Third National History Competition

“Leisure Time in the Mirror of History”

The Values Foundation announced the 3rd Round of the Bulgarian History Competition in December 2002. According to the organisers and to the jury the topic chosen “Leisure time in the mirror of history” provided many possible ways for examining the leisure time. The main aim of the last competition’s topic was to explore the leisure time in its dynamics: economical, political and social changes that are reflected on everyday lives and respectively on free time. The information materials gave many aspects in finding key points for describing the free time in the past. For example in the magazine there were many illustrations and articles on sports and tourism, dancing, carnivals, urban leisure time, free time during the period of political changes etc. The title gave opportunities for working with variety of sources: paper sources, oral history sources, images, etc.

Participants / Contributions:
239 students took part in the 3rd round of the Bulgarian History Competition and handed 139 contributions. According to the regional distribution (Bulgaria has 28 administrative regions) the largest number of entries (58%) came from 5 regions: Gabrovo, Pazardjik, Silistra, Dobrich and Sofia, 42% from 17 regions, 6 regions do not have any contributions. More than 50% of the research works are done with tutor.

up to 14


Topics / Tendencies:
We have made an additional topic classification, which divides the contributions into 13 main topics as follows:

Main Topic Areas
Number of
Toys and games
Festivities/Political Changes
Amateur art activities/Community centres (established in XIX century during the Bulgarian renaissance)
Recreation and amusement places
Ethnical groups
Specific towns and villages


The Award Ceremony:

The 3rd edition of the Bulgarian History Competition was finalised on 29 May with an official ceremony at the National History Museum in Sofia. The President of the Bulgarian Parliament, Prof. Ognyan Gerdjikov and Mrs. Antonina Stoyanova, wife of the former Bulgarian President Petar Stoyanov and President of the Values Foundation handed over the prizes to the 15 award winners. There were the following monetary awards: one 1st prize, two 2nd, three 3rd and nine encouraging prizes. All winners within the frameworks of the official prize fund were invited with their tutors to the prestigious ceremony as well as the students awarded with special prizes. They were donated by Ministry of Education and Science, Ministry of Culture, Bulgarian Artists' Union, Bulgarian Teachers' Union, Bulgarian Olympic Committee, Folklore Institute, National Polytechnic Museum, Archives State Agency, Astra Zeneca-Bulgaria, Lions Clubs-Bulgaria. The Ministry of Education and Science handed a special diploma to the Aprilov High School in Gabrovo for the most successfully presented participants in the competition. Prizes from “Anubis” Publishing house received five schools for the largest number of participants and about hundred other students, tutors and schools were awarded with books from the publishing companies “Letera”, “Prosveta”, “Trud” and from the Faculty of History to the University of Sofia.

The First Prize was won by Velicha Vrancheva from Sofia for her work about the creation of a mineral water resort Ludjene and its influence on everyday life during the 30's of the XX century. Irena Vassileva from Gabrovo with contribution examining the Gabrovo Carnival and a group entry from Stara Zagora (Valya Ivanova and Borislav Valchev) about the changes in leisure time in a small Bulgarian town between the World Wars, won the two Second Prizes.

After the ceremony the awarded students with six prize-winning tutors went in Bankya, near Sofia, for a two-day seminar on the topic “Young people within the Uniting Europe: Challenges and Hopes”, which was co-organized by Friedrich Naumann Foundation-Bulgaria. Mr. Asparuch Panov, Representative of Friedrich Naumann Foundation in Bulgaria, Romanian and Southern Caucasus was a moderator of the event. The lecturers were: the Deputy Minister of Education and Science, Mr. Yulian Nakov; Prof. Bogdan Bogdanov, Chairmen of the Board of New Bulgarian University; Mrs. Gabrielle Woidelko, Executive Director of EUSTORY and Dr. Rolf Steltemeier, associated professor in Heidelberg University. During the first day lecturers and participants were mainly involved in discussion panels debating over the educational systems in Bulgaria and Germany: advantages, disadvantages, reforms.

The second day was organized as a workshop with three working groups divided by topics:

a) Realization of young Bulgarians in Bulgaria,
b) Realization of young Bulgarians abroad, and
c) Pluses and minuses of Bulgarian educational system: What should be changed?

All groups presented their results at the end of the seminar.



Nevertheless we consider that the quality of the research works is improving, we faced some problems in the 3rd edition of the competition. They could be grouped as follows:

First, the girls' predominance (201) in the 3rd round of the competition compared to the number of boys (38) is something that should be mentioned as a problem, even though we find the topic attractive for both sexes and is not preferable by girls or boys only.

The tutors taking part in the competition are stimulated neither on school level (financial bonuses or just moral support) nor on institutional level – Ministry of Education and Science, in their professional development (qualification degrees).

In spite of all methodical indications that were thoroughly explained in the information materials (magazine and brochure), still there were contributions with weak points because of unclear understanding of the methodical of the research work. In result this leaded in some cases to contests of the jury’s valuations.

The interest of mass media was focused only during the prominent award ceremony for the presence of the President of the Parliament. As other competition organizers mentioned in their reports: “Educational issues are usually not a top topic for media reporting”.

Even though we have established contacts with Bulgarian and European business companies, non-governmental organizations and other institutions, we had more difficulties in finding sponsors compared to the previous two rounds. Also we could not find sponsorship for the awarded papers publication which we consider as an important step for the popularization of the competition.

We should mention some important highlights for the last round of the competition. Part of the participants and tutors are participating for the second or third time, which is a sign for the widening popularity of the Bulgarian history competition.

We have already established a “strong” network of instructors/tutors as a result of implemented seminars and participation in Summer Academies of EUSTORY.

During 2003/2004 round of the competition we have established good cooperation with the Ministry of Education and Science.