5.7 “Learning to participate” through formal, non-formal and informal learning
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In the Republic of North Macedonia there is no specific national strategy that applies on social and civic competences and their development.
The subject of Civic Education in the Macedonian Education System has been taught since 2002. The new Civic Education Curricula in the first year of vocational secondary education has begun to be implemented in September 2020, while in the IV year secondary vocational education, the old programs are still applied. The new concept of Civic Education implies systematically preparing young people for their active role in society and acquiring modern civic competences in line with the recommendations of the European Commission.
Civic Education is a separate subject that is teaching in I year at the vocational high schools (new program) with 2 classes per week and 72 classes in total throughout the year; as well as in 4th year vocational high schools (old programs) with 2 classes a week and 66 classes in total throughout the year.
The main learning objectives according the Curricula for I year vocational high school (Граѓанско образование за I година, сите струки) are: to enable the student to act as a responsible citizen and to participate fully in civil and social life; develop student interest in social and political developments; the student to respect human rights; the student to be able to critically understand and use traditional and new forms of media; to identify European common values and so on.
There are 2 different Curricula’s for vocational high schools, one for economic-legal and commercial profession (Граѓанско образование за економско-правна и трговска струка) and one for all other professions except economic-legal and commercial profession (Граѓанско образование за сите струки освен за економско правна и трговска струка средно стручно образование). The Curricula for Civic Education in economic-legal and commercial profession emphasize following learning outcomes: students to gain knowledge in the field of civil culture and to form and develop personal attitude toward participation in civic life and public policy, to learn important characteristics of democracy and democratic values, to learn about election processes, human rights and freedoms, the role of the citizen in democratic society, conflict management, as well as to train for critical thinking, assessment of information, capture and defense of attitudes, communication, peaceful resolution of conflicts and reaching an agreement. The aim of the Curricula for other vocational high schools is to enable students to understand the development of basic structures, phenomena and processes in society; to behave and act as positive people and citizens with social responsibilities and rights; to apply their professional and professional qualifications in social life and interpersonal relationships through critical, creative, cooperative behavior and tolerance.
Material related to the civic competence is often covered within some other subjects in the Elementary schools, such as:
- Society. The topics covered by the subject Society are the basis for study of civic education, and include content related to the rights of children, local community, social groups and roles, etc.;
- Ethics. In the subject Ethics most goals and contents are in line with the civics competencies that students need to develop;
- Elective subjects: Introduction to Religions, Classical Culture of European civilization and the Ethics of religions, have goals and contents that are in the spirit of civic education, relate to getting to know others, respecting diversity, respect and cooperation with others, gaining tolerance skills and non-discrimination, dialogue, acceptance and respect for human behavior, development of personality and human values;
- Life Skills Programme. In the Life Skills Education program, almost all program topics contain goals and content that should encourage the development of civic competencies and other subjects.
https://www.bro.gov.mk/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/%D0%9A%D0%BE%D0%BD%D1%86%D0%B5%D0%BF%D1%82-%D0%B7%D0%B0-%D0%93%D1%80%D0%B0%D1%93%D0%B0%D0%BD%D1%81%D0%BA%D0%BE-%D0%BE%D0%B1%D1%80%D0%B0%D0%B7%D0%BE%D0%B2%D0%B0%D0%BD%D0%B8%D0%B5-MK.pdf (Accessed February 24, 2022)
Participative structures within formal education settings are not practiced in the Republic of North Macedonia, and there are no standards of High school student organizing adopted by law. Currently there are initiatives coming from CSO Youth Educational Forum who already prepared draft version of new Law on Secondary Education (Предлог Закон за изменување и дополнување на Законот за средно образование) and Rulebook on student organizing and participation (Правилник за ученичко организирање и учество). In draft Law different forms of student participation are foreseen. Even though the Law on Secondary Education (Закон за средното образование) has been modified in September 2020, all adopted amendments were related only to the education in time of state of emergency.
High school organizing has so far been established only in school statutes. Although in practice there are high school clubs and unions in many schools, very few of them have a significant role.
Programs aimed at training school staff and pupils to enhance their skills to participate in decision-making structures, are most of the time on projects based, implemented by CSO’s.
In 2020 the National Youth Council of Macedonia develops the Youth Strategy of the City of Skopje for the period 2021-2025. One of the goals of the Strategy is: “Encouraging young people to actively participate in society through affirmation and support of youth activities, youth work and non-formal education in the area of the city of Skopje.”
Within the Macedonian Government, there is Unit for Cooperation with NGOs of the General Secretariat of the Government (Одделение за соработка со невладините организации во Генерален секретаријат). The Unit was established as a result of the efforts of the Government of the Republic of North Macedonia to institutionalize cooperation, promotion, support and enhance partnership relations with the civil sector in general, and thus, with youth organizations as well. Partnerships between formal education providers, youth organizations and youth work providers exist, however it is not standardized or promoted by the public authorities, and most of the initiatives are coming from the CSO’s.
https://skopje.gov.mk/media/6163/javen-povik-za-izrabotka-na-strategija-za-mladi-2021-2025.pdf (Accessed December 11, 2020)
The Law on Youth Participation and Youth Policies (Закон за младинско учество и младински политики) adopted in January 2020, features definitions of Youth work and Youth workers: "youth work" is an organized and systematic process of education and support for authentic youth development in order to achieve the whole personal, social and social potential of the young people and their active involvement in the community and "youth workers" are qualified persons who have competencies for work with young people who carry out activities that support you as a personal and social development through informal and informative learning.”
In the Standard of Profession (Стандард на занимање) approved by the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy (Министерство за труд и социјална политика) in 2018, the youth work is formally recognized as separate profession. According the standard, the youth worker plans, organizes, implements, monitors and evaluates activities, prepares instruments and researches; designs programs and youth projects according to their needs; takes care of the quality of youth work and contributes to the development of effective, efficient and ethical practice; trains; teaches; mentors and advises young people in the direction of helping personal and social development and their active participation in the community; informs young people; lobbies and advocates for change which facilitate and assist the personal and social development of young people and enable their active participation in the community, organizes youth exchanges, festivals, campaigns, events, youth education camps within the youth organization, youth cultural centers, youth clubs, non-governmental organizations, etc.
The youth workers’ curriculum is certified by the Adult Education Center.
According to the Law on Teachers in Primary and Secondary Schools (Закон за наставници во основните и средните училишта), Article 21, teachers are required to devote continuous professional development to at least 60 hours over three academic years, and every teacher, within three years, spends 10 hours training on priority programs set by the Minister for which funds are provided in the budget of the Bureau for Development of Education.
National Agency for European Educational Programmes and Mobility is organizing different events, like seminars and trainings where target group are educators.
Regarding the training for civic education, in November 2018, the Ministry of Education and Science, the Bureau for Development of Education and the Macedonian Center for Civic Education started to provide teacher training on civic education. The four-day training cycle covered all teachers teaching civic education from all primary schools throughout North Macedonia. The trainings are part of the reforms that offer a new concept of civic education and are aimed at enhancing teachers' skills for the implementation of the new eighth grade civics curriculum. Through the training, teachers are also introduced to a new approach to civic education teaching and learning which involves actively engaging students and implementing student initiatives within the subject.