67% meanwhile said they would advise their children (if or when they had children) to leave Bulgaria to study abroad, up by 3% from 2009.
“They can see that the universities in Bulgaria could not offer sufficient quality programmes and well qualified teachers, assistants and professors,” said Teodora Racheva, director of Academic Consulting Ltd.
Almost 50% of high school graduates seeking higher education apply to schools abroad
Last year about 80,000 Bulgarians studied at foreign universities with almost 50% of high school graduates seeking higher education applying to schools abroad.
The most popular destination was the UK. In 2011-12, 1,800 Bulgarians studied at tertiary level in the UK, more than from neighbouring Romania or Poland.
However the rise in tuition fees has put British education out of reach for most, with only 14% of families able to afford to support a student abroad.
“Since the tuition fees changed in England up to £9,000 per year for bachelors studies, most of the families send their children to other more affordable destinations,” said Racheva.
Countries such as Germany, Austria and the Netherlands are becoming increasingly attractive due to their low to no tuition fees and easier internship programmes that don’t require a work permit, unlike in the UK.
More generally, children are seeking to go abroad to help them improve their employability.
Racheva said: “Most of the students would prefer more practical oriented education that offers internships and contacts with future employers. The Bulgarian education is theoretical and without connection with industry.”
Despite rapid economic development in Bulgaria in the last decade, growth has slowed since the global financial crisis began and unemployment stands at 12.5%.
The poll shows that 14% of respondents are ready to pack up and leave Bulgaria with a one-way ticket, most in search of better jobs. Meanwhile, over a third of parents were prepared to see their children leave Bulgaria for good.