Bulgarian National Agency for Vocational Education and Training – 20 years of quality and professionalism

The National agency for vocational education and training (NAVET) in Bulgaria celebrates its 20th anniversary. The Agency is a specialized body to the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Bulgaria established in 1999. NAVET became operational in February 2000.

NAVET cooperates with the vocational training centers, which includes the Center for Vocational Training at the University of Library Studies and Information Technologies – our Biblio partner, from the moment of their licensing and supports them in the implementation of their activities through a variety of measures and mechanisms.

The main goal of NAVET is to provide the methodological framework for the development and implementation of a national system for vocational education and training, as well as for vocational guidance in Bulgaria. It contributes to its modernization in the context of lifelong learning and continuing vocational training in order to ensure quality vocational training of human resources in the country and their successful integration into the labor market.

One of the main priorities of NAVET is the creation and maintenance of diverse and flexible opportunities for quality education and training in Bulgaria. The Agency stimulates the development and improvement of the institutional partnership model at national and European level.

Through its activities, the Agency assists in offering vocational training, oriented to the needs of the labor market. The experts from NAVET develop and constantly update the List of professions, develop state standards for the professions from the list, license vocational training centers and information and career guidance centers.

The main functions of NAVET are the development and updating of the List of Professions for vocational education and training and the State educational standards for acquiring qualifications by professions. The Agency provides an opportunity to increase the transparency and comparability of professional qualifications. These documents contribute to the recognition of qualifications and to facilitate the labor mobility of Bulgarian citizens within the European Union. By participating in various initiatives, NAVET helps to promote the benefits of implementing European instruments in VET and their implementation in a national context.

In 2019, a team of the Agency participated in workshops on the implementation of EQF at the national level, organized by the Ministry of Education and Science and assisted in promoting the prepared “Analysis for assessing the impact of NQF in the Republic of Bulgaria.” The indication of the level of qualification of the profession on the title page of State educational standarts and the level of NQF / EQF in each unit included in the standard are part of the steps to increase transparency and comparability and make the standards and acquired qualifications more easily recognizable in international plan.

This facilitates the recognition of qualifications of foreign citizens wishing to practice a profession in the Republic of Bulgaria, as well as of Bulgarian citizens who have entered the labor market of other EU countries. An important element of methodological guidelines for the development of State educational standards is the achievement of synchronization of knowledge, skills and competencies in projects with the levels of knowledge (theoretical and / or factual), skills (cognitive and practical) and competencies (personal and professional) contained in NQF.

Today, the National Agency for Vocational Education and Training is an institution that, with its highly qualified expert staff, is able to provide vocational education and training organisations with timely, up-to-date and comprehensive information related to activities and standards in the field of vocational education, training and guidance, and to meet the needs of stakeholders.

Thanks to the constant monitoring by NAVET, the status of vocational education and training in Bulgaria can be traced with the number of licensing procedures by years and the number of issued documents, categorized by type and years.

NAVET takes the following measures to prevent further mistakes in filling in the documents for acquired qualifications:

  • instructions for filling in documents for certification of professional training and for acquiring professional qualification published on the Agency’s website;
  • priority and detailed discussion of the procedure for ordering, filling in, issuing and storing the mandatory documentation in the vocational training centers during the information day;
  • preparing detailed answers to inquiries received by e-mail and telephone, as well as providing on-site consultations during the follow-up control.

During 2019, a total of 136 centers were inspected on site, with 98 (72%) of them in the country and 34 (28%) in Sofia. 15 VTCs (10.3%) of the inspected centers operate in accordance with the requirements of the legislation, no irregularities have been identified and no recommendations for future activities have been given. The other centers have gaps in carrying out their activities. In 2019, the experts of NAVET found that the most common mistakes, found during inspections in 2018, are no longer made by the centers, which shows that the preventive work of NAVET staff, including numerous publications and information days, have the required effect.

The agency not only carries out control activities, but also assists vocational training centres during the updating of the curricula in accordance with the state educational standards.

The participation of NAVET representatives in working groups of the European Commission, as well as in various international and national projects is a prerequisite for building a wide network of international partners (from Italy, Germany, Denmark, Romania, Netherlands, Turkey, etc.) for exchange of know-how, experience and transfer of good practices.


Featured image by Mario Klassen on Unsplash