We don't study for the school's sake, we do study for the life when school ends, the ancient Romans used to say. Their words ring true today. The purpose of good quality education in not in scoring excellent marks: its aim is to create intelligent, knowledgeable persons that navigate successfully in the ever-changing landscape of modern life. For constant, rapid and often unpredictable change in the labour market, business, economy, industry and culture is the hallmark of the times we are living in. To an unprecedented scale, professions come in and out of fashion, and industries are created, destroyed or changed by the new technologies.
People are changing, too. Modern children and young adults have access to information unseen before, coupled with opportunities to travel, study and work all over the world.
In this whirlwind of trends, micro-trends, changes and unpredictability, good education always pays off. Modern education is the result of ever-evolving efforts to build up on centuries of tradition, to create new content, to understand better the dynamics between students and teachers, to establish a new set of skills that are crucial for the better future of the children. Among these qualities are included the skills of leadership, abilities to select and analyse information, to understand and discover the person's potential in a given area, to think outside of the box. Quality modern education is more than creating a workforce for the future. It creates wholesome personalities who are able to fit and adapt better in the changing environment.
Quality education is a hard job, and only the best schools, educational centres, universities and academies are able to secure it. When choosing a school for your children, regardless of what age they are, it is important to take in notice several factors.
Good schools take their students seriously. They are interested in them as personalities. They motivate them to study, to evolve, to build their characters, to work in team, to follow the school's rules. They are not afraid of going the extra mile to help their students to develop intellectually, but also to be healthy and to have enough sports and outdoor activities. Good schools are pro-active when they have to apply modern methods of education in their programmes, and encourage and tutor the brightest of their students to attend national and international science, mathematics and informatics competitions. They don't underestimate the cognitive, intellectual and artistic abilities of their students, and introduce them to "exotic" creations of civilisation like chess, opera or classical music.
Good schools don't forget that children are children. Modern students are often overwhelmed with studying, which brings a lot of stress on them. That is why good schools know when to step on the brakes and give their students some rest: a short break during a demanding lesson, an organised trip outside the city, a sport event.
Good schools take their teachers seriously. Being a teacher is one of the most demanding and responsible professions, and only people who feel their choice of career as a vocation become good teachers. Good schools know this and select for their staff teachers who love their jobs and are good in it, thus motivating their students to perform at the top of their abilities. Good schools also know that good teachers are motivated teachers, and regularly send them to trainings, seminars, conferences. They know that in order to get access to the hearts of modern students, teachers should stay ahead of the latest developments of education.
Good schools take their premises seriously. Light, spacious and modernly equipped school buildings, with nice and colourful classrooms and sufficient playgrounds are crucial for the success of the education. In order to succeed and to study more effectively, the student should feel comfortable in the school's environment. Additional services like transportation and food are also helpful as they provide additional security for the child's main task: to study.
Good schools take their programmes seriously. They work in accordance with the requirements of the Ministry of Education and stay in touch with the current developments of the world's economy and workforce needs. Thus they offer programmes that prepare students for the most prospective professions and universities.
The same principles apply for universities, academies and training courses. The good ones offer education that is tailored to fit the requirements of modern life. They have programmes in foreign languages, they employ the best professors, they invest in modern technologies of education and communication, they offer prestigious scholarships. Thus, year after year, they built up a tradition and reputation of reliable partners in providing of knowledge, skills and opportunities for their students.
Drujba School: Student comes first
From pre-school to high school: Drujba School (Sofia, Obelya 2, 3 106th St, phone: 02934 5555; Plovdiv, 18 Ruski Blvd, phone: 032 644 603; www.drujba.org) gives the best to the students in Bulgaria from their first step in the system of education to their entry in a university. Since 1999 the school has been applying modern educational programmes in accordance with the requirements of the Bulgarian Ministry of Education. It selects its students via rigorous entry exams, works dedicatedly with the children and their parents, and offers multicultural environment. The high-school classes of Drujba are taught in English and offer specialisation in Mathematics and Natural sciences, Humanities, Foreign languages (German, Spanish, Turkish). The teachers at Drujba love their profession and constantly improve themselves, their strong connection with their students determines the children's success. The Drujba students win first places on national and international olympiads, and when they graduate they continue with their studies in universities in Bulgaria, the US, Germany, Austria, Turkey.
