Fight with organised education. Part I
Adelina Marini, 25 May 2009
Probably only parents whose children have already passed from 7th class to 8th can understand those whose children are to go through the process this summer. Because the crash with the conservative and very underdeveloped education system is frontal with severe consequences for the mental health of the childredn and their parents, relatives and everyone involved in the very complicated process of application for high school. And if I've managed to draw your attention, here's the problem:
If you are a responsible parent, your first task in the beginning of 7th class would be to provide your child with all necessary books, training books and tests that are necessary to succeed at the exams. Then you would think of additional lessons, courses and if you don't have enough money, then you would spend a lot of your spare time to help your child with what at school are unable to help.
CRASH I: You see a lot of discrepancies between what's taught at school and what the tests for the exams require. Then until the very last moment you expect the school to have organised very well the preparation process for a successful application for the high-school exams like, for example, a list of actions what the children need to do, where to go and similar stuff. To some extent the expectations came true. The children were given a list with important dates - when the deadline for application starts, when is the math exam, when is the exam for Bulgarian language and literature.
CRASH II: Until the very last moment no one spared even a minute to explain to those children something which I thing should look like this:
a) a list of schools, called nests, where the applications are filed. This list might be accompanied by some explanations on whether it matters in which school-nest you should file your child's documents;
b) the application forms can be downloaded from where with specific instructions how to fulfill them, who signs the document etc.;
c) Who files the application forms and where? In other words - is it possible the child to do this by himself;
d) instructions for the period after application like where and when the child can learn in which school the exam will take place;
e) and, maybe, a model of how to fulfill the application form.
Just then f), g) and etc. might follow for what's next after the exam!
But, unfortunately, nothing like this happened! I understand that my child is being explained that their school is also a nest. But this makes me think of 2 things: I can send him there to file his application documents and, second, just to be acquainted with the fact that their school is a nest! That is why I have decided, during the time my child is doing one of the tests I've bought for him, I myself, to chek out on the Internet site of the Regional inspectorate for education for Sofia what they advise me to do. On their first page I find charming things which make my anger settle down and I start looking ahead to the future with certain amount of serenity:
"Speech is the beginning!
The beginning of light - so as the day to be;
beginning of reason - so as the Man to be;
beginning of creative work - so as culture to be;
beginning of wisdom - so as enlightment to be!
Speech is civilization!
The life work of Cyril and Methodiy (the authors of the Cyrilic) is the beginning of Bulgarian incorporation to the world's culture and their enlightening mission is an inspiration for the figures of education.
To all teachers, principals and kindergarten directors from Sofia city, happy 24th of May (the day of Bulgarian Writing and the Wyrilic)!"
All this is Signed by Vanya Kastreva, head of the Regional education inspectorate for Sofia.
Then I see much more charming pictures of some people for which I have no time to learn what made them so happy. I'm searching ... and finding. Of course, instead of the so longed list they inform me on this site, first, how much I have to pay. Money, of course is important so that the system would function, but I don't like the way this system is functioning and that is why I skipped the payment instructions and continued to search for the list. Unfortunately I couldn't find out whether I can file the documents in whatever school-nest I want and whether there are some hidden requirements. So I'll have to phone them and ask. I'm ringing ... Surprisingly, very selfcontrolled woman explained that it doesn't matter in which school-nest I will file my son's documents. But the questions is where I can download the application form from because I don't see such a thing on the Internet site of the Inspectorate. I was being transferred to another phone number where another gentle woman told me that I can find the application forms on the Internet site of the Ministry of education.
Today is the 25th of May. I have put a reminder in my phone and in the list my son gave me it is written that the beginning of the deadline for applications starts on the 26th. I'm mentioning this because I expected the first page of the Internet site of the Ministry to tell me what to do. Instead, I see, again, smiles, flags and to put it straight - the experience of the Ministry from the 24th of May celebrations. And, please, don't get me wrong - for me this day is very nice but not when in the 21st century I crash with total ignorance and obvious unwillingness the tens of thousands of parents to get help. And this definitely is lack of willingness. Anyway, I found the page with all necessary things a parent of a 13-14 year old would need to know for the high-school exams. But there AGAIN I see tests and the correct answers and all the information that would be absolutely useful ... but in the beginning of the semester. Maybe I will have to send my son to go to the school, which thanks God, is near to our home and we could afford going there couple of times until we've filed our documents correctly. I asked for a one-day-leave but, regretfully, I am the boss and I will have to deny myself the leave.
Beside this, I was explained very kindly by the Inspectorate that I could pay the fee for the exams in any bank or via post which means that my son will not be able to that and I will have to take couple of hours leave to transfer the money. (I can't pay through the e-banking because the school would need to see that I've paid and the bank of the school will see the money at least in 2 days. And the deadline is 7 days. And if our documents are to be returned for something that we wouldn't have done right, I need to be sure that these 7 days would be fairly enough for everything.
Wrong! I found the application forms. The link is with much more complicated name but, anyway. The problem is that these application forms are 2 types and they seem to be for one and the same thing. The good news is that today, for 100th time this year, the children aren't at school. This time because of the 24th of May - the Day of the Bulgarian Writing. Therefore I can give my son the task to prepare everything and tomorrow to go and file the documents. Then I expect to learn more truths about the high-schools campaign. Just to mention in conclusion of Part I, the application process hasn't changed for years. Reform, heh?