Web based teaching within the Higher education system on the eve of the COVID-19 pandemic

The restrictive measures against the spread of the new coronavirus COVID-19 forced most of the Higher education institutions (HEIs) in Bulgaria to provide their lectures and seminars online. Were the higher education institutions ready to face this new challenge and to what extend had they adopted different forms of online education before the epidemic? Answers to those questions could be found in the data from the Bulgarian University Ranking System survey among students from 2019. 

The majority of the students in Bulgaria report that higher education institutions have been using different forms of online education regularly even before the COVID-19 epidemic. The HEIs have also provided access to online educational resources and administrative services. More than 2/3 of students that participated in the survey agree that their teachers are taking advantage of new technologies in teaching the education materials (69%) and in providing online lectures (72%). The same share of students agree that the HEIs provide free access to Internet on its territory (74%), that they have access to enough online publications concerning their education (66%) and that most of the administrative services are available online (67%).  The share of students that disagree with those statements varies between 22% and 25%. A small share of students who have taken part in the survey have not indicated an opinion or have indicated that they don’t know.

The data is based on a survey among more than 12 000 students, conducted in May – June 2019 for the Bulgarian University Ranking System. The sample is randomized nest sample where the sample population is made of student groups in a HEI and the surveyed unities are the students. The sample consists of students from every academic degree and every professional field in the Higher education institutions that have positive accreditation in Bulgaria for the time of the study.   The survey is filled in by the students after receiving instructions from a field worker. The sample is self-weighted (needs no further weighting) for each professional field in each HEI. For the calculations on a national level, the opinion of every student in every professional field in every HEI has been re-calculated to weight exactly the same.  The research has been carried out by a team of the “OSI-S” Consortium, consisting of Open Society Institute – Sofia and Sirma Solutions for the Bulgarian University Ranking System 2019 edition, commissioned by the Ministry of Education and Science.

The Ranking system is available online at: https://rsvu.mon.bg

The Bulgarian University Ranking System and the data included in it are updated under project BG05M2ОP001-2.005-0001 „Maintenance and improvement of the developed University Ranking System – phase 1”, funded with the financial support of Operational Programme “Science and Education for smart growth”, co-financed by the European Union through the European Structural and Investment Funds. The content of this publication should under no circumstance be considered an official position of the European Union.