Project

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Social disparities and regional differences in school-to-work transitions in Bulgaria

English title Social disparities and regional differences in school-to-work transitions in Bulgaria
Applicant Imdorf Christian
Number 142969
Funding scheme Bulgarian-Swiss Research Programme (BSRP)
Research institution Institut für Soziologie Universität Basel
Institution of higher education University of Basel - BS
Main discipline Sociology
Start/End 01.11.2012 - 31.10.2015
Approved amount 298'120.00
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All Disciplines (3)

Discipline
Sociology
Economics
Education and learning sciences, subject-specific education

Keywords (10)

School-to-work transition; Bulgaria; Switzerland; education system; social disparities; ethnic inequalities; gender segregation; regional differences; social inclusion; school leavers survey

Lay Summary (English)

Lead
Many graduates in Bulgaria risk not gaining ground in the labour market. The research project aims at understanding the mechanisms behind educational (un)success and school-to-work transition in contemporary Bulgaria. It investigates the role of the Bulgarian education system in creating social, ethnic and regional disparities in school-to-work transitions while maintaining a relatively low level of gender segregation on the labour market.
Lay summary

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. The research project aims at better understanding the mechanisms behind educational (un)success and school-to-work transition in contemporary Bulgaria, including social and ethnic inequalities as well as the relatively low gender segregation of these 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 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 three distinct Bulgarian regions (the remote North Western region, the Blagoevgrad district in the South Western region, and the metropolitan Sofia district) 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.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 27.11.2012

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Publications

Publication
The Bulgarian Educational System and Gender Segregation in the Labour Market
Bieri Franziska, Imdorf Christian, Stoilova Rumiana, Boyadjieva Pepka (2016), The Bulgarian Educational System and Gender Segregation in the Labour Market, in European societies, 18(2), 158-179.
Emigration in the Perspective of the Search for a First Job in Bulgaria
Stoilova Rumiana, Dimitrova Elitsa (2015), Emigration in the Perspective of the Search for a First Job in Bulgaria, in Nasselenie Review, 4(1), 1.
Higher Education and Social Trust: A European Comparative Perspective
Boyadjieva Pepka, Ilieva-Trichkova Petja (2015), Higher Education and Social Trust: A European Comparative Perspective, in Popov N. (ed.), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, UK, 153-187.
Institutional Diversity and Graduate Employability: The Bulgarian Case
Boyadjieva Pepka, Ilieva-Trichkova Petja (2015), Institutional Diversity and Graduate Employability: The Bulgarian Case, in Pritchard R. (ed.), 153-174.
Middle Class in Bulgaria during the global financial crisis – social status and attitudes
Stoilova Rumiana (2015), Middle Class in Bulgaria during the global financial crisis – social status and attitudes, in Kelian M. et al. (ed.), 108-122.
Regional Gender Differences in Vocational Education in Bulgaria
Ilieva-Trichkova Petja, Stoilova Rumiana, Boyadjieva Pepka (2015), Regional Gender Differences in Vocational Education in Bulgaria, in Imdorf Christian (ed.), 151-180.
Social Background and Educational Opportunities
Stoilova Rumiana (2015), Social Background and Educational Opportunities, in Stoilova R. (ed.), 123-145.
Social justice in access to higher education in Bulgaria
Ilieva-Trichkova Petya (2015), Social justice in access to higher education in Bulgaria, in Stoilova R. (ed.), 159-180.
Trends of professional orientation in the educational system towards the labor market - gender and local difference in comparison
Nyagolov Lachezar (2015), Trends of professional orientation in the educational system towards the labor market - gender and local difference in comparison, in Dobrescu E. M. (ed.), 146-161.
Dynamics of Inequalities in Access to Higher Education in Bulgaria: Place of Residence as a Social Differentiating Factor
Boyadjieva Pepka, Ilieva-Trichkova Petya (2014), Dynamics of Inequalities in Access to Higher Education in Bulgaria: Place of Residence as a Social Differentiating Factor, in Koleva G. (ed.), 1.
Dynamics of inequalities in access to higher education: Bulgaria in a comparative perspective
Ilieva-Trichkova Petya, Boyadjieva Pepka (2014), Dynamics of inequalities in access to higher education: Bulgaria in a comparative perspective, in European Journal of Higher Education, 4(2), 97-117.
Intersectionality – Roma women in Bulgaria
Stoilova Rumiana (2014), Intersectionality – Roma women in Bulgaria, in Jakimova M. et al. (ed.), 116-129.
School to first work transition in Bulgaria: regional aspects
Nyagolov Lachezar (2014), School to first work transition in Bulgaria: regional aspects, in Koleva G. (ed.), 1.
Towards Understanding of Higher Education as a Public Good: Inequalities in Access to Higher Education and Trust in a Comparative Perspective
Boyadjieva Pepka, Ilieva-Trichkova Petja (2014), Towards Understanding of Higher Education as a Public Good: Inequalities in Access to Higher Education and Trust in a Comparative Perspective, in Sociological Problems, Special Issue on Civil Society, Politics and Solidarity, 18-36.
Horizontalna segregacia po pol na rabotnite mesta – sledstvia za stratifikaciata (Horizontal Segregation of Jobs – Consequences for Stratification)
Stoilova Rumiana (2013), Horizontalna segregacia po pol na rabotnite mesta – sledstvia za stratifikaciata (Horizontal Segregation of Jobs – Consequences for Stratification), in Sociological problems, 1-2, 192-220.
Habits or Frames? – Explaining Patterns in the Division of Paid and Unpaid Work in Germany, Bulgaria, France and Hungary
Riebling J., Stoilova R., Hofäcker D., Habits or Frames? – Explaining Patterns in the Division of Paid and Unpaid Work in Germany, Bulgaria, France and Hungary, in Roosalu T. (ed.).
The Welfare State in the Context of the Global Financial Crisis: Bulgaria – between financial stability and political uncertainty
Stoilova Rumiana, The Welfare State in the Context of the Global Financial Crisis: Bulgaria – between financial stability and political uncertainty, in Schubert Klaus (ed.).

