Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski”, the oldest higher education institution in Bulgaria, marked its 135th anniversary this year with celebrations on Sunday and Monday, the press centre of the university said.
“The academic community will always be the pillar of social development and progress. On this day, faculty, students and staff demonstrate the authority of an institution and the dignity of a community. Sofia University has earned this right. Its academic community has the privilege to declare publicly that education is one of the most important priorities of today’s Bulgaria, and we expect clear signs that its voice is heard and understood, and fair expectations are met,” the Sofia University said in a release.
The academic year started on October 2 with a festive procession of students and lecturers, which passed through some of the most iconic places in the capital to reach the St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral.
The leadership of Sofia University laid flowers and wreaths at the monuments of the patron saint of the University, Saint Clement of Ohrid, to the donors Evlogi and Hristo Georgiev, and to the Monument to the Unknown Soldier.
According to regulations, there should be an annual increase of 20% in higher education funding, in general, and that should be the case for every year. It is written down and we should not have to ask for it, the rector of Sofia University, Prof. Anastas Gerdzhikov, told journalists after the opening ceremony of the academic year.
We want to resume the reform we had been implementing for more than ten years, before it was brought to a halt, said Prof. Gerdzhikov. He explained this with a series of governments that tried to compensate for the lag in teachers’ salaries, but they did it in the wrong way and therefore we need to return to a fair distribution, which means a new financial model, Gerdzhikov said.
The Rector of Sofia university said he has sent a letter to Prime Minister Nikolay Denkov. It contains several demands. “We don’t want money, we want a fair distribution of the subsidy, we want less red tape for foreign students. There are many other things that the government could do without money, and I don’t see why it doesn’t do them, not this government, every government for the last 20 years,” Gerdzhikov said.
I deeply believe that in the next five years Sofia University will enter the group of the first 500 universities in at least one of the three major international rankings, he added.
Founded in 1888, today Sofia University is the largest and most prestigious research university in the country, which comprises 16 faculties and three departments, museums, the second largest library after the National Library, hundreds of laboratories, centres and units.