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A Bulgarian based public-private educational partnership, under the direction of a Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) student, reached a major milestone last month with the graduation of its first class. Thirty-two high school students and young professionals gained qualification from Pathways in information technology, demonstrating competence in software systems including HTML, MS Office, CCNA (Cisco Certified Network Associate) and Adobe Suite.
“Pathways presents a chance for growth and development of my own skills,” said Mihaela Kocheva, a senior at the B. Brecht Language High School in Pazardzhik who received a certificate at the February 15th graduation ceremony. “Success doesn’t only require talent, but also hard work and a wide array of resources, which Pathways provides.”
Pathway’s mission is to increase the competitiveness of Bulgaria’s youth by building skills in computer science, the English language and entrepreneurship. It is led by founder and CEO Angel Kelchev MPA 2011 with support provided by Alan Trager, senior fellow at the Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business and Government and chair of the Pathways advisory board.
Several dignitaries attended Pathways’ first graduation ceremony, including James Warlick, the United States ambassador to Bulgaria, who presented students with their graduation certificates.
“I am very proud that the US Agency for International Development and the US Government is being able to provide the assistance necessary for you to reach this day,” Warwick said.
Nikoleta Kelcheva, director of marketing and business development at Pathways, commented that, “Our first class is a significant source of pride for us all. Their successes are our successes.”
Pathways’ aspirations to serve as a model of education delivery in Bulgaria were recently applauded by Simeon Djankov, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance of the Republic of Bulgaria, during his visit to HKS on February 28th. Djankov expressed his commitment to education and his appreciation for those who are helping support the organization’s mission.
In addition to the support provided by Trager and the HKS Public-Private Partnership Study Group, Kelchev notes that several Harvard Kennedy School students have also made important contributions to Pathways, including Ecaterina Canter MC/MPA 2011, Adam Heal MPA 2012 and David Porter MPP 2012, who each provided consultancy services, and Mariya Krasteva, a joint degree MPA/MBA student with MIT Sloan, who is in charge of developing the organization’s entrepreneurship and career development coursework.