Campaigns and activities
The process of integration has been intensified for some years now. However, in the majority of mainstream schools there are still no special conditions and appropriate and accessible architectural environment for children with special educational needs, and not enough appropriately trained teachers and qualified pedagogical and medical staff. (source www.eurydice.org data 2006 - 2007)
In 2003 the government of the Republic of Bulgaria adopted a National Strategy for Protection and Social Integration of Disabled Children (2003- 2005), which aims to change the model of looking after these children: from their accommodation in specialised institutions, to foster family care, access to quality education at school, medical and social rehabilitation. Currently mostly children with light disabilities are integrated into mainstream schools.(source www.eurydice.org data 2006 - 2007)
Children with special educational needs – hard of hearing, visually impaired, with mental disabilities, with language and speech impediments, chronic diseases and physical disabilities – are educated at special schools when all possibilities to educate them at mainstream state and municipal schools have been exhausted. The general objectives of the activity of special schools are aimed at ensuring consultative, diagnostic, corrective, educational, rehabilitating and prophylactic support with a view to correcting and compensating the respective disabilities and impairments and stimulating children's and pupils' development. In order to achieve these objectives, special schools and kindergartens provide appropriate social and living conditions and special educational and technical facilities and equipment. (source www.eurydice.org data 2006 - 2007)
As of 2005/2006 (the last published statistics) there are 2 schools for visually challenged children in Bulgaria. These schools had a total of 300 pupils, from 1st to 12th grade, and 88 teaching staff. (source www.eurydice.org data 2006 - 2007)
The educational system includes a network of special schools of various types that meet the needs of children with special education requirements. They have gathered considerable experience and established traditions in their operation but their work is somewhat specific, closed and isolated. An increasingly persistent tendency of integration of these students into the mainstream schools and kindergartens has been observed. Amendments to the Public Education Act were adopted for this purpose (2002). According to article 21 of the Public Education Act, children with special education needs and/or chronic diseases are enrolled in kindergartens on the desire and choice of the parents or trustees. Special kindergartens and servicing units may also be established for such children. They are enrolled in special kindergartens, if all other possibilities for education in the state and municipal kindergartens are exhausted and upon the desire of parents or trustees expressed in writing (article 21, paragraphs1, 2 and 3 of the Public Education Act). The same texts apply to students of special schools (article 27, paragraphs 1, 2, 3 and 4). These schools are designed only for children with a high degree of disability, which prevents them from coping with the requirements of the mainstream school. (source www.eurydice.org data 2006 - 2007)
n Bulgaria, several senior schools offer modules for the training of teachers of children with visual impairment. Those modules are open to blind students wanting to become teachers. As an example, Sofia University "St. Kliment Ohridski" provides a course on the pedagogy of visually impaired people.
The two schools for children with visual impairment, located in Sofia and Varna, provide training in the following: braille, computer, guidance and mobility, daily-living skills.
For people after school age these services are provided in the only rehabilitation center for the blind in Bulgaria, located in the town of Plovdiv.
Yes, educational materials.
Yes, but if it comes to textbooks and educational equipment.