About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 4310-4321
Publication year: 2010
ISBN: 978-84-613-5538-9
ISSN: 2340-1079

Conference name: 4th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 8-10 March, 2010
Location: Valencia, Spain

THE BULGARIAN CTMS HIGHER EDUCATION REFORM PROJECT - A SYSTEMS VIEW

M. Bonney1, S. Ratchev1, R. Blackwell2

1University of Nottingham (UNITED KINGDOM)
2Higher Education Funding Council for England (UNITED KINGDOM)
The paper discusses challenges facing the Bulgarian Higher Education System (BHES) and the progress that was made with developing a competitive teaching and management system (CTMS), a vehicle for change created by the Bulgarian Ministry of Education and Science (MES). The paper covers this Higher Education Reform Project mainly over the period from 2001 to 2004, the terms of reference of which stated the overall strategy as 'to develop and facilitate the implementation of a new competitive system for the Improvement of Teaching and Learning and Management'. Other detailed strategies were proposed to guide the decision making by MES and CTMS so as to 'help the MES and HEIs in Bulgaria in their efforts' to achieve the objectives related to learning and teaching, institutional restructuring and institutional management. Such strategies, once agreed by the MES and HEIs could guide the award of grants by CTMS.

The discussion in the paper focusses on the levels of decision making and the actions that are required to achieve some proposed strategies. Five levels of decision making and their interactions were identified within the context of the Bulgarian Higher Education System.

A good start was made on the project and a competitive system for the distribution of funds was quickly introduced. The results suggested that transparent, competitive and responsive funding schemes could create a more proactive and innovative culture among academic institutions. However, not everything progressed smoothly and easily and some of the difficulties and conjectures about why they arose are discussed. The project approach is compared with similar projects in Central and Eastern Europe.

In the light of the difficulties, after the project had formally finished the authors decided to examine whether it would have been possible to have avoided some of the problems by means of a thorough systems analysis. Aspects of the soft systems methodology (SSM) were used for this post-hoc examination to examine why the project had developed in the way that it did. The strengths and weaknesses of using SSM for system design are assessed and whether the unexpected project outcome could have been avoided is discussed. Some conceptual insights were obtained by using the soft systems methodology and the decision level model proved to be very helpful. Some suggestions are made about future actions.
@InProceedings{BONNEY2010THE,
author = {Bonney, M. and Ratchev, S. and Blackwell, R.},
title = {THE BULGARIAN CTMS HIGHER EDUCATION REFORM PROJECT - A SYSTEMS VIEW},
series = {4th International Technology, Education and Development Conference},
booktitle = {INTED2010 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-613-5538-9},
issn = {2340-1079},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Valencia, Spain},
month = {8-10 March, 2010},
year = {2010},
pages = {4310-4321}}
TY - CONF
AU - M. Bonney AU - S. Ratchev AU - R. Blackwell
TI - THE BULGARIAN CTMS HIGHER EDUCATION REFORM PROJECT - A SYSTEMS VIEW
SN - 978-84-613-5538-9/2340-1079
PY - 2010
Y1 - 8-10 March, 2010
CI - Valencia, Spain
JO - 4th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
JA - INTED2010 Proceedings
SP - 4310
EP - 4321
ER -
M. Bonney, S. Ratchev, R. Blackwell (2010) THE BULGARIAN CTMS HIGHER EDUCATION REFORM PROJECT - A SYSTEMS VIEW, INTED2010 Proceedings, pp. 4310-4321.
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