÜ together with the other Turkish partners ATLAS Academy welcomed the partnership during the 2nd international partners meeting held in the lovely Samsun, Turkiye. The meeting was opened by the Sayit Ahmet Dikmen – as coordinator of EU projects on behalf of the regional educational directorate.

Then the project coordinator Mrs. Latinka Kovacheva from 94 SU Dimitar Strashimirov Sofia and the President of AMPAT Prof. PhD Pilar Gutiez Cuevas presented the status of the project activities.

Intensive discussion was held in terms of the finalisation of the content of the modular content for delivery of financial literacy training for youth with fewer opportunities aged 16-29.

The project coordinator, Mrs. Latinka Kovacheva from 94 SU “Dimitar Strashimirov” Sofia, Bulgaria gave an appreciation plaquette to the partners for their successful work so far and encouraged them to keep the same power in the future.

Productivity and sharing ideas during the FINLIT School Samsun transnational partners meeting – 28-29.08.2023

The consortium, coordinated by 94 SU “Dimitar Strashimirov” Sofia, met in the period 28-29 August 2023 in the wonderful city of Samsun, hosted by the fantastic team of the regional educational directorate of HAVZA İLÇE MİLLİ EĞİTİM MÜDÜRLÜĞÜ. The meeting was officially opened by the local director who expressed his gratitude to the partnership for the successful work and progress reached so far.

The partners focused their work on the further elaboration on the main project results and shared their input for the different modules concerning the Handbook for financial literacy training for students with disabilities and disadvantages. The partners also discussed the storyboards of the educational videos, which will be captured in the next months. Major part of the meeting was dedicated also to internal quality assurance and preparation for the interim report as well as the realised dissemination.

The partners also discussed the organisation of common participation at the 17th World congress about innovations in education, which will be held in Oviedo, Spain.

New successful project will start with University of Plovdiv “Paisii Hilendarski”

We are very proud to announce the approval of the Cooperation partnership project in Higher education field called “Improvement of digitalisation competences of recent and future teachers by development of advanced training on instructional design of digital training” under Erasmus+ programme.

The project is prepared by the Pedagogical faculty of University of Plovdiv “Paisii Hilendarski”, the team of Bulgarian Inclusion Support team and the largest sindicate of teachers in Bulgaria – the Bulgarian teacher’s union in international cooperation with 2 universities UNIVERSIDAD NACIONAL DE EDUCACION A DISTANCIA Spain (UNED) and INSTITUTO POLITECNICO DE BRAGANCA, Portugal, one of the biggest state educational directorates in Turkiye – EYUPSULTAN ILCE MILLI EGITIM MUDURLUGU Türkiye and 2 NGO’s from Spain –  ASOCIACIÓN MADRILEÑA DE PROFESIONALES DE LA ATENCIÓN TEMPRANA and from Turkiye – WINSS: World Innovative Sustainable Solutions Türkiye.

During 30 months cooperation, the partnership will develop a curriculum and training course about Instructional design of digital learning by applying the Universal design of learning principles to enable also full inclusion of students with special needs, which corresponds with a 2-semester course as part of Master pedagogical degree in design for digital learning and use of educational technology as a foundation for creative thinking and inclusion. The project aimed at development of a Community of practice of teachers in countries: BG, ES, PT and TR and a Teachers’ portal including help supportive desk.

Follow up our website and social media for more information!

DISmode international partners’ meeting was held in Braganca, Portugal hosted by the Politechnic institute

In the period 28 June – 1st July 2023, an international DISmode partners’ meeting was held in Braganca, Portugal.

The wonderful team of the Coordinator of the DISmode project welcomed us in the modern technological hub of North Portugal.

During the productive days, we have been able to exchanged expertise and know-how with wonderful experts from Portugal, Spain and Turkey.

The consortium finalised the profile of the Disability support moderators, who will help students with special needs in their transition from schools to the Higher education. The first project deliverables will be demonstrated in November in the International CIOIE Oviedo congress.

The Portuguese partners’ meeting of ADAPTREF project

Our team members participated at the partners’ meeting in Porto, Portugal hosted by our Portuguese partner Consultis – Consultoria Empresarial, Unipessoal Lda. We were able to finalise the adapted version of the European supported employment model specifically related to the counseling and guidance of refugees and immigrants and the Career counseling guidelines for career counsellors and supported employment consultants to support the realisation of the process of their labour market inclusion.

It is expected to start with the pilot phase of the project, where we will train 20 career counsellors to support the labour market inclusion of Ukrainian immigrants in Bulgaria and Portugal.

Our CEO at the EURASHE annual conference in Bucharest, Romania – 8-9 June 2023

Our CEO Mr. Andrean Lazarov was invited by the Rector of University of agribusiness and rural development to participate together in a Breakout session about the INVEST Fellow programme during the 32nd Annual EURASHE conference. The event took place on 8-9 June 2023 and was hosted by the University POLITEHNICA of Bucharest (UPB). During the event series discussions were held about the inclusive Higher education together with the new EURASHE President, Mr. Hannes Raffaseder, CEO of the St. Pölten University of Applied Science and the Rector of UPB Prof. Mihnea Costoiu.

Mr. Hannes Raffaseder, CEO of the St. Pölten University, EURASHE President with our CEO Mr. Andrean Lazarov

Prof. Mihnea Costoiu, Rector of University POLITEHNICA of Bucharest with our CEO Mr. Andrean Lazarov

Very productive IM-PRO-MENT meeting was held in Istanbul

A successful and productive Istanbul meeting took place in the period 31 May – 01 June 2023. The meeting was hosted by the team of World Innovative Sustainable Solutions in the remarkable library building “Rami Kütüphanesi”, which was recently renovate by the President of the Republic of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The meeting started with the brief presentation on behalf of the local host by Mrs. Figen Sekin – President of WINSS. The the meeting continued with the project status overview by the project coordinator – Mrs. Latinka Kovacheva – the Principal of the 94 SU “Dimiter Strashimirov” in Sofia, Bulgaria. She pointed out the good progress of the project so far and the positive feedback by the Bulgarian National Agency during the implemented monitoring visit.

