School-to-work transition; Bulgaria; Switzerland; education system; social disparities; ethnic inequalities; gender segregation; regional differences; social inclusion; school leavers survey
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Stoilova Rumiana, Dimitrova Elitsa (2015), Emigration in the Perspective of the Search for a First Job in Bulgaria, in Nasselenie Review
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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.
Boyadjieva Pepka, Ilieva-Trichkova Petja (2015), Institutional Diversity and Graduate Employability: The Bulgarian Case, in Pritchard R. (ed.), 153-174.
Stoilova Rumiana (2015), Middle Class in Bulgaria during the global financial crisis – social status and attitudes, in Kelian M. et al. (ed.), 108-122.
Ilieva-Trichkova Petja, Stoilova Rumiana, Boyadjieva Pepka (2015), Regional Gender Differences in Vocational Education in Bulgaria, in Imdorf Christian (ed.), 151-180.
Stoilova Rumiana (2015), Social Background and Educational Opportunities, in Stoilova R. (ed.), 123-145.
Ilieva-Trichkova Petya (2015), Social justice in access to higher education in Bulgaria, in Stoilova R. (ed.), 159-180.
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.
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.
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
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Stoilova Rumiana (2014), Intersectionality – Roma women in Bulgaria, in Jakimova M. et al. (ed.), 116-129.
Nyagolov Lachezar (2014), School to first work transition in Bulgaria: regional aspects, in Koleva G. (ed.), 1.
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
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Stoilova Rumiana (2013), Horizontalna segregacia po pol na rabotnite mesta – sledstvia za stratifikaciata (Horizontal Segregation of Jobs – Consequences for Stratification), in Sociological problems
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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.).
Stoilova Rumiana, The Welfare State in the Context of the Global Financial Crisis: Bulgaria – between financial stability and political uncertainty, in Schubert Klaus (ed.).
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.