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
University of Mannheim MZES, Irena Kogan Germany (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
Bulgarian Embassy Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
TREE, University of Berbn, B. Jann, S. Hupka-Brunner, T. Meyer Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Research Infrastructure
Adam Mickiewicz University Poland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
Bulgarian Center for Women in Technology Bulgaria (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Industry/business/other use-inspired collaboration
European University Institute Italy (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
Sofia University Bulgaria (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Exchange of personnel
Bulgarian-Swiss Research Programme - Other Funded Projects Bulgaria (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
Vitosha Research Bulgaria (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
Bulgarian National Statistical Institute Bulgaria (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
Inst. for Study of Societies and Knowledge Bulgaria (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure
- Exchange of personnel
Bulgarian-Swiss Research Programme - Other Funded Projects Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
Bulgarian Ministries of Labour & Social Policy, Economics, and Education Bulgaria (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
SLLS International Conference 'Education and the Life Course: Determinants and Consequences of Unequal Educational Opportunities Talk given at a conference GENDERED TRANSITIONS TO EARLY EMPLOYMENT IN BULGARIA 08.10.2016 Bamberg, Germany Stoilova Rumiana; Imdorf Christian;
Forschungskolloquium Sociology University of Basel Individual talk Educational Permeability and Gender Segregation: Case Study Evidence from Bulgaria and Switzerland 09.11.2015 Uni Basel, Switzerland Imdorf Christian; Bieri Franziska;
Middle Class, Education, Employment: The Contribution of the Social Sciences Talk given at a conference Socio-professional differences between young people in Bulgaria 04.11.2015 Sofia, Bulgaria Stoilova Rumiana;
Forschungskolloquium Soziologie University of Bern Individual talk Educational Permeability and Gender Segregation: Case Study Evidence from Bulgaria and Switzerland 28.10.2015 Uni Bern, Switzerland Bieri Franziska; Imdorf Christian;
Society for Longitudinal and Lifecourse Studies SLLS Conference Talk given at a conference Educational Permeability and Gender Segregation: Case Study Evidence from Bulgaria and Switzerland 19.10.2015 Dublin, Ireland Imdorf Christian; Bieri Franziska;
Education and Work: (Un-) equal Transitions with a special focus on Central and Eastern Europe Talk given at a conference Educational Permeability and Gender Segregation 24.09.2015 Sofia, Bulgaria Imdorf Christian; Bieri Franziska;
Education and Work: (Un-) equal Transitions with a special focus on Central and Eastern Europe Talk given at a conference Emigration in the Perspective of the Search for a First Job in Bulgaria 24.09.2015 Sofia, Bulgaria Stoilova Rumiana;
Education and Work: (Un-) equal Transitions with a special focus on Central and Eastern Europe Talk given at a conference Institution matters: Horizontal differentiation of upper-secondary education and students’ transitions after leaving high school 24.09.2015 Sofia, Bulgaria Stoilova Rumiana;
Education and Work: (Un-) equal Transitions with a special focus on Central and Eastern Europe Talk given at a conference Effects of the Social Origin on the Educational Decisions and Labour Market Entry in Bulgaria 24.09.2015 Sofia, Bulgaria Stoilova Rumiana;
12th Conference of the European Sociological Association Talk given at a conference Emigration in the Perspective of the Transitions from Education to First Job in Bulgaria 25.08.2015 Prague, Czech Republic Stoilova Rumiana;
Sociologia şi psihologia managementului Talk given at a conference Trends of professional orientation in the educational system towards the labor market - gender and local difference in comparison 23.08.2015 Predeal, Romania Stoilova Rumiana;
ISSK Workshop Talk given at a conference Emigration in the Perspective of the Transitions from Education to First Job in Bulgaria’ 18.08.2015 Sofia, Bulgaria Bieri Franziska; Imdorf Christian; Stoilova Rumiana;
ISSK Workshop Talk given at a conference Is 5 equal to 5? Horizontal stratification of secondary education and students’ transitions after leaving high school 18.08.2015 Sofia, Bulgaria Stoilova Rumiana; Imdorf Christian; Bieri Franziska;