Major part of the meeting was dedicated to the presentation of the Model for peer learning mentoring between advanced students and students with learning difficulties and low skills and the Code of conduct for advance students to act as peer mentors. The partners discussed the future development steps.

Important part of the meeting was dedicated to the project dissemination activities, where the partners discussed the recent implemented dissemination activities.

At the end of the meeting, the partners updated the project action plan. The host partner provided with certificates to all participants.

Bulgarian Inclusion Support Team (BIST) at the INVEST Final symposium in Brussels, Belgium

On 26 May 2023, the final European symposium of the INVEST European university alliance was held at Maison Irene and Frederic-Joliot Curie House. The aim of the symposium was to stimulate discussions about the role of European universities in the development of regions and how research and innovative practices in education can contribute to their sustainability.

Upon invitation by the Rector of University of agribusiness and rural development, Mr. Andrean Lazarov, a CEO of the BIST was invited as a facilitator of the panel session dedicated on the Quality assurance in Higher education.

Together with Tania Van Hoovelen from the Van Hall Lahrenstein University and Ula Asikainen from the Karelia University of Applied Sciences, they discussed the existing difficulties in unifying the quality assurance systems between the universities participating in the consortium and what the steps should be to achieve a unified procedure for quality assurance at European University level. It was discussed what further changes in national policies for accreditation of new programs should be initiated in order to make this process more bureaucratically easier.

The symposium was attended by Ms. Tina Delva from the Directorate General “Education and Culture” of the European Commission, Manuel Aleikso from the Directorate General “Research and Innovation” at the EC with whom the our CEO collaborated as external evaluator of the centralised projects of the EACEA in the past year.

Successful kick off meeting of “Digital training on financial literacy for youth with fewer opportunities” project was held in Sofia on 23 May 2023

The first physical meeting of the project was held on 23 May 2023 in Sofia, Bulgaria. It was organised by the coordinating team of 94 SU “Dimitar Strashimirov” Sofia after series of online meetings, which were organised since the project start on 01 March 2023. The purpose of the meeting was to conclude on the curriculum for the development of handbook and educative videos for youth with fewer opportunities.

Each of the partners presented their contribution to the handbook and the partners concluded on the final version. The curriculum is based on the European framework for financial literacy training as adopted by the Bulgarian and Spanish governments. The next step will be the development of the units. The partners discussed also the initial content of the storyboards of the planned educative videos.

The meeting continued with discussion on internal quality assurance and dissemination activities. The partners prepared a future calendar with planned presentations including Inclusive education congresses in Mexico, Paraguay, Brasil as well as in Brussels, Belgium and Bucharest, Romania.

Very productive physical kick off meeting of the BURNpro project – “Prevention programme via digital tool of Burnout syndromе among teachers” was held in Sofia, Bulgaria

On 21st May 2023, the physical kick off meeting was organised in Sofia, Bulgaria with the participation by representatives of all partners. The meeting was opened by the Principal of the 94 SU “Dimitar Strashimirov” in Sofia – Mrs. Latinka Kovacheva. She explained the agenda the the main topics, which will be discussed during the meeting. The physical meeting was organised after series of online meetings, where the partners already discussed and elaborated the relevant project activities.

The meeting continued with the presentation of the statistics on Burnout syndrome in partners’ countries as well as the analysis of the existing courses and prevention programmes by each partner.

The meeting continued with the presentation of the scope and initial content of the R1. Handbook with guidelines, which will include activities and preventive measures to prevent Burnout syndrome of teachers as post-COVID measure and the R2. Self-assessment digital tool about the level of Burnout syndrome presented by prof. Snezhana Ilieva, PhD, Dsc and Andrean Lazarov from Bulgarian Inclusion Support team.

The second part of the meeting was conducted at the premises of the 94 SU “Dimiter Strashimirov” where the discussion and feedback gathering from teachers was continued.

The partners were able to visit different classrooms and to speak with Roma children and their educators.

Knowledge Week on Inclusion, Diversity, Equity & Access, 8-11.05.2023, at Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Erasmus University Rotterdam (a key partner of the Bulgarian Inclusion Support Team) has been working on the fundamental topics of inclusion, diversity, equity and access for more than seven years. Their dedicated and institutionalized IDEA Center now consists of more than 20 specialists that develop and execute our institutional and integral approach on inclusion, diversity, equity and access. The IDEA Center has taken on a pioneering role, nationally and in Europe helping initiate IDEA-structures at universities, disseminating our knowledge and expertise.

During the week, various national and international speakers – including Prof. Lina Gálvez Muñoz (European Parliament), Alfred Herrera (University of California, Los Angeles), Prof. Eveline Crone (Erasmus University Rotterdam – EUR), Fanny Passeport (Education Development Officer at Erasmus X, EUR) & Dr. Dirk Deichmann (Associate Professor, EUR) and our CEO Mr. Andrean Lazarov – together with academicians, researchers, PhD students and disability organisation representing participants shared practical insights and knowledge on topics such as (academic) outreach, student engagement, inclusive education & Universal Design for Learning, inclusive HR, inclusive communication and monitoring & research.

 

During the panel workshop “Integrating Universal Design for Learning into your course” we have presented the recent development in the field of Universal Design for Learning (UDL). UDL is an approach that allows instructors to proactively design their course content and pedagogical strategies to anticipate a wide range of needs. Rather than seeing students as ‘average’, they are considered as ‘variable’. By acknowledging and welcoming diversity, instructors adopt a pluralistic approach that honors learning differences. When applying UDL, the instructor provides multiple ways of engagement, representation, and action & expression. Concrete examples from EUR applications (and reflections) in a ‘Design Thinking’ course at RSM (in fall 2022) and contributions from the Bulgarian inclusion support team recent and past development were presented.

