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Public Forum Education and Anticorruption
On 18 January, 2005 Coalition 2000 organized a Public Forum Education and Anticorruption at the Boyana Conference Center in Sofia. The Forum attract more than 100 representatives from: the Ministry of Science and Education, parliamentary and governmental anticorruption committees, academic institutions, donor and employer organizations, NGOs and media involved in the adoption and implementation of anticorruption policies and training in the Bulgarian secondary schools and universities.

The discussions focused on two major topics: Anticorruption activities in the educational system: current status, problems and best practices and Introduction of anticorruption education in the Bulgarian secondary school.

The Forum was opened by Dr. Ognian Shentov, Chair of the Board, Center for Study of Democracy. In his opening remarks, Dr. Shentov underlined the fact that anticorruption education is one of the most important priorities in the work of Coalition 2000, which is implemented in close cooperation with other NGOs, academic institutions, teachers, as well as representatives of public institutions. Dr. Shentov also mentioned the major achievements of the Coalition in this field in 2004 and presented a Concept Paper developed by a working group of experts from different organizations and institutions with recommendations on the major activities to be undertaken towards the introduction of anticorruption education targeted at students from first to twelve grades.

Prof. Kamen Velev, a Deputy Minister, Ministry of Science and Education delivered a welcome speech to the participants in the Forum on behalf of the Minister of Science and Education, dr. Igor Damyanov. In his speech, prof. Velev emphasized the fact that the introduction of anticorruption education in the secondary and higher education institutions was a fundamental step towards building an active citizen position among the young people. Prof. Velev also stated that as till the present moment, the Ministry of Science and Education will continue to rely on the support extended by school boards, student and professional associations and NGOs for restricting corruption practices in the educational sphere.

Mrs. Debra McFarland, Mission Director of the United States Agency for International Development also delivered a welcome speech to the participants in the Forum. In her address, Mrs. McFarland underlined that the Bulgarian school already has demonstrated to have a great potential for disseminating the principles of good governance and rule of law by means of introducing courses on anticorruption topics and implementation of other forms of anticorruption education. Mrs. McFarland also made recommendations to the Ministry of Science and Education to adopt national educational standards and programs for teaching anticorruption as part of the academic program in civic education at the secondary school, as well as to facilitate the introduction of such courses in the universities in order to prepare competent instructors, psychologists and social workers.

Mrs. Kirilka Misheva, Chief Auditor at the National Audit Office (NAO) presented a report The National Audit Office and Anticorruption Activities in the Education. Mrs. Misheva acquainted the participants in the Forum with the activities of the NAO as she put an emphasis on the results and analyses of audits conducted in the state universities during 2004 and identified risk factors and possible sources of corruption. Some of those factors and sources included: awarding of contracts on public tenders; leasing or renting university real estate property; usage of student dormitories; contracting private firms for a joint delivery of educational services; enrollment and transfer of students between universities and between faculties; improper opening of centers / branches for “extended”/”of-site” education; collecting of fees and taxes unregulated by the Law for Higher Education.

During the Forum were presented the results and good practices achieved through anticorruption education projects and sociological surveys of Coalition 2000 and partner organizations within the framework of the Civil Society Against Corruption Program during 2003 and 2004.

During the discussions were announced concrete measures undertaken by different universities in Bulgaria to restrict sources of corruption. Prof. Dobrinka Temniskova, a botanist, elected as the first academic ombudsman of Sofia University St. Kliment Ohridski in November, 2004, presented a short report of her initial experience at that position in resolving disputes and answering complaints from professors and students. Prof. Temniskova also expressed an opinion that there was a need for changes in the Law on Higher Education, which would allow stricter administrative sanctions in cases of corruption and embezzlements at the universities, as well as a need for the adoption of stricter criteria for accreditation of higher education institutions, which would help to reduce the number of illegitimate universities.

Associate prof. Lyudmil Georgiev, a Deputy Dean of the New Bulgarian University presented the good practices of his university achieved in such important areas of the academic life as: enrollment, evaluation of students and professors and obtaining a degree. Some of those practices included: introduction of an ethical code of the professors; usage of on-line information system for on-going grading of students (i.e. each student can check his/her grades on-line at any point of time); publicly announced criteria for student grading on the different subjects (on the university web page); annual evaluation of professors; adoption of official rules and procedures for submitting complaints for corruption and/or other types of misuse in each faculty.

