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EACEA National Policies Platform
Republic of North Macedonia

Republic of North Macedonia

6. Education and Training

6.6 Social inclusion through education and training

Last update: 26 December 2023
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  1. Educational support
  2. Social cohesion and equal opportunities

Educational support

The Constitution of the Republic of North Macedonia as the highest legal act in the state, in Art.44 stipulates that everyone has the right to education. Education is available for everyone, on equal terms. The state is striving to provide education for everyone equally, regardless of sex, race, color of skin, national and social background, political and religious belief, property and social status.

The legislation in the Republic of North Macedonia sets a good basis for improving social inclusion through education. Numerous processes have been started which are supposed to build strategies and establish mechanisms for using the educational system in this direction.

The new Law on Primary Education (Закон за основното образование) which was adopted in July 2019 foreseen children with disability to be enrolled in regular education. 

In July 2020, the Ministry of Education and Science adopted a Concept for inclusive education. The concept is a guideline for all stages of the implementation of inclusive education in the country. The Law on Primary Education stipulates that students with special needs should be included in mainstream education and that by the 2022-2023 school year, special schools will no longer enroll students. For that purpose, from November 2018 to July 2019, a team from the Bureau for Development of Education conducted special training for primary school teachers for better inclusion of children with disabilities in primary school.

The National Strategy on Alleviation of Poverty and Social Exclusion in the Republic of Macedonia 2010-2020 is a document which reflects the intention of the country for balancing the degree of inclusion and welfare in all social levels. One of the 14 areas included in the Strategy is education. In that manner, the Strategy stressed following strategic goal: provide overall scope of pupils in elementary education, provide overall scope of students in secondary education, raise literacy level of the population, raise educational level of the population to enable education for vulnerable groups and the education system to adapt to the needs of the labor market, to strengthen the market potentials for engaging working-age population at all levels. 

The following results should be achieved in order to accomplish this objective:

(1.1) All students of relevant age are enrolled in elementary school and finish elementary school;

(1.2) Curricula and textbooks are adjusted to the needs of the children with specific needs;

(1.3) The work of the teachers with children with specific needs

(2) All students enter secondary school immediately after finishing elementary school and finish secondary school;

(3) Reduced percent of illiterate population and increase real literacy by training students to read and write with comprehension;

(4) Increased percent of finished secondary school children who enter university and acquire a university degree;

(5) Provided conditions for relating secondary education and adult education to the labor market.

(6) Provided rights for all ethnic communities in an integrated educational system in order to support the development of a coherent society.

Following this national strategy (for the period 2010-2020), there is currently no publicly available information on whether a new national strategy for reducing poverty and social exclusion has been prepared.

Education Strategy for 2018-2025 and Action Plan were developed with financial and technical support of the European Union through a wide consultation and participatory process which was implemented by means of a large number of meetings, discussions, debates and conferences at different stages of the Strategy development – more precisely from identification of the challenges and priorities to formulation of the final text. Extensive support and contribution were provided by many experts, scholars and academics, public and political figures, representatives of public institutions, the civil sector and other stakeholders interested in development of human resources and education policies in the Republic of North Macedonia.

The inclusion policies of the Ministry – to cover pupils with special educational needs in the regular educational process – are based on:

• preparation of individual subject programmes;

• forming an inclusive team in secondary schools;

• equipping the expert services with pedagogists, psychologists and special educators;

• using assistive technological devices and building access ramps to the school buildings.

Тhe National Strategy on Roma Inclusion in the Republic of Macedonia (Стратегија за инклузија на Ромите во Република Македонија 2022-2030). The strategy should provide support for decision-making, including decisions related to each of the strategic sectors/areas for the integration of Roma, allocation of funds, and the creation of frameworks that will enable improvement in the situation of the Roma population in the following sectorial areas: poverty, anti-gypsyism, education, employment, housing, health, culture, and civil registration.

When it comes to inclusion of students with physical disabilities, the Action Plan of the Strategy envisages adapting the buildings of the Universities (faculties) for inclusion of students with physical disabilities.Responsible institutions for the implementation of this measure according to the Action Plan were the Ministry of Education and Science and Universities, and it was supposed to be realized by the end of 2020. According to the Report on realized activities from the Education Strategy 2018-2025 (for 2019 and 2020) 12 educational institutions (4 primary schools, 4 secondary and 4 faculties) across the country will adapt the buildings’ infrastructure for inclusion of students with physical disabilities. 

