Fifth National History Competition

“Trips, Journeys and Migration: the Stories of Modern Nomad”

The topic of the 5th National History Competition for students from 8 to 12 grades: “Trips, journeys and migration: stories of the modern nomad” was announced by the Values Foundation in December 2006. The theme was found interesting because the aspiration for travelling and journeys is an essential man’s desire towards new worlds. The movement of individuals as well as of groups with the aim of earning ones living, but also movement as a way of life is a part of every nation’s history. Experts, working in different scientific fields connected with the main topic, prepared the traditional information materials – leaflet and magazine, which were distributed by the Bulgarian Ministry of Education and Science to 28 regional education inspectorates.

The Values Foundation realized a fruitful co-operation with the Department of Information and In-service training of Teachers – Sofia concerning the seminars for students and tutors. Such seminars were carried out in several Bulgarian towns with lecturers form the Department.

The deadline for submitting the research papers was 15 December 2007. The number of the entries was 86 and the participants were 147. As it could be seen from previous years, the total number of the working papers varies. The reasons for that could be directly associated with the 6-week Bulgarian teachers’ strike in autumn of 2007, which should be the most intensive research/ working time for tutors and students. The strike demands were not satisfied and the teachers (which represent more than 95% of the tutors) went back to schools demotivated. In addition it could be mentioned that the tutors’ work is not financially stimulated and frequently there is not even moral recognition from the school management. Finally, the demographic crisis of the early 90’s in Bulgaria resulted in the decreased total number of young people between 15 and 18.

According to the researched object the received papers could be divided into the following 17 subgroups:

The Jury under the chairmanship of Prof. Lyubomir Ognyanov (Sofia University) and members Dr. Rositza Stoyanova (Institute of History – Bulgarian Academy of Science), ass. Prof. Vesselin Yanchev (Sofia University), Dr. Michail Gruev (Sofia University), Vanya Elenkova (Sofia University), Petko Hristov (Ethnographic Institute and Museum – Bulgarian Academy of Science) selected and defined the 15 prize-winners. The background of the competition proves that the 2-phase selection (pre-selection and national defence), as it was in the previous editions, did not change considerably the final results. For that reason during the 5th round of the competition the national defence phase was eliminated, which also leaded to budget optimisation.

As positive conclusions from the last competition round could be drawn:

Because of financial difficulties the web site was not “refreshed” with the latest information concerning the competition activities.

The 5th Bulgarian National History Competition was held under the auspices of the Vice-Prime Minister and Minister of Education and Science Dr. Daniel Valchev. The official award ceremony was traditionally held in the National History Museum on 7 June 2008 where the Mr. Assen Petrov, Department Director to the Ministry of Education and Science handed over the prizes. Anton Fotev and Vladi Karastoynov from Madan (tutor Milka Terzieva) won the First Prize with entry entitled: “The city of migrations”.

The official monetary fund consists of one 1st, two 2nds, three 3rds, nine encouraging and six prizes for tutors. In order to raise the award fund many institutions and organizations were contacted and it was suggested that they set up an award on their behalf for papers dealing with the activity of the respective institution or administration. The Ministry of Education and Science, Bulgarian Teachers’ Syndicate, Military Publishing House, Department for Information and In-service training of Teachers – Sofia, Bulgarian History Teachers’ Association, Ethnographic Institute and Museum – Bulgarian Academy of Science, “Aerotravel”, Association for Minority Research “Studii Romani” issued such special awards. For the first year “Ednorog” publishing house provided an award for the school with highest number of participants, as well as over 50 books for students. Many other institutions and publishing houses – “Prosveta”, Sofia University, National Archive Agency, and Military publishing house donated book sets. All students and their tutors received personally or by mail certificate for participation.

 After the award ceremony the participants and their tutors were invited to a discussion organized in co-operation between the Values Foundation and the Freidrich Naumann Foundation for the Liberty – Sofia. The title of the event was “Migrations within the EU – challenges and perspectives” moderated by Dr. Asparuch Panov, (Co-ordinator for Bulgaria and Macedonia, Freidrich Naumann Foundation for the Liberty).