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ECNAIS : European Council of National Associations of Independent Schools

Management Committee Meeting | Seminars

New approaches to learning as keys to success

Sofia, Bulgaria | 19 - 21 November 2015


The freedom of education in Europe is historically based on two pillars, which are not recognized equally in the different European countries.

The most well known is the respect for the fundamental right of minorities to raise and educate their children according to their own cultural and historical heritage.

This is strongly connected to the right of self organization and self-governance as proven concepts of strengthening the civil society.

As an expression of the other aspect of the freedom of education – the right to choose an alternative approach to education – in countries where there is also room for pedagogical entrepreneurship, innovation of education can more easily open doors for new approaches to learning.

The representative associations of independent schools in each European country are working hard to impress on public opinion and the national politicians, the added value of their schools to the national educational system.

This is necessary, not only to guarantee the availability of  a fair share of the public funds  for private schools but also to make the people aware of important changes which can improve tremendously the outcome of education.

One of these changes in the paradigm, is the shift of focus of the main activity from teaching, to students and pupils’ own learning.

In this seminar we will learn how the Bulgarian independent schools are dealing with  these  changes and how their politicians evaluate the role of private schools in Bulgarian society.

Representatives of associations of independent schools in neighboring countries will be reflecting on the Bulgarian situation and our Norwegian key speaker’s contribution will highlight the ongoing transition process of the shift from teaching to learning.

The seminar will lead to a better picture of new approaches to learning as keys to success and will give you concrete examples of how your colleagues within ECNAIS are dealing with political resistance and future challenges in their own situations.

MC meeting

The Management Committee Meeting is scheduled on Saturday 21 November 2015 from 9h00 till 12H00 (open for members only).

The venue of the Seminar

Central Park Hotel Sofia
106 Vitosha Blvd
Sofia 1463


Registration can be done on line only, at

It is very important that we receive your registration no later than 23 October 2015, as we have to inform the hotel how many rooms we need. After this date we can’t guarantee accommodation, so please be in time!
The invoice will be sent after we have received your 0n-line registration.


Thursday 19 November 2015
08.45 – 09.15 Welcome and registration
09.15 – 10.00 Official opening of the seminar
Milka SLAVCHEVA, Chair of Bulgarian Association of Private Schools (BAPS)
Simon STEEN, Chair of ECNAIS
Official Representative from Sofia Municipality / Ministry of Education
10.00 – 10.45 Bulgarian independent Education
Prof. Sergei IGNATOV, – former minister of education – Bulgarian Education: Present Reality and a Glimpse of the Future
Dialogue with audience included
10.45 – 11.15 Coffee break
11.15 – 13.00 Prof. Silvia NIKOLAEVA – Sofia University  St. Kliment Ochridski – “Three Bulgarian Pedagogies for Lifelong Learners”
Dialogue with audience included
Prof. Mariana BANCHEVA –Educational Policy Director at the Institute for Progressive Education  – “The Price of Lack of Freedom”
Dialogue with audience included
13.00 – 14.30 Lunch
14.30 – 16.00 Keynote speaker: “Polyphonic Classrooms”
Prof. Olga DYSTHE University of Bergen, Norway
Each student in the polyphonic classrooms is seen and heard, has a voice, receive professional confidence, is committed, learn to express insight – both in writing and orally, is in dialogue with other students, is in dialogue with the teacher, is in dialogue with the text / substance.
Dialogue with the audience included
16.00 – 16.30 Coffee break
16.30 – 17.30 Presentation of the schools (which we will visit the following day)
18.30 Cocktail/aperitif
19.30 Dinner at the hotel restaurant
Friday 20 November 2015
09.00 – 12.00 School visits (lunch included)
14.00 – 15.30 Neighbouring countries reflections and considerations with dialogue included

  • Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM)
  • Greece
  • Rumania
  • Ukraine
15.30 – 16.00 Coffee-break
16.00 – 17.30 Activating key issues and exchange from personal perspective in small groups
17.30 Closure of the seminar
19.30 Dinner
Saturday 21 November 2015
09.00 – 12.00 Formal Management Committee Meeting (open for members only)
12.00 – 13.30 Lunch (MCM)

Photo of Sofia by Dennis Jarvis – Licence Creative Commons, Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic

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