Good/best practices in the context of Strategic partnerships projects and Capacity building in Higher education were presented by the practice of University of Plovdiv “P. Hilendarski” by Prof. Galin Tsokov & Prof. Dora Levterova-Gadjalova.

More information and detailed programme is available here: https://www.eur.nl/en/research/information-form-idea-international-knowledge-week/idea-international-knowledge-week-wednesday

Our participation at TRANSVAL-EU European conference in Paris, France

Our team was invited to participate as key speaker during the plenary sessions at the European conference “Transversal Skills for Work and Life: Strengthening Guidance and Validation” which was held between 18-19 April 2023 in Paris, France.

The main aim of the conference was to build bridges between research, policy and practice for guidance and validation of transversal competences in Europe. Both in work settings and in daily life, there is a growing need for individuals to develop high-level competences to address complex challenges. Transversal competences set the foundation for personal development, resilience, the ability to communicate and work constructively with others, problem-solving, and the ability to manage one’s learning and career. Yet transversal competences are not always valued or made visible in guidance and validation processes for disadvantaged learners.

The ongoing TRANSVAL-EU project — co-financed by Erasmus+ KA3 Policy Reform – Policy Experiments coordinated by OeAD, Austrian Agency for Education and Internationalization (Austrian National Agency of Erasmus+ programme) – one of the largest policy experimentations in Europe — aimed to bridge this gap in guidance and assessment in validation of non-formal and informal learning (VNFIL). The TRANSVAL-EU research conference  provided opportunities for researchers to share and discuss state-of-the-art research in the field of validation of non-formal and informal learning (VNFIL) of transversal skills, including in conference panels, workshops, and a networking reception.

We have presented and disseminated 4 of our recent projects related to the transversal competences and their validation – EMPLOGAME, FINLIT, ADAPTREF and VISAGE4JOBS.

 

Very productive kick off meeting of EMPLOGAME project – 13-14 April 2023, Madrid, Spain

 

The team of the Autonomous University of Madrid (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid) as coordinator of our EU project: “Game based learning to validate pre-employment skills and to foster digital competence of low skilled and marginalized students to foster better transition to the labour market” (EMPLOGAME).

Together with our partners representing academicians, schools, educational directorates and NGOs from Spain, Bulgaria and Turkey we have discussed the game ontology and scenarios for the development of the serious game “I am ready to work”.

Successful Spanish meeting of the FINLIT project: “Development and validation of financial literacy skills of disabled and disadvantaged students to the labour market”

The Spanish meeting of the FINLIT project: “Development and validation of financial literacy skills of disabled and disadvantaged students to the labour market” was held on 11th and 12th of April 2023 in Madrid, Spain and it was hosted by the team of AMPAT, Spain, with whom our team has a strong, fruitful and long-term collaboration.

We have discussed the curriculum and training material for the development of handbook for students with disabilities and disadvantages on the labour market and agreed on the the initial version. The partners were happy to share contribution and thoughts as well as discussed future collaboration.

Two-days training on the topic: “Career guidance and presentation of knowledge and skills for success in high school – a step forward to a successful career” – 4-5 April 2023, Plovdiv, Bulgaria

 

On 04-05/04/2023, our team was invited as key trainers during the training workshop named: “Career guidance and presentation of knowledge and skills for success in high school – a step forward to a successful career”. The event is part of the European year of skills events, organised by the Human resource development centre, Europass Bulgaria, Euroguidance Bulgaria and the National Expert Team on VET in Bulgaria.

The training was opened by Mrs. Antoineta Pakova, head of the Regional educational directorate – city of Plovdiv. Our team presented modern methods and advised students from prestigious VET schools in Plovdiv area under the scope and training deliverables developed by the VISAGE4JOBS initiative.

Special attention was also paid to the role of verbal and non-verbal communication during a job interview. We shared examples with the participants proving the importance of every young person being aware of their career path at the very first stages of their professional training.

Keep an eye on our page for upcoming trainings.

Bulgarian Inclusion Support Team at the National Career Days 2023 in Sofia, Bulgaria

The Bulgarian Inclusion Support Team was among the participants at the National Career Days 2023 at the first event, which was held on 1st April 2023 at Grand Hotel “Millennium” Sofia. Students and young people including people with disabilities were able to talk with our key experts in the field of career counselling of young people with disabilities and those with Roma origin. We have demonstrated the concept of our main results from the initiative under Erasmus+ programme called VISAGE4JOBS:  “Pre-employment programme and toolkit to foster job preparation skills of low skilled and marginalized students to enhance their employment opportunities upon completion of the school” . Some of the participants will take part in the forthcoming piloting phase.

New success of our team under Erasmus+ programme

Our team is very proud to announce success with approved projects with our coordinators and partners from Bulgaria, Turkey, Portugal and Spain, where we will be able to develop digital training for NGO’s youth workers to become disability support moderators for youth with disabilities. This will enable their better transition from school to higher education. We will  improve in another initiative the digital and peer mentoring support skills of marginalised students to prevent their drop-out from schools in Europe.  Furthermore, we will further adapt and enhance the European supported employment model to enable accessible labour market pathway for refugees and immigrants. Especially for teachers in Europe we will develop a Prevention programme via digital tool of Burnout syndromе among teachers. Important initiative is dedicated to the development and validation of financial literacy skills of disabled and disadvantaged students to the labour market”. All project initiatives will start by 1st March 2023 so you can follow our website and Facebook for news in the forthcoming months.

New contact established with the Milano Bicocca University in Italy

Our team members were invited to a cluster activity with the Milano Bicocca University in Italy. The University of Milano-Bicocca (Italian: Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca, UNIMIB) is a public university located in Milan, Italy, providing undergraduate, graduate and post-graduate education. Established in 1998, it was ranked by the Times Higher Education 2014 ranking of the best 100 Universities under 50 years old as number 21 worldwide and first in Italy. We had the opportunity to speak with the Vice-Rector prof. Gabriella Pasi with whom we discussed opportunities for future collaboration.

