PRACTICE IN BULGARIAN UNIVERSITIES FOR ADAPTING TO PRESENT EDUCATIONAL CHALLENGES
Technology developments nowadays face universities with many educational challenges – to integrate technologies in educational processes, design new electronic educational materials, change teaching styles, and better meet the demands of the technology-savvy generation, as well as the requirements of the labor market for the skills and knowledge of future employees. On the other side, universities have a special role in the triangle of knowledge – to generate new knowledge, disseminate it in economy and society, and collaborate with industry for integrating it into new products and services. This demands universities to ensure proper management of their knowledge.
In Bulgaria, universities have introduced various changes for meeting the challenges they face. Most are changes their technology environments for facilitating the access to educational, scientific and administrative resources all interested stakeholders. Ensuring easy-to-use learning management systems, accessible not only from computers, but also from mobile phones, are subject to on-going projects. At the same time, several changes of educational programmes, introduction of new courses and learning styles are focused on better meeting the demands of industrial stakeholders for the skills and competences of their future employees. European Union Structural Funds play a key role in supporting the implementation of all these changes in Bulgarian universities, and increasing their competitiveness and integration into the European university area.
The paper provides initially an overview of the challenges facing Bulgarian universities. It focuses on the overall environment in Bulgaria for universities, as well as the e-skills agenda and the industry-academia collaboration problems. Second, the paper presents good practices at three leading Bulgarian universities – Sofia University ‘St. Kliment Ohridski”, Technical University – Sofia and New Bulgarian University. They show the university responses to labor market needs and the respective changes in curricula and courses, as well as the changes in the technology environments in universities for better knowledge management.
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