Mr. Konstantin Palikarski, a Secretary of the governmental Committee for Coordination of the Activities for Combating Corruption presented a report on the activities undertaken by the government to restrict the cases of corruption in the state and local administration. Some of those measures included: adoption of ethical codes of the civil servants; organizing information seminars on anticorruption topics for civil servants in the state administration; creation of regional anticorruption councils . By the end of 2004 such councils already function as consultative organs to the administration of the district governors in most of the district centers in Bulgaria.

At the end of the Forum, Mrs. Albena Chupetlovska, a chief expert at the Ministry of Education and Science, supported the notion shared by all the participants at the Forum that the educational system disposes with a big potential for building values and skills in the young people for active and competent participation in the civil society and intolerance against the instances of corruption in the society. Mrs. Chupetlovksa presented the concrete forms of anticorruption education supported by the Ministry and already implemented within the program of the subjects on civic education in the secondary school. Some of those forms included: introduction of an elective class on anticorruption for students from 9th till 12th grade in the fall of 2004; out-of-class activities like student contests, visits in public institutions, etc.; through the classes of the class mentor conducted once per week during the semester; through the national competition for teachers Good Practices in Civic Education. Mrs. Chupetlovska also confirmed the willingness of the Ministry to extend a methodological support to teachers through the publicizing of good practices and the publishing of textbooks and manuals on anticorruption topics.

Background information
Press release (available only in Bulgarian)
Program of the Forum
Working materials of the Forum (available only in Bulgarian) (PDF, 1.05 Mb)
Media coverage

Welcome addresses and speeches of official guests
Welcome address of Minister Igor Damyanov to the participants at the Forum delivered by Deputy Minister Kamen Velev, Ministry of Science and Education (only in Bulgarian) (PDF, 3.24 Mb)
Welcome address of Mrs. Debra McFarland, Mission Director, USAID
Welcome address of Mr. Ognian Shentov, Chair, Center for Study of Democracy
Report The National Audit Office and Anticorruption in the Education, delivered by Mrs. Kirilka Misheva, Chief Auditor, National Audit Office (only in Bulgarian)
Presentation of Mrs. Albena Chupetlovska, Senior Expert, Directorate on Policies in the General Education, Ministry of Education and Science (only in Bulgarian)

Presentations of participants in the Forum
Presentation of Mr. Alexander Stoyanov, Director, sociological agency Vitosha Research (only in Bulgarian) (PDF, 392 Kb)
Presentation of assist. prof. Petya Kabakchieva, Association for Social Studies, Sofia (only in Bulgarian) (PDF, 237 Kb)
Presentation of prof. Pepka Boyadzhieva, Foundation Communities 2002, Sofia (only in Bulgarian) (PDF, 116 Kb)
Presentation of assist. Emilia Chengelova, Social Dialogue Foundation, Sofia (only in Bulgarian) (PDF, 183 Kb)
Presentation of assist. prof. Ivailo Tepavicharov, Association Elisaveta Klark and Penka Kasabova, Sofia (only in Bulgarian) (PDF, 159 Kb)
Presentation of Nadezhda Mahmudieva, Bulgarian Association for Out-of-Court Resolution of Conflicts, Plovdiv (only in Bulgarian) (PDF, 136 Kb)
Presentation of assist. prof. Raina Zaharieva, Association Elisaveta Klark and Penka Kasabova, Sofia (only in Bulgarian) (PDF, 141 Kb)
Presentation of Maria Donkova, Paideia Foundation, Sofia (only in Bulgarian) (PDF, 100 Kb)
Presentation of Daniela Dobreva, Association Roditeli, Sofia (only in Bulgarian) (PDF, 383 Kb)

Publications and resources
Concept Paper Prevention and Counteracting Corruption through Civic Education in the Bulgarian Secondary School. Major Recommendations and Working Areas during the Period 2004-2007 (only in Bulgarian)
Anticorruption Notebook, 2004
Corruption in 100 Answers Manual, 2004
More information of Coalition 2000’ activities in the area of anticorruption education

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