Important participation at the Lifelong Learning Week 2022, Brussels of our team

The LLLWeek aims to raise awareness on lifelong learning’s capacity to answer many challenges of modern societies. The LLLWeek has over time become a milestone in the European education agenda, thanks to the support of civil society actors and Members of the European Parliament. The idea is to bring together learners and educators, field workers and policy-makers, researchers and political representatives, and give them the opportunity to discuss today’s greatest educational challenges.

We have participated in two workshops – one about the RRF and the EU Semester as a new dimension of investments and reforms and the hot topic on microcredentials. The first one explored the links between NRRPs and Country Specific Recommendations provided by the Commission within the framework of the European Semester, while the second was dedicated on the policy debate with focus on practical experiences with the implementation of micro- credentials at the national level and how their approach can be extended to other EU countries. This is in line with recently approved KA3 project on policy experimentation on microcredentials, which our team is participating. More news will be provided soon.

 

Our CEO was Chairman of the National youth competition for green and digital skills in the classroom organised by the National Agency of Erasmus+ programme in Bulgaria

Human Resources Development Center, which is the National agency of the Erasmus+ programme in Bulgaria and its National VET Expert Team organized the First Bulgarian National Competition for youth and students on the topic: “GREEN AND DIGITAL SKILLS IN THE CLASSROOM”- GREENEDU AND DIGIEDU. The awarding ceremony was opened by Mr. Mihail Balabanov, Executive Director of HRDC, who noted that this was the last event of the year organized by the Agency, after an intensive, interesting and successful annual program. He emphasized the importance of holding it as a preparation for the work in the next year 2023, declared by the European Commission as the Year of Skills, in which we should already have overcome the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic through education and training for the acquisition of new skills and the development of digital literacy. Over 90 participants took part in the competition. Our CEO Mr. Andrean Lazarov was the chairman of the jury for competitors in the group between 7 and 11 years old and was the moderator of the awarding ceremony.

Accessible tourism for clients with disabilities and special needs presented by our General Manager in Slovak University of Agriculture under  “Potential of sustainable tourism in community development” (POST CODE – Potential of Sustainable Tourism in Community Development)

Our General Manager Mr. Andrean Lazarov was invited to be a key note speaker on behalf of University of agriculture and rural development as part of the  INVEST Winter School 2022 under the INVEST EU university alliance. His presentation on 24th of November 2022 was on the topic “Increasing awareness about disabilities and the opportunities to provide accessible touristic services”. It involved 27 students and their teachers from the Slovak Agrarian University in Nitra, the University of Thessaly, Greece, the University of Applied Sciences Karelia, Finland, the University of Applied Sciences Van Hall Lahrenstein, The Netherlands and the University of Agribusiness and Regional Development.

During the training session, he explained the different groups of disabilities and the barriers that disadvantaged clients face in the HORECA sector. Illustrative examples related to real situations and difficulties encountered by these clients in accessing services from the sector were presented. At the end of the session, they participated in role-playing games related to learning the theoretical part of the training. The students worked in multidisciplinary groups on a specific challenge – creating a sustainable concept for work in tourism in the respective region, given its uniqueness.

Our newly launched project initiative: “Game based learning to validate pre-employment skills and to foster digital competence of low skilled and marginalized students to foster better transition to the labour market” (EMPLOGAME) has started

We are happy to start our new initiative together with UNIVERSIDAD AUTONOMA DE MADRID, Spain. The project was in the group of 7 selected for funding project among 198 project proposals. We are looking forward for this new journey together with partners from Spain, Bulgaria and Turkey.

Our CEO among guests of the European Innovative Teaching Award Ceremony – an initiative of the European Commission

The European Award for Innovative Learning is an initiative of the European Commission in the field of school education, which has been held under the auspices of the Bulgarian Commissioner Mariya Gabriel since 2021.

Four educational institutions – ODZ 12 “Radost”, Burgas, OU “Hristo Smirnenski”, Haskovo, PG “Prof. Dr. Asen Zlatarov, Vidin and VET school of Chemical Technologies and Biotechnologies “Marie Curie” from Razgrad received this year’s European Award for Innovative Education in Plovdiv. The event was organized on 20.10.2022. in the city of Plovdiv from the Center for the Development of Human Resources (HRDC), and the guests of the forum, where the awardees presented their good practices, were the Deputy Regional Governor of Plovdiv, Daniela Nikolova, and the Head of Regional Educational Directorate – Plovdiv, Antoaneta Pakova. “Such awards are a wonderful occasion to show the importance of the teaching profession,” Mrs. Nikolova said in her welcome speech.

The executive director of the CDHR, Mihail Balabanov, announced that a total of 33 educational institutions were selected, and four of them were awarded. “At the European level, 98 projects from 29 countries were awarded. Next week in Brussels, they will all be awarded at an official ceremony”, added Balabanov.

“Reading without borders” is the project of “Hristo Smirnenski” Elementary School, which was awarded this year. It lasts 24 months and includes students from 6 to 14 years old. The school said that they joined forces with teachers from 9 European countries to motivate students to read. The project involves not only teachers, students, but also parents.

Vocational High School “Prof. Dr. Asen Zlatarov” from Vidin was awarded for their project, which seeks and finds connections between individual subjects. Together with colleagues from seven countries, high school teachers have developed a methodology to help teachers explain science concepts in an accessible way. The paper has been uploaded to the GoScience website. Marieta Georgieva, director of the school, said that the problem with reading comprehension is not only Bulgarian and therefore the goal of the international team was to overcome this deficit with different methods.

In the “Marie Curie” Chemical Technology and Biotechnology College, Razgrad, they practice outsourced training in companies, which disciplines the students and makes them more responsible. According to an “Erasmus+” project, children in Italy were convinced why it is important to learn foreign languages. The high school advocated education, where one topic (water, air) is considered simultaneously in different subjects – biology, chemistry, physics.

