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COMPUTERWORLD | Articles | Government Policies
13 Oct

Bulgaria Could Offer Relatively Cheap, but Qualitative Education

Profitable businesses invest in and rely on good teamwork, says Orlin Kouzov, IT adviser at the Cabinet of the Minister of Education and Science Daniel Vulchev


Does Bulgaria create high-qualified IT specialists and is the country attractive for foreign investors with the availability of workforce?

 There are a lot of specialists in different fields in Bulgaria, but at the same time the dynamics of the IT market is really tense and new necessities are coming all the time. There is no world economy at the moment, except maybe the Indian, which adequately addresses the question of the necessary quantity of IT personnel.  Besides, there are many companies that rush to the market and don` t think over the fact that it is neither possible to create a good specialist in one day only, nor to attract such staff. The formation and adaptation to the corporate values sometimes may take years. Very often big companies irresponsibly decide that they will faster get personnel by attracting staff from other companies, but this is not a proper solution. On the other hand, Bulgarian specialists learned the simple truth that salary is not the only one stimulation and they are looking for more complex agreements and prospects.

IT business could be described as a prestigious football team, where for a high sport mastership not only valuable and well paid players are necessary, but a good school and mechanisms for transferring the tradition. Companies who rely mainly on few key figures, are always vulnerable and the future of the profitable businesses is not focused in the genius specialists, but in well balanced teams. Nowadays it becomes almost impossible for a big idea to be born, managed, and developed  by someone on his own, because projects become more complex and larger and the responsibilities become more serious.

Does the Bulgarian high-school education system offer enough and highly varied subjects in ICT specialities?

This is a market which is developing in fast rates. Basic knowledge, obtained by Bulgarian students, is  at good level, but there is one important condition. In the contemporary dynamic changing world, there is no way for university to bring out ready-to-work specialists, because many of the technologies being used at the market were not created yet, when the student was in first grade. Here comes the role of the university: to give the general knowledge, the methods for giving a significance to technologies and the way of thinking. Empirical knowledge always comes with the practice, so most companies have to be aware of the fact that without a few months course for additional qualification only a few students would be able to work at full value. Following education and training is needed – a kind of public – private partnership, focused on market trends.

What are the prospects for the development of stronger relations between the public and the private sector in education?

The market environment supposes such partnership. Not only in Bulgaria, but in Europe, business slightly invests in education. That`s because most companies are small and they don` t much resourses, or they are sceptic thinking they could train good staff that will move to other companies later. It is necessary this fears to be overcome. Companies that invest in a certain student or university, should set clear contract basis to this partnership. Meanwhile, the company should offer the appropriate stimulation for the realisation of the graduates, because one scholarship is not enough.

There are active thinking people in Bulgaria, who are able to create new ideas and to make out new products, but unfortunately we lack the entrepreneur mind and traditions to capitalise the good practices. And this is exactly the value that a company could give the university – good management and the ability to turn ideas into money, which could go back to the same university. Otherwise, the specialist makes out a good idea, looks around, and when he doesn` t find support in his own country, he sells his idea for no money to the first foreign company, which shows interest to the invention. We have to put to an end this bad practice and the government together with the universities have to think over the mechanisms to hold the specialist at the country.

What are the government` s  plans for development of electronic education as part of the university training?

E-education is part of the everyday life of many students even at this stage and I don` t think that the government should play an essential part here, because the education market is a competitive  market. The entering of remote sensing methods in education is not a political decision, but a market necessity,  binded with improvement of the efficiency of education process. The government has developed more cleared plans for the secondary education, because we think that children should be familiar with the new technologies from their early years, so that they could be ready to use IT while coming closer to their future labor market realisaton.

What are the advantages of education in Bulgaria?

This is one relatively cheap education that is qualitative. If something is missing to the systems, it is more frequent and louder announcement of business needs, so the companies have to be ready to fight for th e  necessities, but should also contribute the modernisation of the universities and of their curriculum.

Bulgaria` s membership at the EU is a big chance for the local economy and in near future for market reasons we will all be forced to give a new meaning to many of the non-efficient teaching methods, to take away the aureole around the education and see and treat it in its real essence – as a market phenomenon. And it is a phenomenon, where quality has a direct influence on the development of our economy and at last – brings to a higher life standard.

Orlin Kouzov, IT adviser at the Cabinet of the Minister of Education and Science

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