Bulgaria’s Cabinet has allocated 14 million leva (about 7.15 million euro) for the purchase of 16 000 laptops by schools, Education Minister Krassimir Vulchev said on October 14.
Of the total number of laptops, 12 000 will be for pupils and 4000 for teachers.
The laptops will be for online education in the event of quarantining or closure of schools, Vulchev said.
He said that the purchase would not make it possible for all pupils and teachers to be provided with laptops, but Bulgaria’s government is expecting funds from the reactUF tool, with which it hopes to provide an additional 80 000 computers.
Bulgaria has close to 700 000 school pupils and 90 000 teachers, he said.
Bulgaria closed schools in early March after a national influenza epidemic was declared. After Parliament voted a State of Emergency in March because of the Covid-19 pandemic, schools remained closed for the rest of the school year, with the vast majority going over to online distance learning.
Vulchev said that the laptops would be bought by the schools, in the coming weeks. Every teacher must have an electronic diary, he said.
“We will set requirements for schools, but they will have to guarantee the functionality of these devices, not target a specific manufacturer. The requirements will be such that they may be bought from a large number of manufacturers,” he said.
Vulchev said that no school closures were planned for the time being.
He said that 162 children and 159 teachers were infected with the coronavirus. Given that about a month had passed since schools in Bulgaria opened for the 2020/21 year, this meant that about five to six teachers and pupils became infected per day, according to Vulchev.
Currently, about 99.7 per cent of pupils were receiving in-person education, he said.