Mr. Andrean Lazarov, who is CEO of Bulgarian Inclusion Support Team and National Consultant on Vocational Education and Training presented the team’s activities, the possibilities for ensuring a more sustainable impact of the projects financed by the Erasmus+ programme, as well as the conditions for the organized from the  National VET team competition for students “GREEN AND DIGITAL SKILLS IN THE CLASSROOM” (GREEN and DIGEDU).

Special teachers’ training organised as part of the Erasmus+ 35th anniversary days 2022

Our consortium supported the Erasmus+ 35th anniversary days (13-14-15 October 2022) by organising special teachers’ training based on the draft version of the Pre-employment school career guidance programme toolkit. The seminar was held on 14th October 2022 in the conference hall of Uluslararası Şehit Mehmet Karaarslan Kiz Anadolu Imam Hatip Lisesi, Istanbul, Turkeye.

The event was opened by the General principal of the school – Abdülbaki Murat. He presented the project concept and welcomed the audience. After that, a warm welcome speech was given by the director of the Bahcelievler Directorate of National Education, who welcomed the participants and pointed out the importance of this project for the improvement of the situation of vulnerable students in the area, who are coming from more than 60 countries.

After that, the event continued with the presentation by the project coordinator, the Principal of 94 SU “Dimitar Strashimirov” from Sofia, Bulgaria. She introduced the main issues, which face Roma students and the possible interventions, which the teachers and pedagogical counsellors are implementing in their daily supportive activities.

The major training part of the event was conducted by Mr. Andrean Lazarov, who is a National Consultant of Vocational Education and Training as part of the Ministry of Education and Science as well as Chief executive officer and General project manager of the Bulgarian Inclusion Support Team from Sofia, Bulgaria, who is main partner in the project. He presented the process of 15 steps towards successful job preparation of marginalised and disadvantaged students from the 11th and 12th grades in Bulgaria.

The seminar was followed by “Questions and Answers” session by Ms. Figen Sekin, President of  World Innovative Sustainable Solutions, Istanbul, Turkeye as well as presentation of role play games.

Very productive and successful VISAGE4JOBS 2nd transnational partners’ meeting in Istanbul

In the period 13-14 October 2022, the second transnational partners’ meeting was organised in the lovely Istanbul in Turkeye.

The four project partners were welcomed by the General principal Abdülbaki Murat.

Then the partners were welcomed by violin performance and then by the students from 5th, 8th and 9th grade, who presented sketches, lyrics and presented their art-works.

The meeting was mainly concentrated on the progress of the five project activities in accordance to the action plan. The partners exchanged views on the further adaptation and enhancement of the pre-employment programme and its supportive tools. The partners shared where and how the project was disseminated.

“The Impact of the Erasmus+ Program on the Development of Youth, Tourism and the Vocational Education and Training Sector in Bulgaria”

In the period 28-30 September 2022 a national conference was held in the city of Varna on the topic: “The Impact of the Erasmus+ Program on the Development of Youth, Tourism and the Vocational Education and Training Sector in Bulgaria”. The conference was organized by the Human Resources Development Center and the National VET Expert Team. The event was attended by representatives of universities, schools, professional training centers, information and professional guidance centers, as well as representatives of tourist organizations, chambers of commerce, National agency on VET, etc.

The official guest of the event was Mr. Petar Buchkov, Deputy Minister of Youth and Sports, who welcomed the participants and presented the innovations in youth policies and the expected new project programs that the ministry will launch in the coming months. Ms. Lyudmila Nenkova, co-chair of the Varna Tourist Chamber, also addressed the audience.

An important emphasis was placed on the main priority of the Erasmus+ Program on the social inclusion and labor market integration of students from vulnerable and marginalized groups in society – persons with disabilities, persons of Roma origin, etc. In this regard, Mrs. Stanislava Stancheva from the PG on SS “Ivan Vl. Michurin”, Dolni chiflik presented good practices related to the environment, motivation for career and education.

New opportunities for marginalized students for preparation and implementation in the labor market were also presented by Mr. Andrean Lazarov, National VET consultant and CEO of the Bulgarian Inclusion Support Team, who presented the “VISAGE4JOBS” model.

In the second half of the event, group work was also held, within which the national consultants presented methodological and consulting assistance related to the development of project proposals.

NEW release – the CD “Bulgarian Piano Palette”

The project “Preparation, creation, production and promotion of the disc “Bulgarian Piano Palette” has the aim of preserving and popularizing the musical heritage of piano works by Bulgarian composers”. The project realizes the preparation, creation, production of a CD “Bulgarian Piano Palette” with the aim of upgrading the experience of the beneficiary, as well as to preserve and popularize the musical heritage of piano works by Bulgarian composers in and outside Bulgaria – P. Vladigerov, Al. Vladigerov , Kr. Kyurkchiyski and with special attention to Plovdiv composers As. Diamandiev, M. Leviev and I. Spasov.

Sound engineer: Aleksandar Kochev

Studio 1, Bulgarian National Radio

Producer: Andrean Lazarov

The project is financed by the “Musical initiatives 2021” programme of the National Cultural Fund of Republic of Bulgaria with the number MI-2021-I-6

 

 

Training with regards to career counselling for Roma students was held on 12-13 July 2022

The first training seminar under the framework of the VISAGE4JOBS Erasmus+ project was held on 12-13 July 2022. The seminar was organised together with the coordinators Mrs. Latinka Kovacheva (Principal) and Mrs. Penka Nikolova (EU projects expert) from 94 SU “Dimiter Strashimirov” in Sofia.

Special attention was included in terms of the challenging moments during job preparation process of marginalised students. 45 teachers, pedagogical counsellors and resource teachers have participated. They received the draft version of the handbook for the support of employment process included in 15 sessions. Dedicated worksheets and tests, developed by psychological team were also presented.

