- Published: November 13, 2014
From 4 to 7 November 2014 the 91st German Gymnasium (Grammar School) "Prof. K. Galabov" in Sofia carried out a course in Democracy and Law for the senior years conveying, inter alia, the fundamentals of law, the importance of law and courts for the state and individuals, the organisation of the state and opportunities to participate in democracy to three age groups of 90 students in total. The programme is based on the legal studies curriculum of the Ministry of Justice of the Federal State of North-Rhine Westphalia which was adapted to the Bulgarian circumstances. The lecturer, Ms Ulrike Schultz, was a senior academic staff member (Oberrätin) at the Chair of German and European Constitutional and Administrative Law as well as International Law of the state-maintained distance teaching University of Hagen. She plays a decisive role in the development of the legal studies curriculum in NRW.
The lessons are intended to raise young people's awareness of the rule of law and democracy, so that they will become committed citizens in civil society in the future. Hence, major programme items are human rights, the rights and obligations of the individual as a citizen, restrictions of the state's activities and the decision-making process in a democracy.
Democracy was not a given fact but a process which still had to be continued, even 25 years after the end of the Socialist state system, the director of the Galabov Gymnasium pointed out at the opening of the event, at which also representatives from the office of the Vice-President of the Republic of Bulgaria, the German Embassy in Sofia and the IRZ gave welcome addresses. That this course is necessary is also reflected in the current domestic situation: Bulgaria had four governments and two Parliamentary elections during the past two years. The last one took place only a month ago. At the same time, young people in Bulgaria do not show much interest in an active involvement in politics, and the election turnout has been constantly decreasing.
The project is carried out by the IRZ in cooperation with the Vice-President of the Republic of Bulgaria. The Galabov Gymnasium in Sofia is the third school which benefits from this course. In 2013, 150 students attended the course in Lovech, and 100 students in Blagoevgrad. The Bulgarian partners expressed their interest in continuing the series of classes. It is envisaged to include the democracy course in the regular curriculum in Bulgaria on a long-term basis.