ISSK Workhop Talk given at a conference Effects of the social origin on the educational decisions and the transitions from education to first job 18.08.2015 Sofia, Bulgaria Bieri Franziska; Imdorf Christian; Stoilova Rumiana;
The city and the village: the necessary balance in the modern world Talk given at a conference School to first work transition in Bulgaria: regional aspects 03.12.2014 Sofia, Bulgaria Stoilova Rumiana;
Comparative studies of gender segregation in vocational education and training – Institutional and Individual Perspectives Talk given at a conference Gender-specific Regional Differences in Vocational Education in Bulgaria 18.11.2014 Oslo, Norway Stoilova Rumiana;
Sociological Academy School for Active Ageing hosted by the Institute of Sociology Talk given at a conference The Process of lifelong learning in Bulgaria 22.09.2014 Bucharest, Romania Stoilova Rumiana;
ECER 2014: The Past, the Present and the Future of Educational Research Talk given at a conference Studying Inequalities in Graduate Employability: Different Approaches, Old Problems and New Challenges 02.09.2014 Porto, Portugal Stoilova Rumiana;
EAIR 36th Annual Forum Higher Education Diversity and Excellence for Society Talk given at a conference Does Institutional Diversity in Higher Education Matter for Graduate Employability: The Bulgarian Case 27.08.2014 Essen, Germany Stoilova Rumiana;
Recognition of Non Formal Education -Youthpass Talk given at a conference Administrative measures and programs to support the transition from education to employment and to reduce the youth unemployment in Bulgaria 01.08.2014 Istanbul, Turkey Stoilova Rumiana;
Academic Lecture: Institute for Social Research Oslo Individual talk Education System and Gender Stratification in Bulgaria 19.06.2014 Oslo, Norway Stoilova Rumiana;
Youth in Transition Countries Talk given at a conference Assessment of the content, availability and comparability of the data for desk research in Bulgaria 08.05.2014 Torun, Poland Stoilova Rumiana;
Youth in Transition Countries Talk given at a conference The Transition Process in Bulgaria and its Effects on the Young People 08.05.2014 Torun, Poland Stoilova Rumiana;
Second International Conference on the Middle Class: The Middle Class as a Precondition of a Sustainable Society - Fifteen Years Later Talk given at a conference The heuristic potential of capability approach in studying social inequalities 03.12.2013 Sofia, Bulgaria Stoilova Rumiana;
Second International Conference on the Middle Class: The Middle Class as a Precondition of a Sustainable Society - Fifteen Years Later Talk given at a conference Middle Class and Welfare in Bulgaria 03.12.2013 Sofia, Bulgaria Stoilova Rumiana;
International Conference Central and Eastern Europe: Work, Employment and Societies between Transition and Change Talk given at a conference Expansion of Higher Education and Education-job mismatch: Data and Insights from Central and Eastern Europe 21.11.2013 Evry, France Stoilova Rumiana;
City and Village – The Challenges in The 21-st Century Talk given at a conference Dynamics of inequalities in access to higher education by type of residence in Bulgaria 14.11.2013 Sofia, Bulgaria Stoilova Rumiana;
International Symposium on Comparative Sciences Talk given at a conference Higher education and social trust: a European comparative perspective 08.10.2013 Sofia, Bulgaria Stoilova Rumiana;
Summer School: Apply for a Job Talk given at a conference Employment opportunities in Spain 04.10.2013 Murter, Croatia Stoilova Rumiana;
Consortium of Higher Education Researchers (CHER) Conference Talk given at a conference Higher Education and Well-Being: Educational inequalities and trust in a comparative perspective 09.09.2013 Lausanne, Switzerland Stoilova Rumiana;
European Association for Institutional Research (EAIR) Forum Talk given at a conference Does expansion and greater equity in higher education mean worse employability? A comparative perspective 28.08.2013 Rotterdam, Netherlands Stoilova Rumiana;
International conference on career orientations, education systems, and gendered school­-to-work transitions Talk given at a conference Education Systems and Gender Stratification in Bulgaria 23.11.2012 Basel, Switzerland, Switzerland Stoilova Rumiana; Bieri Franziska; Imdorf Christian;
ESS Conference: Cross-National Evidence from European Social Survey: Exploring Public Attitudes, Informing Public Policy in Europe Talk given at a conference Dynamics of inequalities in access to higher education: Bulgaria in a comparative perspective 23.11.2012 Nicosia, Cyprus, Cyprus Stoilova Rumiana;


