Access to education for asylum-seeking children is provided explicitly in national legislation without an age limit.1 The provision not only guarantees full access to free of charge education in regular schools, but also for vocational training under the rules and conditions applicable to Bulgarian children. In practice there are some obstacles related to the methodology used to identify the particular school grade that the child should be directed to, but this problem should be solved by appointment of special commissions by the Educational Inspectorate with the Ministry of Education and Science. Presently, however, asylum seeking children accommodated in Pastrogor transit centre are deprived in practice from this right as the SAR does not provide the necessary school arrangements in this remote area.
No preparatory classes are offered to facilitate access to the national education system. Asylum seeking children with special needs do not enjoy alternative arrangements, other than those provided for Bulgarian children.2
Moreover, the 2015 amendments to the LAR introduced a new provision, according to which asylum seeking children may be detained in closed reception centres or facilities.3 This could deprive children of their right to education as accommodation in closed centres would effectively prevent them from accessing education, unless arrangements are not put in place to secure their transportation to the public schools. No practice is yet applied in this respect.
Adult refugees and asylum seekers have a right to a vocational training. Practical obstacles may be encountered by asylum seekers in relation to access to universities as they have difficulties to prove diplomas already acquired in their respective countries of origin. This is due to a lack of relevant information on diplomas.