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Varna to require proof of residence for kindergarten enrollment

Date: 26.11.2008

Starting the beginning of 2009, only children whose parents could prove permanent residence in Varna would be allowed to enroll their child in child care facilities in the city, according to a new regulation proposed by Varna mayor Kiril Yordanov. Another enrollment condition would be proof from the National Revenue Agency (NRA) that the parents had labour contracts with companies based in Varna municipality.

The new regulations regarding the enrolment of children in local kindergartens were thought to be discriminatory, Dnevnik daily reported.

“We won't throw anybody out, but new enrollment criteria and new order would be implemented at the beginning of 2009,” Yordanov has said as quoted by Dnevnik. He has said that the decision was only fair and would give advantage to people permanently tied to the city.

At the end of October, Varna was voted the best city to live in, according to a survey conducted by broadcaster Darik Radio and 24 Chassa daily. Based on 44 criteria, journalists from both media rated 40 bigger cities and towns, taking into consideration living conditions and expectation of modern Bulgarians.

As previously reported by The Sofia Echo, at the news conference organised to announce the winner city, Yordanov expressed concerns that the Black Sea capital of Bulgaria was becoming overpopulated. There was no official statistics of how many people lived there, so the administration could do city planning in advance, he said.

Upon the requirement ofto show local employment from NRA registers, the latter reacted that as of now, there was no a specific form to be filled out and to be used as an official document.

The proposed regulation have not yet been voted by the city council.

Similar plans have been mooted in Sofia, whose population is believed to be well over two million people, but where scarcely any new child care facilities have been built over the past two decades.

In February 2008, the city hall launched an online registration for the municipality-run kindergartens in the city. The website was not available soon after launch because of the big number of users attempting to register. The website came on-line later in the day and the city hall decided not to annul the on-line registrations, despite concerns that users were not on a level playing field. A total 13 471 children were registered through the website in the first week, but kindergartens in Sofia could only accept about 7000.

In the wake of the fiasco, mayor Boiko Borissov said he was in favour of introducing Sofia registration to help deal with the problem, but it has been seen as a return to the communist-era practice of limiting the freedom of movement and has been widely opposed.

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