Self-organised

Title Date Place
ISSK Workhop 18.08.2015 Sofia, Bulgaria

Knowledge transfer events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Date Place Persons involved
BSRP presentations to Swiss State Secretary Dell' Ambrogio Talk 15.09.2015 Sofia, Bulgaria Bieri Franziska; Stoilova Rumiana;
BSRP Midterm Meeting Talk 22.05.2014 Sofia, Bulgaria Bieri Franziska; Stoilova Rumiana;


Self-organised

Title Date Place
Presentation of Project and Survey Questionnaire to Bulgarian Ministries of Labour & Social Policy, Economics, and Education 09.07.2013 Sofia, Bulgaria

Communication with the public

Communication Title Media Place Year
Video/Film School to Work Transitions in Bulgaria International 2016
Video/Film Education and Work: (Un-) equal Transitions International 2015
Media relations: radio, television The school-to-work transition – more difficult in Bulgaria compared to other EU states Bulgarian National Radio International 2015
New media (web, blogs, podcasts, news feeds etc.) School To Work Programme Website Website International 2014

Use-inspired outputs

Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
133731 Bildungssysteme und vergeschlechtlichte Übergänge von Schule in Ausbildung und Arbeit 01.06.2011 SNSF Professorships

Abstract

The transformation of the Bulgarian labour market from state socialism to market capitalism had a strong impact on the school-to-work transition of young adults. Young people’s passages from education to employment have become uncertain. The population of young adults aged 15-24 has been the most affected by the general decline in employment. Today, many graduates risk not gaining ground in the labour market and facing social exclusion in Bulgaria.The transformation process to capitalism went along with changes in the education systems, including decentralization, liberalization and privatization. The Bulgarian education system has passed through substantial reforms which created possibilities to allow pupils and their families to make their own educational and vocational choices. These reforms were carried out with an investment in education below the EU average and came along with an increase of early school dropout, lowering of quality of secondary education (measured by PISA results), massification of higher education, and the rising importance of education as a means to avoiding unemployment.However, the school-to-work transition risks are not the same for every young adult. 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 are leaving mainly in rural environments depending on the supply of educational opportunities in the region. Furthermore, there are 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. Little is known however how regional labour and educational opportunities impact ethnic and gender disparities in school-to-work transitions. 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. Against the backdrop of this, as well as of the ongoing social and regional disparities in education and employment, the proposed research project aims at better understanding (a) the mechanisms behind educational (un)success and school-to-work transition in contemporary Bulgaria; (b) the social and ethnic inequalities as well as the low gender segregation of these transitions; and (c) the variation of labour market access and the impact it has on disparities across regions in Bulgaria. Conceptually, the project uses one major argument to understand school-to-work transitions. It investigates the role of the Bulgarian education system in both creating social and ethnic disparities in school-to-work transitions and maintaining a relatively low level of gender segregation on the labour market. It is assumed that the amount of social, ethnic and gender disparities of school-to-work transitions varies across regions in Bulgaria and that this variation can be partly explained by different educational offers across those regions. Advanced theoretical tools are used to model school-to-work transitions and their output in terms of social and gender disparities. The models refer in a gender-sensitive manner to well-known institutional dimensions of the educational system (stratification, enrolment in general vs. vocational education, occupational specificity, openness and selectivity of higher