BURS 2018: Fewer students, better professional opportunities for them


The number of students decreases, professional opportunities of university graduates increase, scientific, research activity of universities is improving. These are some of the main tendencies registered in the new issue of the Bulgarian University Ranking System (BURS) (http://rsvu.mon.bg).

The issue of the Ranking system 2018 confirms that there is a consistent trend of improvement of the professional opportunities on the labor market of university graduates in the country but also shows big differences in the average levels of income, unemployment and application of the acquired higher education depending on the completed professional field and university.

According to data from the Ranking System, the share of registered unemployed among the graduates of Bulgarian universities for the last 5 years has dropped to 2,44% in 2018 from 2,91% in the previous year and from over 4% in 2013. The share of graduates who do not pay social security in the country has fallen to about 20% from nearly 22% in the perevious  year and over 25% in 2014. At the same time, the share of hired graduates who work at a position for which no higher education is required in the first 5 years after graduation has risen to 49.26% from 48.56% a year ago and from below 46% in 2014. The average insurable earnings of the graduates has also increased to BGN 1 151 in 2018 compared to BGN 1 075 the previous year and only BGN 867 in 2014.

The lowest unemployment level (below 1%) and the highest level of application of the acquired higher education (over 90%) are being observed for another year among the students graduated from the following professional fields: Medicine, Pharmaceutics, Dental Medicine and Military Affairs. For the first time, since the 2011 when the Ranking System was established, the unemployment among the graduates in none of the professional fields does not exceed 4%. In comparison with the previous year, unemployment of more than 4% was reported among the graduates from 3 professional fields, in 2016 – from 10 fields, and in 2014 – from 18 fields. The lowest practical application of the acquired higher education remains the lowest among the graduates of Tourism (19,67%).

The professional fields with the highest average income among the graduates are: Informatics and Computer Science; Mathematics; Communication and computer equipment; Metallurgy; Exploration, mining and processing of minerals; Public Health; Electrical Engineering, Electronics and Automation and Military Affairs.

Highest average grades from the secondary school diploma have the first-year students in the fields of Medicine (5,57), Pharmaceutics (5,51) and Dental Medicine (5,46). Graduates in Materials and Material Science (4.27), Exploration, Mining and Processing of Raw Materials and Livestock Breeding (4.38) are the least successful in completing secondary education.

In the new issue of the Ranking System, there are again large differences in average levels of income, unemployment and practical application of higher education, depending on the specific university where it was acquired, even within the same professional field.

In many professional fields, among which some of the most popular – Economics, Administration and Management and Informatics and Computer Science – the differences in these indicators between graduates of different universities often are twice as bigger and in some cases even more. Significantly smaller differences in the completion of graduates depending on the particular university are observed in the professional fields, training students mainly for defense, education and health care. Such are, for example, the fields of Medicine, Health Care, Pedagogy, Military Affairs. For them, the practical application indicators of the graduates of the same field have similar values, regardless of the completion of a specific higher education institution.

The data from the Ranking System shows significant improvement of the impact of scientific publications of Bulgarian universities for the last 5 years; the Sofia University, the Medical Universities in Sofia, Plovdiv and Varna, as well as the University of Chemical Technology and Metallurgy being the universities in Bulgaria most frequently quoted in scientific publications of the Scopus and Web of Science international bibliographic databases.

The number of students in the universities in 2018 decreased by about 15% compared to 2013. In 13 fields the fall is by over 30%. Among them are the two most popular professional fields Economics and Administration and Management. At the same time, there is an increase of the number of students by about and over 30% in 5 professional fields. The greatest increase is in the fields of Medicine (81%), Military Affairs (52%), Dental Medicine (45%), Health Care (37%) and Veterinary Medicine (30%)., Medicine is ahead of the Law field by the number of students, ranking 4-th among the most popular fields in Bulgarian university education with 10 885 students, losing out only to Economics (41 937), Administration and Management (18 186) and Pedagogy (13 430).

The share of foreign students in Bulgaria rose from about 4% in 2013 to over 6% in 2018. Most foreign students belong to the professional fields of Medicine (about 53% of the students in this field are foreigners) and Dental Medicine (39%).

About 13% of the students in the country study in private universities, the share of students in these institutions is higher in the professional fields of Theater and Film Arts and Theory of Art (64% of the students in these fields study in private universities), as well as in the fields of Administration and Management and National Security (over 40%).

The Ranking System compares the performance of 51 universities within the framework of 52 professional fields based on a number of indicators measuring various aspects of the learning process, the scientific activity, the learning environment, the offered social and administrative services, the prestige and the regional significance of the universities as well as the performance of graduates on the labor market. For setting up of the indicators in the standardized charts of the Ranking System for 2018, information from various sources was used, including from universities, the National Agency for Assessment and Accreditation, the AdminUni in the education information system, the National Social Security Institute as well as from the Scopus and Web of Science international bibliographic databases.

On the interactive page of the Ranking System on the Internet (http://rsvu.mon.bg) users can get acquainted with the prepared standardized ranking of universities in professional fields and at the same time they will have the opportunity to make their own rankings having in mind their individual interests and preferences using the indicators and functionalities available in the system.

The Ranking System also contains information about the most common occupations among the graduates from different professional fields in the Bulgarian universities, as well as a list of the majors taught by the particular universities.

The purpose of the Ranking System is to help university applicants in their efforts to make an informed choice and to get to know better the numerous opportunities for study provided by Bulgarian universities.

The Ranking System is available in Bulgarian and English on the Internet at: http://rsvu.mon.bg

The issue of the Bulgarian University Ranking System for 2018 was updated on request of the Ministry of Education and Science by the OSI-S consortium consisting of the Open Society Institute – Sofia and Sirma Solutions.