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Budget 2023: Build 100 new gyms, renovate 15-20 dorms, single-shift mode in more schools

The financing of three new national programmes in the field of education in the budget for 2023 was supported last night by the National Assembly's Committee on Budget Finance on the proposal of the former Minister of Education and current chairman of the Education Committee in the National Assembly Krasimir Valchev and MPs from GERB-CDF and PP-DB.

The first is for the construction, extension, extension and reconstruction of nurseries, kindergartens and schools. 240 million leva are envisaged for it.

The second will provide for the construction and major renovation of sports grounds and gymnasiums in schools, also for 240 million leva.

BGN 100 million is earmarked for the renovation, repair and furnishing of student hostels.

"I expect the proposal to receive support in the plenary by the end of the week, after which the Ministry of Education and Science will develop the programmes and announce procedures for applications from municipalities, schools and state universities," Valchev said, explaining that the programme for gymnasiums and sports grounds is in a significantly larger amount than previously allocated.

"Its budget will tentatively allow the renovation of over 1,500 sports grounds, the construction of at least 100 new gyms and the overhaul of as many more," he estimated, reminding that over 300 schools lack gyms, making it impossible to hold physical education and sports classes on cold school days.

The construction and upgrading of schools is necessary in order to move to a one-shift regime.

"Studies have shown that starting classes an hour later significantly increases students' motivation to learn and educational performance, which cannot happen with a two-shift regime," explains Valchev. - If you get on public transport in Sofia before 7:00 in the morning, you will see mostly students. With sleep-deprived and bored faces. Sleep deprivation lowers learning abilities and drives students away from school."

New school buildings and additional classrooms are needed not only in Metropolitan, but in 65 other communities.

The move to a single-shift regime will also allow for more extra activities in schools, adds Krasimir Valchev.

Regarding the dormitories programme, he predicts that with the additional 100 million leva it will be possible to make complete renovations and refurbish 15 to 20 student dormitories.

"We hope that, as in 2020, the National Representation of Student Councils will propose to the Ministry of Education a list of student hostels for renovation where this is most urgent," he points out.

"The programmes address the facilities issues in the education system that require the most resources to resolve. They will not completely solve the problems of double shifts, the shortage of gyms, places in kindergartens and nurseries and poor living conditions in student hostels, but they will make a significant step towards overcoming them and the coming years will not be time wasted," Valchev concludes.