chapter  11
11 Pages

In isolation parochial standards persist: The case of the social sciences in Bulgaria GALIN GORNEV

In its ‘Green Paper’ (2007), the Commission of the European Communities brings forward the main arguments in favour of the further internationalisation of the continental research space, i.e. of both its further internal integration and its intensified interaction with the global scientific community. These arguments outline the pressing necessity for internationalisation of the efforts of the European countries in the area of science and technology taking into consideration the EU ambition to strengthen its worldwide prominence. Along with that, however, in the countries of the post-communist Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) there are some deeply specific needs to dramatically accelerate the internationalisation of their national systems of science, education and technology. In this paper we will focus on both the essence and the historical genesis of some of these needs, laying a special emphasis on the situation of the social sciences in Bulgaria, with which we are most familiar. On the face of it, the present-day situation in the intimately interrelated

systems of scientific/technological research and education in Bulgaria does not seem to be particularly alarming. Compared with the situation prior to the ‘Velvet Revolution’ of 1989, when there was only one (state) university and several other (public) higher education institutions (mainly in the capital, Sofia as well as in such major cities like Plovdiv and Varna), we observe nowadays an energetic proliferation in the field: more than 50 universities and higher education institutes (including about 40 colleges within them), as well as 10 independent colleges covering most of the country’s territory. Taking into consideration the scale of the country (7,606,000 people in 2008), the absolute number of the tertiary level students and its steady increase are impressive enough (230,513 for 2002/03; 228,468 for 2003/04; 237,909 for 2004/05; 243,464 for 2005/06; 258,692 for 2006/07). Despite the economic difficulties, there is also a considerable interest in doctoral studies in most of the scientific disciplines (4,440 in 2002/03; 4,834 in 2003/04; 5,079 in 2004/05; 5,163 in 2005/06; 4,816 in 2006/07), including the social science branch (National Statistical Institute 2005).