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Answers by Valery Kolev

1. Are history, geography and civic education taught in your schools as separate subjects? Please specify grades, types of schools and age of pupils.

History and geography are taught separately in Bulgarian schools and civic education is integrated in all humanitarian subjects, but mainly in these two. History and geography start as separate subjects in the 4th grade (11 years old), although in the 2nd and 3rd grades (9-10 years old) there are some special subjects called Native region and Knowing the Motherland where they are integrated with an emphasis on local history and local geography.

Afterwards history and geography are taught up to the 11th grade (18 years old) in gymnasium and in technical schools (technicum). In the last 12th grade (introduced in 2001/2002) they are not taught. At the same time history and geography can be selected from the 9th grade (16 years old) onwards in gymnasium for additional hours and they can be up to the same horarium as the vocational hours.

2. How many hours per week is dedicated to these subjects?

From the 4th grade up to the 8th grade history and geography are taught two hours per week.

In gymnasium they are taught also two hours per week (9-11th grades).

In technical schools they are taught 1 hour per week (9-11th grades).

3. Is national history/ geography taught separately or parallel with general history / geography?

National history and national geography are taught separately from world history and world geography.

4. What history periods are dealt with in certain grades? What teaching matter is dealt with in particular grades, as other subjects are concerned?

4th grade - Ancient history (Ancient Thrace included)

5th grade - Medieval Bulgarian history, 7-17th c.

6th grade - Modern Bulgarian history, 18-20th c.

7th grade - Modern world history

8th grade - Contemporary world history

9th grade - Modern world history

10th grade - Contemporary world history

11th grade - Bulgarian national history, 7-20th c.

The exams for the gymnasium and technical schools after the 6th grade are on both national and world history.

In the mature exams after the 11th (onwards after 12th) grade are on both World and National history or geography, but are optional and the vocational exams are on Bulgarian literature and on Civic education.

5. Is the National Curriculum for these subjects general or detailed? Is the elaboration of the curriculum left to teachers or is it regulated by the Ministry of Education?

The National curriculum on both subjects is general and liberal and gives much freedom both to textbook authors and to teachers.

6. Are there alternative textbooks for above-mentioned subjects? Do they need approval from the Ministry of Education?

There are alternative textbooks for almost every grade for history and geography. All textbooks have to be authorized by a commission of experts, appointed by the Ministry of education. It consists of school teachers, graphic designers an university professors.

7. Are teachers free to choose among different textbooks (in countries where parallel and alternative textbooks exist)? If not, specify who makes a decision: Ministry of Education, local government, school principals, parents, pupils?

The teachers are absolutely free to choose from the different textbooks and very often students in two classes in one and the same school use different textbooks for the same grade.

8. What are the main problems of teaching history, geography and civics in your country?

The main problems are social, connected with the sustainability of the educational system: lack of money for blackboards, for central heating, for teachers` salaries and this reflects to low polygraphical quality of the textbooks.