The Law on Secondary Education (Закон за средното образование) includes a number of provisions regarding education for children with special needs. Provisions include: the existence of special curricula, formation of inclusive teams (consisting of pedagogue or schools’ psychologist, teacher, parent or guardian of the student for developing individual education plans) and arranging, free of charge, everyday transport to school and back, as well as, for breaks and weekends (for students residing in dormitories). The age limit for enrollment in the first year of secondary education, for students with special needs, is extended to 25 years of age (for regular students it is 17).

The National Youth Strategy 2023-2027, contributes to reducing poverty in

young people, all forms of discrimination and promoting the social inclusion of young people. All intended goals and measures aim to provide adequate support for all vulnerable groups of young people and better recognition of their specific needs. Within thematic areas, everything translated and a large number of horizontal topics and challenges such as: gender equality,

improving the environment, dealing with crises and shocks (such as COVID-19), and digitalization. To define the goals and measures, policies and principles were taken into account which are framed in the European Youth Strategy 2019-2029 as well as the Sustainable Development Goals of

United Nations.

Under the strategic objective 2: Strengthened mechanisms to guarantee freedom of expression and combat

discrimination, polarization and extremism,

foreseen measures for fulfilling the objective are: 

  1. Increasing awareness of the inclusion of young people from the Roma population.

  2. Increasing awareness of inclusion and equality of young LGBTI persons and strengthening of the implementation of the existing mechanisms for the protection of their rights.

  3. Systematic addressing of political polarization and its impact on young people through education through an increased focus on the civic education curriculum for tolerance of different opinions and the right to political determination.

  4. Stimulating media programs with a focus on success stories based on inter-ethnic coexistence, successes of people from marginalized communities and examples of culture of coexistence.

  5.  Strengthening the capacities of the Commission for prevention and protection against discrimination for work with young and marginalized communities to improve preventive competences and capacities of the same.

  6. Improving the communication of youth umbrella organizations and the National Committee for preventing extremism and fighting terrorism.

  7. Strengthening the mechanisms for early recognition of radicalization and violent extremism and their full implementation.

As already mentioned above, the Roma population is one of the groups targeted with policies for social inclusion. Therefore there are a number of policies for social inclusion for Roma students through education and training included in official documents regarding Roma people.

The Roma population is particularly affected by poverty and social exclusion influenced by a range of factors, and beside unemployment, discrimination and other issues, one of the main factors is lack or law level of education. In order to increase the rate of Roma students at Universities, the Government introduced quotas for enrollment of Roma students in higher educational institutions. This practice functions for years as an affirmative measure for easier access of the Roma students in the institutions of university education. 

During the academic year of 2011, for the first time the subject Romani language and culture was introduced as an elective subject at the Faculty of Philology in Skopje.

In 2017, the Minister without Portfolio in charge of the implementation of the Strategy for improving the situation of the Roma in the Republic of North Macedonia, together with the Minister of Education and Science and the founder of the Department and professor of Romany at the Faculty of Philosophy in Zagreb, discussed the initiative for introducing the Bachelor Degree Roma language, and studies for Roma teachers as a new department of the Pedagogical and Philology faculty. The initiative was launched by the Minister without Portfolio and it was positively assessed by the Minister of Education and Science, but to date it has not received its implementation.

Social cohesion and equal opportunities

The new Law on Prevention and Protection Against Discrimination (Закон за спречување и заштита од дискриминација) includes education in every provision regarding grounds for discrimination.

The Administration for Development of Education of the Languages of the Communities in collaboration with the NGO National Roma Centrum from Kumanovo and other departments in the Ministry of Education and Science, in 2010 developed a Handbook for Protection and Prevention from Discrimination in the Educational System Republic of Macedonia (Прирачник за заштита и спречување на дискриминацијата во воспитно-образовниот систем во Република Македонија). In general, the overall objective of this manual is to achieve cooperation and coordination between all institutions and individuals involved in the educational system in order to provide equal conditions and opportunities for quality education for all children regardless of religious, ethnic or any other basis and to establish a monitoring system that will allow uninterrupted and quality education for all children, through the cooperation and involvement of all stakeholders.

In the new National Youth Strategy (2023-2027), several objectives are outlined that pertain to promoting social inclusion and equal opportunities in the education system:

  • Increased access to education for young people, especially those with fewer opportunities, respecting the provisions and rights derived from ratified international agreements;

  • Improvement of the accessibility of educational facilities for young individuals with disabilities, ensuring appropriately adapted educational materials for seamless participation in classes;

  • Promotion of inclusivity in educational institutions;

  • Fostering a culture of coexistence and tolerance by creating opportunities for young people with diverse cultural backgrounds to learn from and with each other;

  • Enhancement of the context of the text books in terms of respecting differences and promoting tolerance.