Bulgarian Universities Might Close for the Winter

Students took to the streets of Sofia, Bulgaria, on Monday to protest cuts to university budgets that could force institutions to close over the winter, the news Web site BalkanInsight reports. A vice rector of the National Academy of Art was quoted saying that “we can’t afford to pay for central heating and electricity during winter months,” while a vice rector at the University of Sofia, the nation’s leading institution, said that his university was also facing the possibility that it would not be able to pay for heating during the winter. Bulgaria’s universities, already among the most underfinanced in Europe, are reeling from the effects of the government’s efforts to rein in public spending and slash the country’s budget deficit. According to Balkan Insight, the University of Sofia’s budget has been cut by nearly $10-million, to $23-million. The Sofia Echo reports that Bulgaria’s prime minister promised last week “that heating in universities and colleges would not be stopped despite the financial crisis and problems faced by some educational institutions in paying heating bills,” but institutions insist that they will be forced to halt classes because of the situation.

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