How to implement more effective inclusive education – training seminar 10-11 July 2022

Training seminar with regards to the implementation of inclusive education in Bulgaria was held on 10-11 July 2022  in Bulgaria. 55 teachers and resource teachers were trained with regards to tools and good practices, which may help them on better integration and realisation of accessible learning in Bulgaria with regards to the latest recommendations and strategies offered by the European agency for special needs and inclusive education.

As National accredited consultant on Vocational education and training to the Ministry of education and science in Bulgaria, our CEO Mr. Andrean Lazarov was the major speaker at the seminar.

The training seminar was accompanied by practical session including creation of inclusive practices on different subjects as part of the vocational curriculum in Bulgaria.

Attendance to the 10th jubilee international forum of the subjects in the social and solidarity economy – Plovdiv, Bulgaria 20-23 June 2022

Our team was invited to the opening of the the Tenth Jubilee European Forum of the Subjects of the Social and Solidarity Economy, which is being held in the fair town in Plovdiv. The event includes over 100 enterprises, cooperatives and non-governmental organizations from Bulgaria and abroad and more than 50 companies from the conventional business. The anniversary edition was opened by Vice President Iliyana Yotova, European Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights Nikola Schmitt, Minister of Social Affairs Georgi Gyokov, Minister of Agriculture Ivan Ivanov and Minister of Tourism Hristo Prodanov. According to EU data presented at the Scientific and Practical Conference “Modern Business Models for Social Support”, over 13.6 million Europeans work in the social economy. 90 percent of social enterprises declare that in crisis conditions they introduce at least one market innovation at the time of their foundation.

Inclusive higher education and social entrepreneurship – hot topics discussed with our participation at the INVEST summer school hosted by University of agribusiness and rural development of Plovdiv

The International Summer School under the European University Alliance project “INVEST” was held in the Plovdiv at the Leipzig Hotel. The host of the event on the topic “Ensuring the quality of public services for sustainable regional development” is the Higher School of Agribusiness and Regional Development. The summer school is attended by students from partner universities in the consortium – from the University of Thessaly, Greece, the Karelia University of Applied Sciences, Finland, the Van Hall Lahrenstein University of Applied Sciences, the Netherlands, the Slovak Agrarian University in Nitra and the Graduate School of Agribusiness and Development of the regions. A welcome to the participants with a wish for fruitful work during the intensive one-week course was presented by the president of the UARR, Assoc. Dr. Svetla Dimitrova. The Rector of VUARR Prof. Dr. Marijana Ivanova presented certificates for contribution to the organization of the winter and summer school projects to the coordinators from the respective countries: Monika Bumbalova, Vassilis Kiriatzis, Kaya Saramaki, Sini Rantanen, Janet Lavalet, Cory Hoekstra. The executive director of the Agency for Regional Development with the Business Center for Small and Medium Enterprises, Eng. Velizar Petrov, received a plaque for excellent partnership under “INVEST”.

The introductory lecture was by Mr. Andrean Lazarov, who emphasized the need for an inclusive approach in the development of higher education and, in particular, how the European University Alliance contributes with its activities to the practical application of the principles of universal teaching design. During the virtual two weeks of the summer school, students worked on individual assignments related to the four themes: Quality in education and training, Social services and social inclusion, Social innovation and sustainable regional development, Social entrepreneurship. This week they presented their developments, and the most original ideas was awarded.

Our CEO at EURASHE annual conference in Brussels

The 31st EURASHE Annual Conference ‘Next Generation PHE: Skills relevance, Inclusion, Digitalisation, Innovation’ took place on the 23-24 May 2022 in Brussels at the EPHEC campus. The conference discussed the most pressing issues in Europe in relation to COVID-19 and the role of professional higher education (PHE) to recovery and resilience summarized in four key words: skills relevance, innovation, digitalisation and inclusion. The conference had its particular focus on European Commission’s policy priorities and addressed the EU key initiatives, such as Future of European Universities, the New Skills Agenda, Mission orientated R&I and Smart Specialisation. In the European Year of Youth students were put at the center of discussions. 10 students from all around Europe came to the EURASHE31 Annual Conference and shared their insights about the Next Generation PHE.

Welcoming words were given by Pierre-Yves Jeholet – Minister-President of the Government of the Federation Wallonia-Brussels, Armando Pires – EURASHE President, Emmanuelle Havrenne – Vice-Chancellor and Managing Director, Haute École EPHEC, Laurent Despy – Administrator, Academy for Research and Higher Education – ARES, Mariya Gabriel (video message) – European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth.
Keynote speeches were delivered by Antoine Kasel – Head of Cabinet of European Commissioner Nicolas Schmit, Luciana Vaccaro – Rector, Haute École spécialisée de Suisse occidentale, Chair UAS4Europe, and Victoria Kis – Policy Analyst, OECD.

Our CEO Mr. Andrean Lazarov participated at keynote speaker at a special breakout session, prepared by INVEST alliance which raised a huge interest with the theme ‘European universities alliances: Deepening cooperation and building the universities of the future’. The session provided opportunities of discussing European Universities Initiative of the European Commission as addressing modern challenges to educational systems in Europe strengthening strategic partnerships and establishing new models in networking, with a special accent on PHE. The expectations to European universities by 2025 were be presented through examples in: shared, integrated and long-term strategies for education with links to research and innovation and society as a whole; establishment of interuniversity campuses, new joint and flexible curricula and approaches in teaching and learning; and capacity building, followed by team work in new cooperation models and activities in driving sustainability, excellence and European values in EHEA. Special considerations were put on demand for new skills is constantly increasing and on the digital transformations in HEIs, especially imposed by COVID-19 pandemics, incl. inclusion and flexible teaching and learning approaches.

