BGN 235 MILLION HAVE BEEN APPROVED BY THE MONITORING COMMITTEE OF SCIENCE AND EDUCATION FOR SMART GROWTH OPERATIONAL PROGRAMME FOR OPERATIONS UNDER PRIORITY AXIS 2 "EDUCATION AND LIFELONG LEARNING"
On 29 June 2018, the ninth (extraordinary) meeting of the Monitoring Committee of the Science and Education for Smart Growth Operational Programme 2014-2020 took place.
Minister Krassimir Valchev congratulated the participants and stated that thanks to the operational programme, MES as a beneficiary, has succeeded in realizing a mix of policies in the field of education and science. According to him, Science and Education for Smart Growth Operational Programme is not only a source of financial resources but also an effective tool for long-term policy implementation. Minister Valchev also drew attention to the increased growth of national investment in education and science in recent years.
The head of the Managing Authority of Science and Education for Smart Growth Operational Programme Kiril Geratliev announced the two new operations proposed for approval with direct beneficiary MES "Support for Success" and "Education of Tomorrow". According to him, the projects planned for funding will have a strong impact on the education system over the next 3-4 years. Education of Tomorrow" will invest in the digitization of education from pre-school age to 12th grade, Geratliev explained. The main investments will be targeted at teachers who will be trained to create and use digital content in their practice. The "Support for Success" procedure will continue and build on the achievements of the "Your Hour" project, but with an emphasis on activities to reduce and prevent early school leaving, and to overcome learning difficulties. The members of the Monitoring Committee approved the methodologies and criteria for the selection for the two operations, totalling BGN 235 million.
The Committee provided a mandate for the MA of Science and Education for Smart Growth Operational Programme to negotiate with the EC to modify the programme. The main change is related to the transfer of funds from Priority Axis 1, operation "Establishing Regional Research Centres", amounting to EUR 51.1 million to Priority Axis 1 "Technological Development and Innovation" of OP "Innovation and Competitiveness". The proposed modification does not result in a change in the overall resource under Thematic Objective 1 of the Partnership Agreement and does not violate the thematic concentration. This allows that after the transfer the essence the core activities foreseen in Science and Education for Smart Growth Operational Programme for cooperation between business and science to be preserved. Defining future procedures will involve conducting consultations with the scientific community and planning meetings with the active involvement of businesses in the regions.
Under PA 1, Specific Objective 3 "Increasing the Participation of Bulgarian Scientific Organizations in International Cooperation", the proposed change includes the possibility of financing the national contribution under the approved projects for Horizon 2020 (teaming) - Phase 2. The objective is that such projects are funded through a direct grant procedure as specific beneficiaries.
With regard to the proposals for amendments to PA 1, it is also necessary to change the indicators set in the programme under this axis. It is also envisaged to change part of the indicators for PA 2 because of the need for updating identified in the process of evaluation of the programme, as a result of changes in the social economic environment and the conditions of the labour market in Bulgaria.