Quality education giving more and better chances in future has been a priority for Bulgarians for ages. In recent years private elementary, secondary schools, colleges and universities have become a good alternative of the state educational system. They have created traditions and acquired prestige and distinction.
Private schools in Bulgaria are not yet a mass form of education, but their advantages are well known. Their bigger flexibility in choosing the subjects in the programme give the students the opportunity to find an educational programme which suits better their character and abilities, as well as their future professional goals. The excellent environment and the study of one, two or three foreign languages are another advantage of private schools.
An extremely important factor is also the motivation of teachers and tutors in private schools. Despite the good educational level in some of the state-run schools, the problem with the remuneration of their staff remains unresolved. On the other hand, teachers in private schools are more motivated to show off their potential, and to develop not only the talents and intellect of their students but also their own.
The strict requirements, control and regulations of the Ministry of Education towards private schools guarantee, too, that the students there receive education without compromises.
The results speak for themselves. The students in renowned private schools win national and international competitions, and are well prepared to continue with their education in the best universities.
Before choosing a private school, applying a healthy dose of common sense is required. Consider carefully which are the strong and weak character points of your child – if he or she is more interested in arts, for example, but you would like to stress on mathematics, look for a school which combines the two approaches. Check carefully, too, what is the future of the school's alumni and how students from your school of choice fare at national or international competitions. By all means, check whether the school has all the permissions needed and if you can, talk with parents who know from personal experience the school.
THE ESPA MODEL
Studying foreign languages is a priority for the Bulgarian private schools, which achieve excellent
results by working with qualified foreign teachers. ESPA SCHOOL (Sofia, 23 Gradina St, phone: +359 899 161 734; www.espa-bg.com) is one of the Bulgarian Top 5 schools and offers nursery (1-3 years old), kindergarten (3-5 years old), school preparatory courses (5-6 years old), elementary school (7-11 years old), and middle school (11-14 years old). At the moment there are more than 180 children studying at ESPA. ESPA works in cooperation with one of the most prestigious education institutions in the UK, the Cambridge Education Group. Each year during the spring holidays ESPA holds a two-week language course by the programme of English in Action and the additional 30 hours a week with teachers from the UK help the children to cover successfully the C1 Expert language level. The course includes interactive and entertaining methods, games and project work, giving students a chance to develop their communicative language skills.
DRUJBA SCHOOLS: THE NAME OF EXCELLENT EDUCATION
Whether you are looking for a suitable preschool class or a supportive environment for your middle-school child, DRUJBA SCHOOLS (www.drujba.org) are an excellent option. The network of educational institutions includes a private primary, high school and educational centre in Sofia and a school in Plovdiv, all of which take care to address the full potential of the individual from pre-school till 12th grade. Language studies are essential. The high school in Sofia offers instruction in English and Spanish with second languages being German and Turkish, with the natural sciences module being taught through English. Students take part in many extracurricular activities designed to diversify their school life, such as theatre workshops, football and chess, interest clubs and sports competitions, along with trips both in Bulgaria and abroad. The caring atmosphere and good infrastructure enhance their learning experience, and university application courses help them prepare for their future path in prestigious universities in Bulgaria and abroad.
GREEN IDEAS WITH THE AMERICAN ENGLISH ACADEMY
Founded in 1992 by Frank and Ruth Munsey, the AMERICAN ENGLISH ACADEMY (Sofia, phone: + 3592 973 1222, www.aea-bg.com) provides excellent education with all subjects being taught in English. In its more than 20 years of existence, over 1000 children from more than 40 nationalities have studied in the AEA. The private school offers kindergarten, preparatory classes and education from 1st to 12th grade. Besides its standard educational services, the АЕА offers specialised service for Bulgarian children – kids in pre-school age and in first and second grade are taught following programme, approved by the Bulgarian Ministry of Education, and receive two diplomas. In September 2014, the school is opening its new building in the region of Lozen, near Sofia, designed and built on the principles of sustainable, green development. It will have its own concert hall and green roof with spacious roof gardens, and students will have also open-air study areas.
FIRST PRIVATE MATHEMATICAL HIGH-SCHOOL: WHERE KNOWLEDGE MEETS EXCELLENCE
When The FIRST PRIVATE MATHEMATICAL HIGH-SCHOOL (Sofia, 58 M.D. Skobelev Blvd; phone: + 3592 971 3300; www.parvamatematicheska.com) was established in 2004, it started with seven children. Nowadays, its qualified tutors teach to 324 pupils and prestigious awards won by the disciples are the best proof for the quality of the education. In the last 10 years, the students of First Private Mathematical High-school have been awarded with dozens of medals and hundreds of charters, and have been amongst the highest ranked at olympiads and national competitions. The First Private Mathematical High-school programme is specially developed to ensure you that your child will be competitive in the world of tomorrow. It puts emphasis on studying of the English language and the deep understanding of the natural sciences. In 2014, a class of natural sciences and mathematics with intensive studying of the German language after the 7th grade will also be available.