New Erasmus+ project has started – “Pre-employment programme and toolkit to foster job preparation skills of low skilled and marginalised students to enhance their employment opportunities upon completion of the school” (VISAGE4JOBS) – 2021-2-BG01-KA210-SCH-000047947

Upon completion of the grant agreement with the Human Resource Development Centre (The Bulgarian National Agency of Erasmus+ and European Solidarity Corps Programmes) our project officially started on 1st March 2022. The project coordinator Mrs. Latinka Kovacheva conducted the first online meeting via ZOOM, where she started the planning of the project activities. The partners agreed on the kick-off meeting dates, which will be 14th and 15th of April 2022 in the premisses of the 94 SU “Dimitar Strashimirov”.

The challenges facing organic farming in a pandemic were discussed by scientists, experts and producers at an international scientific-practical conference

The challenges facing organic farming in a pandemic were discussed by scientists, experts and producers at an international scientific-practical conference organized by the Higher School of Agribusiness and Regional Development. It was held today in the hall “Bulgaria” of the International Fair-Plovdiv in the framework of the agricultural exhibition “AGRA”.

The conference was launched by MEP Atidje Alieva-Veli, a member of the European Parliament’s Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development. She addressed the forum participants online from the EP building.

“I believe that together we can adapt European policies at the national level and unleash the potential of the sector. The new CAP presents new measures for the development of organic production. The main strategies of the Green Pact, from the farm-to-the-table strategy, also focus on organic farming. One of the goals of this strategy is to increase the share of biologically cultivated land to 25% by 2030 at a common European level. The poor financing of the organic producers in Bulgaria, the administrative burden and the complicated certification procedures, the difficult realization of the production are only some of the problems “, the MEP addressed the participants in the conference.

The second part of the conference took place as a round table, moderated by the Executive Director of the Bulgarian Inclusive Support Team – Mr. Andrean Lazarov. He presented the idea of ​​the so-called living laboratories under the project for the European University Alliance “INVEST”. IZK Maritza came up with concrete proposals for solving practical problems. The institute provides an opportunity for experiments in a real work environment and the development of innovative solutions in its production bases and laboratories.

Our CEO and accredited National consultant on Vocational Education and Training participated during the Annual Valorisation conference of the Ministry of Education and Science and National Erasmus+ Agency in Bulgaria HRDC – 17/12/2021, Sofia, Bulgaria

On 17 December 2021, the Annual Valorization Conference of the Ministry of Education and Science and National Agency of Erasmus+ HRDC was held. Traditionally, the best projects under the Erasmus + Program and the European Solidarity Corps, which were successfully completed during the year, were awarded. The ceremony was attended by prof. Nikolay Denkov, Minister of Education and Science, Prof. Ph.D. Genka Petrova-Tashkova, Deputy Minister of Education and Science, Ms. Yanichka Trueva, Deputy Minister of Youth and Sports, and Mr. Mihail Balabanov, Executive Director of the HRDC.

Our CEO Mr. Andrean Lazarov during his speech highlighted the work of the National consultants team in Bulgaria and invited the participants to attend the next events. The valorisation conference for the past 2021 noted the challenges faced by the beneficiaries and the National Agency, and provided an opportunity for a meaningful discussion between beneficiaries and official guests, which highlighted 3 key points: – tackling the new reality, virtual / mixed mobility and the quality implementation of the projects.

Full video coverage is available via following link

The role of the virtual internships during COVID-19 pandemic and their role in the Vocational education in Bulgaria – 12/11/2021, Plovdiv, Bulgaria

 

85 students in the system of vocational education and training and 17 mentors from small and medium enterprises have actively participated in the process of combined internships, as all trainees have gone through an evaluation stage based on the established standards. All of them received practical advice and support to more easily overcome social isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Participants have developed their interpersonal skills and developed strategies for identifying entrepreneurial goals, explored career opportunities. Thanks to the internships, the students have developed their social skills and created new professional contacts, “explained the BIST CEO Andrean Lazarov.

Possibilities for ensuring the sustainability of the project results and their long-term implementation in practice were discussed with the participants in the event. The BLEVIVET project toolkit is provided for use by all stakeholders in Bulgaria, including vocational high schools, secondary schools and vocational education and training centers. The possibility of upgrading the project in the field of higher education was also discussed.

Our participation at the National conference about innovations in the vocational education and training sector and the professions of the future – 03 November 2021, Plovdiv, Bulgaria

Specialists and scientists discussed innovations in the sector of vocational education and training at a conference organized on 03.11.2021. from the Human Resources Development Center and the National Expert Team on VET and ECVET.

The forum, which was held in strict compliance with COVID-19 anti-epidemic measures, was hosted by the University of Agribusiness and Regional Development. The participants debated the role of the ECVET system in supporting innovation in the creation of training programs in the VET sector in Bulgaria, as well as the relationship between business, 21st century competencies and the transition between vocational and higher education.

Prof. Dr. Mariana Ivanova, Rector of VUARR, greeted the participants. Dr. Vasya Arsenova, Secretary General of the HRDC, called on the institutions to write good projects and focused on expanding the access of Erasmus + beneficiaries in the new programming period 2021-2027.

Greetings to those present at the forum were sent by Assoc. Prof. Dr. Krassimir Assenov – Deputy Mayor of the North, Plovdiv Municipality and Ivanka Mihaylova – Chief Expert in HRDC and team leader “Vulgarian National VET team”.

“Bulgaria is in first place in the implementation and enforcement of the ECVET system, aimed at the recognition, accumulation and transfer of educational loans in the field of vocational education and training. ECVET can be a successful tool to support lifelong learning and mobility, “said conference moderator Andrean Lazarov, Executive Director of the Bulgarian Inclusion Support Team.

The Rector of VUARR Prof. Dr. Mariana Ivanova spoke in her presentation about the transition between vocational and higher education through the interconnection between the ECVET & ECTS systems. She relied on the experience gained in the implementation of the project for the European University Alliance “INVEST”, in which VUARR partners with the Slovak Agricultural University, Nitra, the University of Thessaly, Greece, the University of Applied Sciences Karelia, Finland, the University of Applied Sciences Hall Larenstein, The Netherlands. The Higher School of Agribusiness and Regional Development is developing a package of documents that regulates the functioning of the Alliance, the establishment of rules for the recognition of ECVET to ECTS is forthcoming.

