Bulgarian-Swiss research project
2012 until 2015
“Social disparities and regional differences in school-to-work transitions in Bulgaria” in partnership with the University of Basel, principal investigator from Bulgarian side ISSK, with team leader Rumiana Stoilova.
Christian Imdorf, Rumiana Stoilova: Bulgarian School Leaver Survey 2014 [Dataset]. Distributed by FORS, Lausanne, Ref study: 11942 / Ref dataset: 864.
Bulgarian-Swiss research project „Social disparities and regional differences in school-to-work transitions in Bulgaria“
The research project is being funded by the Swiss government (Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF)) and the Bulgarian Government. 1.11.2012 – 31.10.2015
Bulgarian research team (Institute for the Study of Societies and Knowledge, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences):
Rumiana Stoilova is Professor and Director of the Institute for the Study of Societies and Knowledge at BAS. Her research interests and expertise are focused on the international comparative research on transitions from education to work in Europe; integration of youth into the labour market; impact of education and gender on stratification; social trust and mechanisms for obtainment of equal access to educational opportunities; impact on welfare state on groups in risk of poverty and exclusion. Rumiana Stoilova is a principal investigator of the project “Social disparities and regional differences in school-to-work transitions in Bulgaria” in partnership with Christian Imdorf from the University of Basel.
Pepka Boydajieva is Professor at the Institute for the Study of Societies and Knowledge at BAS. Her research interests are in the field of education with emphasis on higher education, lifelong learning and school to work transition. Professor Boyadjieva teaches courses of Sociology of education at Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski” and New Bulgarian University. She is Honorary professor of Sociology of education at the University of Nottingham and member of the Editorial Board of the ISA’s SSIS series Sage Studies in International Sociology Books and of International Journal of Lifelong Education. Pepka Boyadjieva is an expert to the EU Commission and one of the Bulgarian leading researchers in the project “Social disparities and regional differences in school to work transitions in Bulgaria”
Petya Ilieva-Trichkova is Assistant at the Institute for the Study of Societies and Knowledge, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences. Her research interests are in the area of higher education, graduate employability and social justice. In the period between 2010 and 2013 she was a Marie Curie fellow in the FP7 project EduWel ‘Education as Welfare’. Her host institution was Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan where she is a PhD student in Philosophy. Petya Ilieva-Trichkova is a member of the research team of the project “Social disparities and regional differences in school-to-work transitions in Bulgaria” (2012-2015). The project is funded by the Bulgarian-Swiss Research Programme and is coordinated by Professor Rumiana Stoilova – Director of the Institute for the study of societies and knowledge, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences and Professor Christian Imdorf from the University of Basel
Lachezar Marius Nyagolov is a PhD Student in Sociology at the Institute for the Study of Societies and Knowledge, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences. His research interests are in the area of the area of education, new types of employment and labor market entry of graduates. He is PHD student at the Institute for the Study of Societies and Knowledge and a member of the research team of the project “Social disparities and regional differences in school-to-work transitions in Bulgaria” (2012-2015). The project is funded by the Bulgarian-Swiss Research Programme and is coordinated by Professor Rumiana Stoilova – Director of the Institute for the Study of Societies and Knowledge and Professor Christian Imdorf from the University of Basel.
Associate Professor Elitsa Dimitrova
Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Institute for Population and Human Studies, Faculty Member
PhD Student Katerina Boneva
Swiss research team (Institut für Soziologie Universität Basel):
Christian Imdorf is a research professor at the University of Basel since June 2011. His research projects focus on education systems and gendered school-to-work transitions and on new organisational forms of vocational training (trainig networks). Within the Social Research and Methodology Group at the University of Basel, Christian Imdorf is a member of the TREE (Transitions from Education to Employment) survey management team, and he is currently coordinating the Sociology of Education Research Network of the Swiss Sociological Association. He is the Swiss primary investigator of the project “Social disparities and regional differences in school to work transitions in Bulgaria”.
Franziska Bieri received her Ph.D. in Sociology from Emory University in Atlanta, USA. She is a senior researcher at the University of Basel and faculty member of the University of Maryland University College Europe. Her areas of research include Civil Society & Global Governance, Corporate Social Responsibility, and Labor Markets. Dr. Bieri is the author of ‘From Blood Diamonds to the Kimberley Process: How NGOs Cleaned Up the Global Diamond Industry’. Over the last decade, Dr. Bieri has taught Sociology courses at Emory University, Morehouse College, the University of North Georgia, and UMUC Europe. She is one of the Swiss researchers in the project “Social disparities and regional differences in school to work transitions in Bulgaria”.
Summary of the project
The transformation of the Bulgarian labour market from state socialism to market capitalism has had a strong impact on the school-to-work transition of young adults. Young people’s passages from education to employment have become uncertain. Today, many graduates risk not gaining ground in the labour market and facing social exclusion in Bulgaria. A large percentage of unemployed people belong to minority ethnic groups, especially the Roma whose education and job qualification levels have remained very low and Bulgarian Turks, who live predominantly in rural areas. There are indeed important regional differences in terms of successful school-to-work transitions. The educational level of the rural population continues to lag substantially in comparison to urban residents. When it comes to gender disparities, Bulgaria may serve as an international role model. It seems to achieve higher gender equality in education and employment opportunities than many other countries. However, little is known how regional labour and educational opportunities impact ethnic and gender disparities in school-to-work transitions. Conceptually, the project uses one central argument to understand school-to-work transitions. It investigates the role of the Bulgarian education system in creating, reproducing and diminishing social, ethnic and regional disparities in school-to-work transitions while maintaining a relatively low level of gender segregation on the labour market.
