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EACEA National Policies Platform
Republic of North Macedonia

Republic of North Macedonia

7. Health and Well-Being

7.3 Sport, youth fitness and physical activity

Last update: 7 March 2024
On this page
  1. National strategy(ies)
  2. Promoting and supporting sport and physical activity among young people
  3. Physical education in schools
  4. Collaboration and partnerships

National strategy(ies)

In North Macedonia, there is no special strategy that only applies to the sport and physical activity of young people.

In the new National Youth Strategy (2023-2027) , there is no specific thematic area dedicated solely to sports, however, sports permeate through several thematic areas of the strategy. 

Regarding sport and hearts, within the thematic area 5.6 - Health, there are four  Strategic Goals: 

  • “Educated and informed youth on the topic of health”;

  • “Improved mental well-being of young people”

  • “Improved lifestyle and quality of life among young people”

  • “Healthy and aware youth with freedom of sexuality and access to services for sexual and reproductive health”

  • “Young people live and create a healthy environment”

Aimed at comprehensive cooperation among all institutions in the country that contribute to sports and promotion of “Sport for All”, necessary regulatory documents have been prepared for cooperation at the local level, with defined set of indicators for preparation of programs for inclusion and examination of needs through public debates, meetings of municipal councils and regional cooperation for capacity building.

In January 2024, in the 221 government session, the National Youth Strategy for Mental Health was adopted. 

The 2024-2026 strategy outlines the steps on how we can achieve the vision and how we will contribute to the improvement of the mental health of young people, where the well-being of young people will be an active driver of social development. 

The 2024-2026 strategy will be guided by the 2030 Agenda and the general principles of the Sustainable Development Goals.

For these reasons, the Regional Cooperation Council (RCC), in cooperation with National Youth Council of Macedonia, proposed drafting a National Strategy for youth mental health 2024-2026. The main goal of the Strategy stems from the need for development of an intersectoral system to support young people. The close cooperation of the three key ministries, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Health and Ministry of Education, is key to drafting the Strategy, as is the participation of the civil sector and the academic community. 

The National Youth Strategy for mental health is adopted for a period of three years,

that is, from the period of 2024-2026. The strategy also contains an Action Plan that provides measures and activities, executors, i.e. responsible institutions/organizations, dynamics and terms of realization. In that direction, every responsible institution/organization and competent authority, necessary is to predict and plan the activities and frame them in the annual budget planning through the annual programs.

Promoting and supporting sport and physical activity among young people

The Agency of Youth and Sports has the main role at the national level, for the promotion of sport and sports activities among young people. On a continuous level, the Agency implements projects and initiatives aimed at creating healthy and physically active youth.

For the ninth consecutive year supported by the Agency of Youth and Sport, North Macedonia observes the European Week of Sport, an annual event that emphasizes the significance of physical activity and sports participation. During this special week, various sports activities are organized, creating a vibrant platform that encourages individuals of all ages to embrace a healthy and active lifestyle. The European Week of Sports titled #BeActive contributes to the development of sport in terms of active involvement of citizens, individual and institutional improvement, and promotion of styles for taking care of a healthy life of every individual.

In order to attract more and more young people to the sport (professional or recreational), the state, through the Agency of Youth and Sports, opened a number of open-air fitness zones as well as gyms in several municipalities throughout the country, organized and sponsored various sporting events and athletics racing and the like.

From 2020, the European Youth Card is active again and implemented by the Agency of Youth and Sports. This card has the purpose to give discounts to youth in stores across Europe and also is promoting a healthy lifestyle among young people by giving them discounts to gyms, access to swimming pools and other sports facilities.

Physical education in schools

In primary schools, the time for physical and medical education is three-hour time-lag (progress in relation to the previous two hours). Each program and plan is based on the expressed needs and interests of the students. There is a possibility for establishment of sports clubs within the school itself.

Physical and health education is represented in secondary schools. In the secondary school there are also fitness clubs that students can use, including compulsory elective programs for music and fine arts. Sports and sports activities are defined in curricula with elective character. Sports and sports activities are aimed to allow students to express their skills and competences in the field of fitness, swimming, hiking, skiing, cycling, table tennis, sports day etc.

In the first-year secondary vocational education, Sports education and sports activities are mandatory elective subject aimed to satisfy the needs of the students for securing and applying the acquired psychomotor knowledge of basic education in the field of sports in the function of maintaining and improving health, physical and working abilities, to help students to recognize the values of sport and sports activities, their positive influence on the organism, the cultural and spiritual enrichment of the person; to create habits for regular sports, maintaining the physical, health and working skills that will be used for active rest in everyday life and his future occupation; to acquire a culture of cheerleading and positive development of psycho-social-communication relations before, during and after the sporting competition.

The purpose of sport and sports activities in the second year  is to acquire habits for regular sports. Volleyball is listed as a dominant discipline, to be in the function of an active holiday. The other disciplines are athletics, gymnastics, fitness, basketball, tennis, dancing, sports games, swimming and hiking activities. 

In the curricula of the sports gymnasium, physical activity is represented by 4 sports: football, basketball, handball and tennis. In the first year, it includes development of psychomotor skills, the theoretical basis of all sports and training of various sports (the goal of all training is to improve the physical abilities, acquire new meanings and skills from the various sports for the purpose of achieving high sports results.

In gymnasium education, sport and sports activities for the third and the fourth year are 3 hours per week and for the first and second 2 classes and 1 for project tasks.

In vocational schools, sports education and sports activities as mandatory elective subject are 2 hours per week and 72 hours per year

In the sports gymnasium, the first year includes development of psychomotor skills with 72 classes and theoretical basics of different sports with 28 classes. Practical training-include 650 classes per year. General and specific physical preparation includes 150 classes, development of technical-tactical skills in attack – 250 classes, development of technical-tactical assault in defense – 250 classes and 34 classes for psychological preparation.

Collaboration and partnerships

The main stakeholders supporting the collaboration and formation of partnerships between schools are line ministries of health and education and science, within their mandates to regulate health and educational sectors. Relevant entities in sport include: Agency of Youth and Sports, Faculty of Physical Education, Sport and Health, Institute of Sport, Sport Federations, Units of local self-government, Ministry of Environment and Physical Planning, Ministry of Labor and Social Policy, Bureau for Development of Education, Institute of Public Health, primary and secondary schools, Federation for School Sport and civil society organizations.

Financial support is secured through the Agency of Youth and Sport annual budget, through block-donations to state institutions and a competitive process of publishing open calls for proposals for CSO sector.