Project “YOUth Ambassadors of Non-Formal Learning”
Organization: The Future Now Association
Interviewer: Rosalia Kasamska & Raya Tsvetkova
Interviewee: Lachezar Afrikanov, trainer, coach and consultant in the field of management of international educational, health and social projects
Date and location: 22.05.2020
Duration: 40 minutes
Note: Interview was conducted online
List of questions for the Interview:
- Is the law defining NFE in your country? If yes, please describe what the law says.
NFE is mostly defined as opposition to formal education. There is not any particular document – legislation or strategy – that deals specifically with non-formal education and especially what the difference between non-formal and informal learning is. The interviewee pointed to the Lifelong learning strategy and the Law for Community Centers – they partially cover the topic, but not homogeneously and with fully presentation of the topic.
- Please describe the existing strategies, action plans that define nonformal learning in your country?
The interviewee said that most such documents are not national but EU-created and not always adapted in Bulgarian law. He pointed again to the Life-long learning strategy as the closest document dealing with NFE.
- Have you been involved in the development of a strategy / action plan / law in excess of the NFE issues?
He has been a part of a committee that evaluates and monitors innovative schools in Bulgaria (a system, which identifies and supports innovation schools across the country). But this is again more related to formal educational system and partially covers NFE.
- Do you work on promoting NFE and how?
He has been a mentor for Junior Achievement Bulgaria – organisation working to educate and inspire young people to value free enterprise, business and economics to improve their quality of life. It motivates young people to be active and proactive and prepare them to know how and be able to realise their ideas in a competitive environment. The interviewee has been also contributing to the NGO “Ideas Factory”, which has a plethora of activities based around NFE.
- For your institution/CSO how young people recognize NFE?
Most of them are not familiar with the characteristics and value of NFE. The interviewee works on the popularisation of NFE among youth workers, trainers and less among young people due to the type of activities of his organisation, but it is not an easy task – youth generally relates education with the formal system – schools, universities, etc.
- What are you doing about NFE in term to make closeness with youth?
Interviewee shared that he tries to involve young people, mostly through events and challenges for social change. However, he mostly works with youth workers, trainers, and teachers instead of directly with young people.
- Have you involved young people in the process of bringing about things that are relevant to non-formal education?
Yes, but mainly with the support of other youth workers that the interviewee is training. He organised several events for popularisation of NFE aimed at trainers and teachers with the idea they to transfer knowledge and understanding of NFE to young people. The interviewee pointed that he strongly believes in the idea of multiplication and transfer of knowledge, as well as in collaborative efforts between different sectors – government, business, and NGOs.
- Should the Government get involved and make an even bigger contribution when it we are speaking about youth and policies about youth?
Regarding the government, the interviewee discussed how there is no broad understanding of what NFE is on a national level, and that is needed. He also pointed out that most NFE (outside of community centres) is actually privately initiated, which is why the government rarely takes the initiative, instead of leaving it in the hands of NGOs. In Plovdiv and Varna (Bulgarian cities) there have been bigger efforts, mostly related to youth, as it retains to youth centres and broader NFE youth initiatives and activities.