THE ROAD OF DRITA
Students with self-confidence, conscious of their potential and proud of their achievements – this is the goal that has led DRITA SCHOOL’s team for 24 years now. Established in 1990 as a kindergarten, since 2000 Drita offers elementary, middle and secondary education. The school builds up safe and stimulating surroundings, where every child advances as a part of a bigger, supporting community. Drita's team encourages the achievement of high personal goals and recognises the importance of all kinds of success. A choice of activities is provided, enabling the students to show their worth. In close contacts with parents, qualified teachers direct and support the individual development of every student.
(Sofia, Simeonovo, 13 Kamenitsa St and 330 Simeonovsko Shose Blvd; phone: +359 2 961 3242; www.dritaschool.com)
BRITISH SCHOOL OF SOFIA: SUCCESS IN THE BRITISH WAY
BRITISH SCHOOL OF SOFIA (Sofia, Lozenets, 1 Ekaterina Nencheva St, phone: + 359 886 510 510, www.euroliceum.eu) was created in response to the strong need for quality teaching in an increasingly complex world, where good education often marks the line between being successful and not being successful. The private school is part of the British educational system and the certificates its alumni receive are equivalent to the ones, issued by the institutions in the UK. The children between three and five years of age are enrolled into kindergarten, those between six and 11 years are into a primary school and secondary school is for students between 12 and 16 years. Kids between 16 and 18 years go to college. The British School of Sofia forms confident, competitive and responsible persons that play leading roles in their communities. They are qualified to make good decisions and are ready to face the challenges of tomorrow.
FRENCH LYCÉE VICTOR HUGO: LA PETITE FRANCE EN BULGARIE
Established in 1966, the FRENCH LYCÉE VICTOR HUGO (Sofia, 110 Simeonovsko Shose Blvd, phone: 02 866 0105; www.vhugo.org) is part of the largest network of international schools in the world. Renowned for its excellent pedagogues and high quality of education, the lycée is the biggest international school in Bulgaria. The curriculum is tailored according to the French system model. The alumni have a mother-level of fluency in French, master English and often – two more languages. The lycée is under the aegis of the French Embassy and puts emphasis on the grades, civil and health education, sciences and informatics. The school enhances the diversity for students with sport and extra curriculum activities, such as trips and green schools. About half of the French lycée Victor Hugo alumni continue their studies in French universities, and many are enrolled in other prestigious world universities.
BRIGHTER FUTURE WITH HARMONIA
The PRIVATE PROFESSIONAL COLLEGE HARMONIA (Sofia, Ovcha Kupel, 21 Montevideo St, building 2, floor 1 of NSOU, phone: + 359 884 616 268; www.harmonia1.com) is a licensed school, specialised in professional qualification and retraining, studying of foreign languages and various other programmes. It has partnership contracts with many other colleges and universities in Bulgaria, and is equipped with computer halls and laboratories with 20+ seats. The team of Harmonia has deep knowledge and competence in their fields and aims to push the borders of teaching, turning it into a sharing of experience with their students and debating on current topics with them. Part of the lecturers are also proven business leaders.
AMERICAN COLLEGE ARCUS: THE ART OF BEING DIFFERENT
There are schools and schools. The PSHS AMERICAN COLLEGE ARCUS (Veliko Tarnovo, 16 Dragoman St; phone: +359 62 619 966; www.ac-arcus.com) is one of the places that combine the highest academic standards with the meticulous fostering of free individuals, encouraging the individual and the creative activities of students from 8th to 12th grade. Mastering of English is in the core of education during the first year of education. Afterwards all subjects are taught in it and the students continue at a class specialising in another foreign language or in one specialising in natural sciences, mathematics and informatics. As a result of the dedicated work and the top quality education that Arcus provides, its alumni continue their higher education in the most prestigious universities in the world.
SVETA SOFIA: AMONG THE BEST
THE PRIVATE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL SVETA SOFIA (Sofia, Boyana, 7 Moreni St, phone: +3592 857 0119; www.svetasofia.com) enrols pupils from 6 to 13 years of age. The emphasis is on studying of the Bulgarian language, mathematics and English. In 2013, Sveta Sofia took the first place in the results of the institutional external evaluation in Sofia and its alumni, after the 7th grate, have the best realisation amongst their peers. Here, the intellectual development of children is not the only priority – their emotional and physical progress is also very important. A rich variety of sports are on offer – football, basketball, volleyball, tennis, table tennis and others. Studying of arts – music, drawing, theatre, dances and piano – is also embedded in the programme.
AN ALLIANCE OF KNOWLEDGE
ALLIANCE (Sofia, Lozenets, 1 Kapitan Andreev St, phone: +359888 268 050; www.alliance-bg.com) is a prestigious foreign language school for children and adults. For 80 years now it offers excellent education, following the European standards, integrating Bulgarians in Europe and the world. The pupils choose between individual and group lessons in English, German, French, Italian, Russian and Spanish. Alliance also has preparatory classes for language gymnasiums, matriculation and certificate exams. The school works in cooperation with the British Council towards the ADDVANTAGE programme and has been awarded with silver statute for best results in English and for covering the European language framework. It is the Bulgarian partner of Goethe Institute.