“The partners are convinced that the interaction between the two systems will make the transition between vocational and higher education easier and will avoid unnecessary duplication of learning content,” said Prof. Ivanova.

The role of the competencies of the 21st century in relation to the updated training programs in vocational education and professions of the future was emphasized in his presentation by Eng. Velizar Petrov – Executive Director of the Regional Development Agency with Business Center for Small and Medium Enterprises. Demand for highly skilled workers is projected to grow very rapidly, while the number of jobs for people with no or low skills will decline. High internal migration also leads to a contraction of the labor force.

“Education of the future is modular, high-tech, holistic, decentralized, hybrid, dual, online controlled,” said Velizar Petrov, citing examples of professions of the future that we do not even suspect will exist at this stage: space waste archaeologist (will collects and researches unnecessary satellites and parts of ships left in outer space), memory management specialist (will manage interfaces), wildlife recovery strategist, energy storage device discoverer, body designer, virtual habitat designer . There is already talk of a lawyer in the ethics of technology, who will deal with legal cases related to robotics and artificial intelligence, an Internet of Things analyst and a manager of intelligent systems (cities, homes).

Irina Dobriyanova from the Vulgarian National VET team told how training companies have become a bridge between school and business. The training companies hold an annual meeting on the territory of the International Fair Plovdiv, where young entrepreneurs present their activities and make deals. The last two editions were held virtually because of the pandemic.

Petar Buchkov from the Bulgarian Platform for International Development presented good practices for the inclusion of the UN Sustainable Development Goals in educational programs, and for the joint participation in Erasmus + projects in order to develop vocational education and training presented online teachers and students from Trade. Knyaz Simeon Tarnovski High School – Stara Zagora.

More information via following link

The Bulgarian inclusion support team with a presentation at National Conference “Development of VET tools and their application in the country”, 12 October 2021, Sofia, Bulgaria

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On October 12, 2021, the National Conference “Development of VET tools and their application in the country” was held in the building of the Bulgarian National Agency HRDC, the second event to implement the annual plan for work on development and promotion of the VET system in Bulgaria.

The event aimed to present the new achievements in the development of VET tools and their real application, as well as to draw attention to current processes and the involvement of various stakeholders.

The conference was opened with introductory speeches by Mr. Mihail Balabanov, Executive Director of HRDC, who reviewed the content of the requested program and expressed confidence in its usefulness in the daily work of the parties involved in VET.

During the conference was presented a new tool for quality assurance – Prototype of indicators for monitoring and quality management of VET, under the project “Vision for Change” – EQAVET: Vision for revision VIREO, by Ms. Todorova, Director of ” Vocational education and training ”at the Ministry of Education and Science. It is a reference tool that helps VET policy institutions and individual VET providers to monitor, evaluate and make decisions related to VET quality management both at the system level and at the institutional (school) level. level.

The topic of validation and creation of additional opportunities for flexible and different educational paths was presented through specific examples of the passed procedure, as well as by indicating specific benefits of NAVET.

The line of meeting also detailed the improved opportunities for comparing qualifications. This provides a comprehensive approach to creating an attractive, attractive and inclusive VET, easily accessible and with increased opportunities for transnational mobility and realization on the European labor market reported by Andrean Lazarov, National consultant of VET and ECVET and Chief Executive Director of BIST. The process of comparing qualifications reveals the similarities and differences in qualifications in hiring or continuing education, improves the matching of qualifications provided and labor market demand, achieves synchronization in understanding of structure and content, facilitates mobility, but above all increases trust between countries. in the process.

A special place in the conference was given to career guidance and rethinking its role in the career plans of young people who may want to be part of the VET system. The focus was also on the convergence of education systems and opportunities for realization on the European labor market and close but outside the EU countries.

Presentation by our CEO during National Seminar “The use of VET tools when working on Erasmus + projects”, 28 September 2021, Sofia, Bulgaria

 

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On September 28, 2021 in the building of the Center for Human Resources Development (National Agency of Erasmus+ programme in Bulgaria) a seminar on “The use of VET tools when working on projects under the Erasmus + Programme was held – an event to implement the annual plan for work on development and promotion of the system of VET in Bulgaria.

The aim of the event was to raise awareness of vocational high schools and vocational training centers about the benefits of implementing VET opportunities in organizing and conducting mobility under the Erasmus + programme, as well as to promote lifelong learning.

The seminar was opened with official words by Mr. Mihail Balabanov, Executive Director of HRD, who expressed his joy at the high interest in the event, emphasized the role of ECVET in improving the quality of educational mobility in the VET sector and drew attention to the link between education. system and the labor market. Mr. Balabanov stressed the importance of VET tools for approximation of the requirements of employers and businesses regarding specific knowledge, skills and competencies provided by the system of vocational education and training.

Mrs. Mariana Pavlova, Chair of NAVET, also gave official greetings to the audience. She supported the speech of Mr. Mihail Balabanov and expressed readiness for joint cooperation between HRDC and NAVET as institutions working for the VET sector.

During the seminar were presented successfully implemented projects related to quality assurance in the system of vocational education and training presented by Mrs. Silvia Toneva, Chief Expert of NAVET and our CEO Andrean Lazarov about the application of ECVET in the creation of new training programs and national educational standards for the acquisition of professional qualifications, as well as the training of teachers for applying augmented reality in the learning process.

The discussions discussed the possibility of using the Quality Assurance Manual in planning, organizing and conducting educational mobility, as well as the need for recent regulation for awarding, accumulating and transferring credits in the national VET system.

The working day ended with a practical exercise in which participants could share their views and suggestions on key issues for better and quality implementation of educational mobility in the field of VET.