Bulgaria joined the EU on January 1st, 2007 and harmonized its legislation with EC directives implementing Water Framework Directive (WFD) in respect to the main objectives of environment protection, ensuring drinking water supply and other uses, applying environmental standards and regulations. In order to characterize the drinking water sector, the following important issues are taken into consideration:
River Basin Management Plans that assure key links between the drinking water and other branches of the sector, including measures for good quality of surface and ground water are developed. In relation to the drinking water sector, the emphasis is given on the construction of wastewater collection and wastewater treatment plants following the Bulgarian and EU legislation. This drinking water strategy is consistent with the existing River Basin Management Plans.
Bulgarian National Water Strategy and Action Plan for Water Sector Management and Development, which were approved by the Parliament in November, 2012 are outlined. They indicate the overall vision of the water sector, including water resources management, hydropower, flood protection, irrigation, and water supply and sanitation. This defines a more active role of the public authorities in developing and managing the sector.
Water Supply and Sanitation (WSS) Sector, covered by 28 regional utilities or water supply and sanitation companies (WSSC) mainly state-owned, are described (Figs. 3 and 4).
EU and national legislation regulatory issues, which describe European and national legislation peculiarities in respect to drinking water, regulations in the water supply and sanitation sector, the public acceptance as a key to the WSS strategy implementation, future trends and goals, and action plans for their implementation, are discussed.
Figure 3. Water supply in Bulgaria by district
Figure 4. Key WSS sector stakeholders in Bulgaria ("Strategy for Development and Management of the Water Supply and Sanitation Sector in the Republic of Bulgaria 2014 – 2023", Ministry of Regional Development)
Special attention is given to the PureH2O VET target groups. The vision for the WSS sector development through education at EU/national level is revealed. The following groups are defined and investigated in respect to the VET needs in the PureH2O sector: VET teachers, trainers, learning facilitators, guidance professionals, school/institution managers and political decision makers. Through preliminary scoping, a competence-based system for sectoral qualification is built. It is based on ISCO system and devoted for the key professionals in the areas: Microbiology, Chemistry, Civil Engineering, Environmental Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Town and Traffic Planning, Education / Vocational Training.
A competence package development is laid down representing a competence map for each PureH2O target VET professional in the water supply sector. Specific needs’ analysis for VET requirements in the water sector in Bulgaria is performed and innovative solutions for education of VET targets based on EQF/NQF systems are proposed. For this purpose Bulgarian national qualification framework for lifelong learning (BQF) is discussed: development and introduction of BQF, BQF structure and prospects for implementation. In this respect Bulgarian education and training system and VET structure are commented. On this basis comprehensive information about the number and types of Bulgarian training institutions, programmes and competencies definition is prepared in regards to the PureH2O target professionals.
In conclusion, the need analysis for VET in drinking water sector in Bulgaria outlines the real picture of existing necessities for development of updated knowledge, skills and competence of VET teachers/trainers and other learning facilitators in drinking water supply sector. It is grounded on the basis of the obtained research data in Bulgaria. Therefore, the PureH2O training programme should be organized on the basis of the elements introduced by BQF system (knowledge, skills and wider competencies) and having as a reference the ISCO standards in order to achieve the necessary transparency of the qualifications and to answer the needs of the EU labour market.
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which may be made of the information contained therein.