Colegio Español Reina Sofía: To create a person
Anglo-American School of Sofia: Top quality and bright prospects
The core values of the Anglo-American School of Sofia (Pancharevo, 1 Siyanie St, phone: 02 923 8810, www.aas-sofia.org) are commitment, respect and excellence, and the mission: to engage, support and prepare each student for today and tomorrow. The premier Pre-kindergarten to Grade 12 international school in the Balkans, the AAS offers a well-rounded and rigorous programme. The school is an International Baccalaureate (IB) World School and is accredited by the Council of International Schools (CIS), as well as the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC), and is a member of the Council of British International Schools (COBIS). The AAS's graduates are accepted to, and attend excellent universities in Bulgaria and around the world, including Cambridge and Harvard. Beyond academics, AAS values and celebrates the arts, athletics and service – offering over 50 extra-curricular activities. Through the hard work of a dedicated community and staff, AAS has earned multiple awards including Best Service Provider by Forbes Bulgaria (2011), and Building of the Year (2006 and 2012). Each year AAS offers full scholarships to talented Bulgarian students.
Junior Achievement Bulgaria: Creating Bulgaria's new entrepreneurs
For almost 20 years now the social enterprise Junior Achievement Bulgaria (Sofia, 9 Zagore St, phone: 02 989 3660, www.jabulgaria.org) has been on the mission to help young Bulgarians to be proactive in their communication with the world, to become responsible and innovative entrepreneurs and engaged citizens. Thanks to the programmes and initiatives developed by JA Bulgaria, Bulgarians from the age of 6-7 years to university students learn how to be managers and innovators, how to develop their ideas into vital businesses, how to manage their personal finances. High school and university students receive the opportunity to establish their own businesses and to fund them. A number of respected international and local companies support the activities of JA Bulgaria, sharing their expertise with the participating students, and investing in the development of their ideas. JA Bulgaria co-operates with a number of schools and universities throughout the country, and knows that teachers also need help to stay in line with the changing times of the digital era. The organisation addresses this need with an innovative digital literacy programme that educates teachers to use digital resources in their work.
Alliance – Language School for Children and Adults: Tradition matters
The excellent knowledge of a foreign language (or languages) is crucial for your future as the certificate from an internationally recognised exam will open the doors to prestigious universities and the best companies. With 85 years of tradition, Alliance – Language School for Children and Adults (Sofia, Central office: 1 Kapitan Andreev St; Language and exam centre: 45 Maria Louisa Blvd; www.alliance-bg.com) is a leader in the studying of foreign languages in Bulgaria. To an extent that its very name has become a byword for a language course. In Alliance you will find courses for all level in English, German, French, Italian, Spanish and Russian language for children and adults; and specialised, as well as summer and winter language courses. The professional and motivated teachers work with the newest educational interactive programmes by leading international publishers. The preparation for international certificate exams is traditionally strong in Alliance. The school is an exam centre for Pearson Test of English (London Test) and Pearson JETSET LCCI, and is an authorised preparation centre for the exams of Cambridge and the Goethe Institut.
HRC Culinary Academy: Eastern Europe's best culinary school
The love for fine dining have swept the world, and the demand for well trained, talented and creative chefs is on the rise. It is then a good thing, that you are in Bulgaria, the home of Eastern Europe's best culinary school. The HRC Culinary Academy (Sofia, 9 Petar Beron St, www.hrcacademy.com) offers a dynamic two-year Culinary Arts Degree programme recognised by the American Culinary Federation. It includes intensive practical training and paid traineeships in exquisite restaurants, hotels and resorts around the world. The programme in F & B Management prepares new leaders in the hospitality industry. Developed by industry professionals and spanning three semesters, it gives students chance to work on real business cases and make the first steps in the industry with a paid internship in the US. The instructors at the Academy are true professionals. One of the best among them is chef Henri Donneaux who has over 24 years of experience in Belgium, France and the US, and has worked with 3 Michelin star chefs. The HRC frequently has as guest instructors renowned chefs from around the world. The Academy also offers short courses in Pastry & Bakery, Hot & Cold Kitchen and the one-day Cooking for Fun classes. This year, the HRC will open a brand new training facility in Sofia with six fully equipped kitchen labs including a bakery kitchen and a chocolate atelier, and а wine cellar.
TrainSoft Centre for Professional Education: Don't stop getting better
Sometimes life, inspiration or something else provokes us to change our career path with retraining. Sometimes we just need to brush up our knowledge in a profession we have been practicing for years. When you find yourself in such a situation, contact TrainSoft Centre for Professional Education (Sofia, Business Centre, 30 Osogovo St, office 502, www.trainsoftbg.com). The centre offers education in web design and programming, design and visualisation, business applications, graphic design, accounting and others. There are classes for beginners and for professionals who want to keep in line with the latest developments in their field. TrainSoft is also of help for companies that want to improve the professional skills of their staff. The company has a serious programme for company trainings, including ones that are custom-made for the individual needs of the client.