A nationally representative school-leaver survey for Bulgaria will provide detailed data about pathways that lead young women and men from different social and ethnic backgrounds along different educational tracks to different positions in the labour market. Embedded in this survey, regional case studies of two distinct Bulgarian regions (the remote North Western region and the South Western region) will be used to analyse the consequences of differing educational offers on individual school-to-work transitions. Finally, international comparative analysis of the Bulgarian survey data with Switzerland and other European countries serves to diagnose both the strengths and shortcomings of the Bulgarian transition system.
The research project will have broader implications for Bulgarian and Swiss policy makers. On the one hand, it will reveal mechanisms to produce a more integrative education system in Bulgaria, to enable smoother school-to-work transitions, and to more effectively restructure education systems in remote areas, such as in the North Western planning region. On the other hand, Swiss policy makers will be able to learn from the Bulgarian education system, which is unique in terms of producing only little gender segregation.
Social disparities and regional differences in school-to-work transitions in Bulgaria
ACTIVITIES AND OUTPUT DURING FIRST PROJECT YEAR
The development of the survey instrument for a nationally representative school-leaver survey for Bulgaria was a key objective that was achieved this first project year. More than 170 questions were developed for the retrospective school-leavers and labour market entry survey. This survey will identify young people’s pathways along different educational tracks to different positions in the labour market. Particular attention was paid to the operationalization of educational variables in the Bulgarian context, in consultation with the Ministry of Education. Similarly labour market outcomes variables and relevant socio-demographic characteristics were carefully drafted to suit the local contexts and diverse pathways of respondents.
Data analysis during this first year was focused on existing secondary data sources as our own data from the retroactive school leavers survey will become available in the second project year. Team members have secured access and conducted analysis with the following main datasets: Gender and Generation Survey, Labour Force Survey, European Value Survey, European Social Survey, Eurostudent.
Furthermore, we obtained project relevant labour market statistics from the Bulgarian National Statistical Institute. Based on these data (from the 2011 Bulgarian Census and the three waves of the Bulgarian Labour Force Survey) we were able to code 400 occupations (based on the Bulgarian classifications of occupations) on their gender composition. The occupational codes will be used in the comparative analysis and in studying gender dynamics in school to work transitions.
Collaborations with Data and Policy Partners
• Vitosha Research (collaboration in the development and translation of the questionnaire, sampling strategies, pilot study and the planning and implementation of the survey).
• Bulgarian National Statistical Institute (labour market statistics from the Bulgarian Census and the Labour Force Surveys)
• EUROSTAT (EU-SILC and EU-LFS)
• Bulgarian Ministries of Labour & Social Policy, Economics, and Education
• Bulgarian Embassy in Switzerland
Research Output by Project Team Members
Publications and Working Papers
• Ilieva-Trichkova, Petya § Boyadjieva, Pepka (2014). Dynamics of inequalities in access to higher education: Bulgaria in a comparative perspective, European Journal of Higher Education, 4(2): 97-117, DOI: 10.1080/21568235.2013.857946.
• “Horizontalna segregacia po pol na rabotnite mesta – sledstvia za stratifikaciata.” (Horizontal Segregation of Jobs – Consequences for Stratification) Stoilova, R. (forthcoming, Sociological Problems)
• “Education Systems and Gender Stratification in Bulgaria.” Bieri, F.; Imdorf, Ch., Stoilova, R., and P. Boyadjieva. (under review)
• “Education Systems and Gender Stratification in Bulgaria” (Bieri, F.; Imdorf, Ch., Stoilova, R., and P. Boyadjieva) Career Orientations, Education Systems and Gendered School-to-Work Transition Conference. (organized by University of Basel’s Institute for Sociology and Center for Gender Studies). University of Basel, Switzerland. November 23-24, 2012.
• “Dynamics of inequalities in access to higher education: Bulgaria in a comparative perspective” (Ilieva-Trichkova, P. and P. Boyadjieva) European Social Survey Conference, European University Cyprus, Nicosia, Cyprus November 23-25, 2012.
• “Higher education and social trust: a European comparative perspective” (Boyadjieva P. and P. Ilieva-Trichkova) International Symposium on Comparative Sciences, Inaugural Session, Sofia, Bulgaria, 8-11 October, 2013.
• “Higher Education and Well-Being: Educational inequalities and trust in a comparative perspective” (Boyadjieva P. and P. Ilieva-Trichkova) CHER Lausanne, Switzerland September 9-11, 2013.
• “Does expansion and greater equity in higher education mean worse employability? A comparative perspective” (Ilieva-Trichkova, P. and P. Boyadjieva) EAIR Forum Rotterdam, the Netherlands August 28-31, 2013.
These papers have treated two of the three research aims in this study: a. the aim at better understanding the mechanisms behind educational (un)success and school-to-work transition in contemporary Bulgaria; and b. the social and ethnic inequalities as well as the low gender segregation of these transitions.