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Geography and Employability: the case of Bulgaria Dr. Stelian Dimitrov Sofia University St. Kliment Ohridski Bulgaria.

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Presentation on theme: "Geography and Employability: the case of Bulgaria Dr. Stelian Dimitrov Sofia University St. Kliment Ohridski Bulgaria."— Presentation transcript:

1 Geography and Employability: the case of Bulgaria Dr. Stelian Dimitrov Sofia University St. Kliment Ohridski Bulgaria

2 Bulgaria: country in transition (still!!!) Transition from centralized government to democratization Transition from centralized government to democratization Re-discovering Europe and European values Re-discovering Europe and European values total change of the economy rules and legislative framework total change of the economy rules and legislative framework Integration into European dimensions- social, economic and cultural Integration into European dimensions- social, economic and cultural

3 What was the Bulgarian Higher education before 1990? in 1989 we had an archaic higher education model designed to serve a doctrinaire society with a centrally planned economy in 1989 we had an archaic higher education model designed to serve a doctrinaire society with a centrally planned economy Limited access to higher education Limited access to higher education narrowly specialized course programmes narrowly specialized course programmes

4 What happened? The reform of the sector began with the restoration of university autonomy through the 1990 Act on University Autonomy The reform of the sector began with the restoration of university autonomy through the 1990 Act on University Autonomy The real institutional autonomy that resulted, coupled with the growing demand for higher education and changed social and economic environment The real institutional autonomy that resulted, coupled with the growing demand for higher education and changed social and economic environment

5 The result is: Very fast growth of the academic sector- now in Bulgaria we have more than 50 universities- too much!!!!!!!! Very fast growth of the academic sector- now in Bulgaria we have more than 50 universities- too much!!!!!!!! Programs are mainly affected by the demands of the labor market Programs are mainly affected by the demands of the labor market The quantity is not equal to quality!!! The quantity is not equal to quality!!! The tree level structure of the higher education was successively introduced The tree level structure of the higher education was successively introduced The accreditation system was implemented The accreditation system was implemented

6 Geography and employability Geography in the Universities is experiencing post-factum the enthusiasm of transition- many new courses and programs (especially in the graduate level)- most of them because of the labor market Geography in the Universities is experiencing post-factum the enthusiasm of transition- many new courses and programs (especially in the graduate level)- most of them because of the labor market But… we still are not making employable graduates, because: But… we still are not making employable graduates, because: - geography is too descriptive or - too theoretical - almost absence of vocational training training

7 What is the labor market in Bulgaria like? 12.2% unemployed, but only 1.3% of unemployed are with degree! 12.2% unemployed, but only 1.3% of unemployed are with degree! The most preferred degrees are in law, economics, management and business administration- average salaries are 50% higher compare to others The most preferred degrees are in law, economics, management and business administration- average salaries are 50% higher compare to others Requirements from the employers: Requirements from the employers: - experience at least 2 years - experience at least 2 years - foreign language - foreign language - age between years - age between years

8 What is happening with the students? To be able to see this, a small survey was conducted: Period: end of May 2004 Period: end of May 2004 Target groups: Target groups: 65 first year geography undergraduate students 65 first year geography undergraduate students 53 last year geography undergraduate students 53 last year geography undergraduate students

9 Questions: Do you speak any EU language? Do you speak any EU language? If yes, what language do you speak? If yes, what language do you speak? Are you intending to study somewhere in Europe? Are you intending to study somewhere in Europe? What is your opinion about the new Geography curriculum at Sofia University? What is your opinion about the new Geography curriculum at Sofia University? Do you think that with geography degree you can find job in Bulgaria different than as a teacher? Do you think that with geography degree you can find job in Bulgaria different than as a teacher?

10 The answers: Do you speak any EU language? Do you speak any EU language?

11 The answers: Do you speak any EU language? Do you speak any EU language?

12 If yes, what language do you speak?

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14 Are you intending to study somewhere in Europe?

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16 What is your opinion about the new Geography curriculum at Sofia University?

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18 Do you think that with geography degree you can find job in Bulgaria different than as a teacher?

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20 General question: Do you think that the education will give you a successful career? two-thirds of the students believe that good education is crucial to achieving success in life However, 59 % of students also believe that education in itself is not a sufficient guarantee for a good career 17 % state the need for further training after graduation. 28 % state that if they have a chance, they will train in EU country

21 Increasing employability- the case of GIS and Cartography department This is the newest department at the faculty of Geology and Geography This is the newest department at the faculty of Geology and Geography 15 students per year in MSc program 15 students per year in MSc program In that department we have established a program for increasing employability In that department we have established a program for increasing employability

22 What we are doing? Investigating the labor market for GIS and GI specialists Investigating the labor market for GIS and GI specialists Designing our programs (especially the elective courses) together with the employers Designing our programs (especially the elective courses) together with the employers Advertising Geography through GIS and Remote sensing Advertising Geography through GIS and Remote sensing Making joint projects with different institutions – National Statistical Institute, Ministry of Regional Development Making joint projects with different institutions – National Statistical Institute, Ministry of Regional Development Attracting non-geographers from different institutions to be trained- way to show them how useful could be geography Attracting non-geographers from different institutions to be trained- way to show them how useful could be geography Sending students to work in summer in Governmental institutions, private companies, national parks etc. Sending students to work in summer in Governmental institutions, private companies, national parks etc.

23 Results: last year from 15 graduates, 8 started to work in the field of GIS before the finishing of their degree last year from 15 graduates, 8 started to work in the field of GIS before the finishing of their degree Other 5 started work one month after their graduation Other 5 started work one month after their graduation Now we have 46 applications for 15 places- not bad!!! Now we have 46 applications for 15 places- not bad!!!

24 Thank you for your attention. Dr. Stelian Dimitrov


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