education institutions) and to the institutional linkage of education and employment. Applying these tools to the Bulgarian education system allows for hypotheses on it affects ethnic, social and gender disparities in current school-to-work transitions across Bulgarian regions. The Bulgarian education system is expected to produce socially selective school-to-work transitions, which are more pronounced in urban than in rural areas. From an international perspective and compared to Switzerland, more precarious labour market entry processes but higher horizontal mobility for gender groups, and thus less gender segregation on the labour market generated by the education system, are expected for Bulgaria.Methodologically, a retrospective school leavers and labour market entry survey will be accomplished to answer the research questions in three subprojects. The core subproject 1 comprises a national representative school-leaver survey for Bulgaria. The survey will provide detailed and high-quality data at the micro-level enabling detailed reconstruction of the pathways that lead young women and men from different social and ethnic backgrounds along different educational tracks to different positions in the labour market. Young people will be sampled after leaving education and asked retrospective questions on their educational background and employment history. A random stratified sample of N=2100 15-34 year olds having left initial education will be applied. The data will be collected in face-to-face encounters based on a questionnaire covering key individual and educational variables and labour market outcomes. Subproject 2 encompasses three regional case studies of school-to-work transitions in Bulgaria. By contrasting the educational offers of three distinct Bulgarian regions (the remote North Western region, the Blagoevgrad district in the South Western region, and the metropolitan Sofia district) the consequences of differing educational offers on individual school-to-work transitions will be analysed more deeply. Based on the data collected in the projected Bulgarian school-leavers survey and on existing international data (the TREE youth panel survey for Switzerland and the European Social Survey data from 3 rounds), the international comparative Subproject 3 aims at putting the social and gender disparities in educational success and youth transitions in Bulgaria in an international context to diagnose both the strengths and shortcomings of the Bulgarian transition system. The project will have important scientific impacts on three different levels. First, the Bulgarian school leavers survey will for the first time allow for reconstructing detailed school-to-work trajectories of young adults in Bulgaria, including the study of drop-out, ethnic disadvantages, regional disparities and gendered transitions. As such, the survey will yield a significant historical database for future follow up studies in Bulgaria. At the same time it will expand limited data records available to study school-to-work transitions in South Eastern Europe. Second, the school leavers survey enables integration of the Bulgarian case into international comparative analyses on school-to-work transitions. On the one hand it integrates with the Swiss PI’s ongoing international comparative analysis on educational systems and gendered school-to-work transition. On the other hand, it would enable future comparative analysis with existing school leavers survey data from a range of CEE countries. Third, the project will provide high-quality longitudinal data to train Bulgarian junior social scientists in advanced contemporary statistical methods.Finally, the research project will have broader implications for Bulgarian and Swiss policy makers. It will have significant future implications for Bulgaria, by revealing mechanisms to produce a more integrative education system, 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. Furthermore, there will be significant lessons Swiss policy makers can learn from the Bulgarian education system which is unique in terms of producing only little gender segregation. It can therefore advise Switzerland on institutional features that enable horizontal mobility in the education system.
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