COMAC Medical believes that young people, regardless of their social status & ethno-religious affiliation, should have access to higher education, because knowledge enables them to change their future and follow their dreams.
Therefore, the aim of the "Road to the University"project is to support young people living in small remote settlements in Bulgaria, with limited opportunities for development, from families with low social status and different ethno-religious profile, to gain access to free university entrance exam courses in the subjects they can apply with to the desired higher education institutions and then develop in their dream professions.
The project is within the framework of COMAC's program for corporate social responsibility, through the Bulgarian Memory Foundation(BGMF)
Project Target Group
The project target group is young people in the transition between secondary & higher education from small, geographically remote & underdeveloped settlements in the Southwestern & Northeastern regions of Bulgaria, with a high risk of poverty, social exclusion & falling into the NEETs group. Every year the number of applicants increases: in 2010 they are 20; 2011: 70; 2012: 299; 2013: 458; 2014: 465; 2015: 500; 2016: 539; 2017: 482; 2018: 566; 2019: 484; 2020: 434. 4317 in total for 2010-2020.
Since 2010, COMAC in cooperation with BGMF has shown the young participants in the project that their lives & dreams are as important as anyone’s. The project implements COMAC’s CSR strategy for investing in the potential of young people to overcome socially significant problems: relatively low share of higher education graduates in the target regions, inequality & youth unemployment.76% of the participants commit to prestigious majors such as Medicine, Pharmacy, IT, Entrepreneurship & Business.
The project comprises the following 5 main activities:
1) Promotion of the opportunity for participation among high schools in small towns and villages: "St. Paisiy Hilendarski", Ablanitsa; "Hristo Botev",Valkosel; "Yane Sandanski",Gotse Delchev; "St.St. Cyril & Methodius",Satovcha;“St. St. Cyril & Methodius",Sarnitsa; "Yordan Yovkov",Ribnovo;"St. St. Cyril & Methodius",Yakoruda;"Petko R. Slaveykov",Yakoruda;"St. Kliment Ohridski",Slashten;"Dimitar Blagoev",Dospat;"Hristo Smirnenski",Kochan;"Nikola Vaptsarov",Belitsa;"St. St. Cyril & Methodius",Belitsa; "St.St.Cyril & Methodius", Breznitsa;"Nikola Vaptsarov", Hadzhidimovo; "Yordan Yovkov",Tervel;"St. St. Cyril and Methodius",Garmen.
2) Selection of participants by conducting a field survey of the needs for additional training;
3) Conducting candidate-student courses, from November to May each year, in: Bulgarian language and literature, Chemistry, Biology, Geography, Applied Informatics;
4) Evaluation of the effectiveness by receiving feedback for grades from the school-leaving examination and university entrance exams of the project participants;
5) Promotion of the project results, aimed at their multiplication in the future
The "Road to the University" project has evolved over the years as evidenced by the growing number of participants and, respectively - their high success in applying to higher education institutions. By 2020, 3298 out of 4317 young participants have been admitted to study in Bulgarian, European and international universities, thus increasing their chances for further personal, educational and career development in the Natural and Human Sciences.
The project is an example of successful synergy between business, non-governmental sector, local schools and community. It draws the attention of young people to the so-called STEM majors, expanding the worldview of students and increasing their skills to meet the challenges of the modern world.