Centre for Skills

The Development of a National Skills Strategy for the Republic of Bulgaria


The OECD Centre for Skills and the Directorate-General for Structural Reform Support (DG REFORM) of the European Commission are co-operating to provide technical support to Member States through the Technical Support Instrument.


The project “Technical support for the development of a National Skills Strategy for the Republic of Bulgaria” contributes to the ongoing reform on the development of a comprehensive set of skills policy actions in Bulgaria.



Bulgaria faces immediate challenges stemming from a steep demographic decline and uncertainties about future skills demands in the country. Workers tend to be fairly confident about the relevance of their own skills to the labour market. However, the share of low performers in the OECD's Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) continues to be relatively high and employers report increasing difficulties in finding qualified workers. Despite their concerns, employers invest relatively little in the upskilling of their employees. The modest increase in educational attainment identified in the last few years may be insufficient to ensure a good alignment between the supply of skills and the demands of the labour market.

The OECD Skills Strategy Bulgaria: Assessment and Recommendations project (Q1 2022-Q1 2023) will assess Bulgaria’s skills performance and provide recommendations for improvement of young people’s skills, adults’ skills, the effective use of skills as well as for improving the governance of the skills system. It is intended that “The development of a National Skills Strategy for the Republic of Bulgaria” project will build on the findings and recommendations of the OECD Skills Strategy Bulgaria project and will help their operationalisation.


The challenge

Factors like changing and increasing skills demands, coupled with economic, demographic, and technological developments pose considerable challenges, but can also represent opportunities for innovative responses to strengthen the education and training system. This requires rethinking approaches to skills, and in particular digital skills, as part of Bulgaria’s country specific recommendations and National Recovery and Resilience Plan (RRP). The need for skills reform is even more urgent in the context of the COVID-19 impact on the labour market.


Project relevance

The project will contribute to the achievement of various Bulgarian national priorities for developing and using people’s skills, including those outlined in: the Strategic Framework for the Development of Education, Training and Learning in the Republic of Bulgaria (2021–2030); the National Recovery and Resilience Plan, section “Innovative Bulgaria”, component 1 “Education and Skills”; and Bulgaria’s Roadmap of the development of skills for digital and green transformation in the context of lifelong learning for the period 2021-2030.

In so doing, the project will also contribute to the achievement of the European Skills Agenda, the EU goal to accelerate the digital and green transition in Bulgaria (as formalised in the Green Deal and Digital Action plan), and the UN Sustainable Development Goals 4 “Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all” and 8 “Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all”.


Project outputs and activities

In order to achieve outcomes and facilitate achievement of impacts, the OECD will produce the following outputs:

  • Report identifying objectives and Bulgaria’s priority policy actions for inclusion in the national skills strategy, building on the findings and recommendations of the OECD Skills Strategy: Assessment and Recommendations Bulgaria project.
  • Report providing guidance on implementing a whole-of-government national skills strategy, including agreed relevant activities, instruments, timelines and stakeholders’ roles and responsibilities.
  • Report providing guidance on developing a monitoring and reporting framework, including performance indicators for measuring the implementation progress.
  • Outline for a communication campaign to raise awareness of the national skills strategy for Bulgaria.
  • Follow-up report and capacity building workshop for implementation.
  • Public closure event and communication outputs at the conclusion of the project.


Key resources


The project is expected to conclude in September 2024.


Co-funded by the European Union 


Funded by the European Union via the Technical Support Instrument, and implemented by the OECD, in cooperation with the European Commission.



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