Modern education of the new generations requires more creative thinking and solutions, more creativity and individuality. This was stated by Milena Damyanova, Chairman of the Committee on Education and Science at the 44th National Assembly, at the opening of the conference “Education from A to #. The Innovative School”. Present at the forum were Maria Gabriel, Bulgarian EU Commissioner, Yordanka Fandakova, Mayor of Sofia Municipality, Krasimir Valchev, Minister of Education and Science, school principals, business and non-governmental sector representatives. The discussion was organized by the economic portal Economic.bg, Nova TV, the Dir.bg information portal and the Portal of Bulgarian municipalities Kmeta.bg. “The new virtual realities are an opportunity for individual education that allows pupils to develop. Pupils are already creating knowledge under the guidance of their teachers and the essential question is will we recognise that new education is that in which the pupil can learn differently, create content under the guidance of the teacher?” Damyanova asked the participants in the discussion.
The Chairman of the Committee on Education and Science stressed that digital training will not replace the teacher. “Digital training is not a teacher’s workplace, it is not the end of social communication, it is not a modern thing for us to join the global chorus for perspective education. Digital training is an opportunity to make education models different so that we can respond to the new generations,” Damyanova said. According to her, the success of remote training during the pandemic was that “of teachers, of pupils, of parents, of grandparents who participated, were present in the electronic classroom and became real partners and associates - something that we have been working for and wanted to happen for years”.
The Chairman of the Education Committee warned that we are at the beginning of the development of digital education, as infrastructure, technology and teacher training are currently pending issues. According to her, the real debate is what can come from digital training, its strengths and weaknesses. “While debating changes to the Pre-school and School Education Act regulating e-learning, a colleague asked the question:” Did the mouse eat the book?” The mouse is now a book itself, and it's on the education shelf. Yes, the book is new, different, may change, may have an unexpected ending, get smaller or bigger, but it is there and its readers can reach it, if recommended,” Damyanova said.
“We have seen what direction the secondary education reform should take. We're moving forward and I wish we could be faster, but I know our system is more conservative. We shouldn't be doing experiments. I want to express my congratulations that 50% of kindergartens in Sofia, through pedagogical interaction, managed to implement online activities for the children,” said Sofia Mayor Yordanka Fandakova. According to her, 20% of the network of innovative schools in the country is located in Sofia. Models must be developed, not just offices, the Mayor also said.
In turn, Milena Damyanova explicitly explained that the change in the Pre-school and School Education Act, which is currently under discussion in the National Assembly, and foresees up to 20 percent of the classes to be online, refers only to innovative schools that have all the necessary resources and the willingness of teachers and pupils. This innovation can only be for one class, not even for the whole school, and will be approved by a Committee, the Chairman of the Education Committee said.
“Investing in education is not an investment in the future, but in our present,” Bulgarian EU Commissioner Maria Gabriel said. She announced that all stakeholders could now participate in the public discussion of the EU Digital Education Action Plan, which Gabriel will present to the European Commission in September.