Ivan Kolev

Quick facts

Part of the philosophy curriculum
14-16 years old
About 60.000 (in 9th grade)
36 hours per year
Participation in debates and analysis of moral dilemmas

In school education in Bulgaria, the subject Ethics is not taught as a separate subject, but as part of several disciplines. In the 9th grade philosophy course, 50% of the classes are devoted to ethics.

Topics around civic virtues are studied in Civic Education, a compulsory subject for all students in the 11th and 12th grades. In addition, there is a separate scholarly profile in the 11th and 12th grade in which philosophy is studied for 5 hours per week. Within this profiled education, there is a Philosophy and values module for 62 hours in 12th grade.

Many topics of ethics are studied in the classes of Religion – an elective subject from 1st to 12th grade with 1 hour per week in three variants: Religion (non-confessional education), Religion (Christianity), Religion (Islam). The first program has a subject Religious Ethics, which is studied for 36 hours in 10th grade.

In her article Studying Philosophy in Bulgarian Secondary Schools, Nikoleta Nikolova describes the following key parts of the 9th grade ethics curriculum: “moral theories of hedonism, Epicureanism, Stoicism, utilitarian ethics and Kant’s deontology. In addition, students must learn the ability to distinguish opinion from justified statement and to examine answers to philosophical questions, approaching with critical thinking. Arguments of free will, human dignity and justice are invariably linked to these topics.” (Forum Philosophie International 70, yearbook of the Association Internationale des Professeurs de Philosophie (AIPPh), Lit Verlag 2021, pp. 27-31)