Several international studies show that Macedonia lags behind other transition countries in education performance. Two major issues continue to impact education quality: education is not attuned to 21st century needs and increasing separation along ethnic lines.
USAID works in partnership with the Ministry of Education and Science to ensure that youth are equipped with the knowledge and skills that help foster economic growth and a stable democracy. Since 2002, USAID has implemented programs to address all levels of the education system – primary, secondary and university.
USAID works to ensure equal access to education for all children by promoting diversity and stimulating inclusiveness and cooperation in order to reduce tensions and enhance stability. Activities address the following:
Interethnic Integration in Education - raising awareness of the need for integration and helping create inclusive learning environments. USAID will promote understanding between ethnic groups and mitigate increasing school segregation through outreach and communication, capacity building of school management and teachers, establishing model schools that demonstrate bilingual and interethnic education, and refurbishing approximately 40 schools as an incentive to encourage communities to participate in reform efforts.
Roma Education - providing comprehensive education support for increasing school retention and academic achievement of Roma youth. Through its four Roma Education Centers in different communities, USAID assists preschool students to prepare for regular school, and delivers after-school tutoring for primary school students. USAID also works with parents to raise awareness about the importance of education, and provides training to teachers in intercultural education and education for social justice, school improvement and dealing with diversity. In 2009, the Government of Macedonia adopted and now fully funds and manages the secondary scholarship and mentoring component.
e-Accessible Education - providing assistive technologies for over 20 primary schools so their students with disabilities can develop cognitive and motor skills through the use of specially adapted IT peripherals or software, and have better access to education opportunities. USAID increases teacher abilities to work with new technologies and promotes the benefits of assistive technology and educational software in improving the learning of students with disabilities. The aim is to create an environment where children with disabilities can gain a better education.
Youth and Workforce Development
The Youth Employability Skills (YES) Network works with secondary schools, the Employment Service Agency and youth-serving NGOs to enable them to provide youth aged 15 to 27 with soft skills training, work-based learning experiences and career coaching, and thus improve the quality of the workforce supply on the local labor market. The project also builds public-private dialogue through municipal Economic and Social Councils to better match the skills required in the labor market with those developed in the education system. The YES Network is creating Career Centers in secondary schools and revitalizing the Job Clubs of the Employment Service Agency in 10 municipalities.
A new project will strengthen the Teacher Career and Professional Development system in Macedonia by creating and institutionalizing structures and processes that guide and inform that system. Another will strengthen literacy and numeracy skills and assessment for early grades in collaboration with the Bureau for Development of Education, the State Examination Center, and other relevant education institutions.
While USAID’s current education activities in Macedonia focus on workforce development and inclusiveness, we have had significant impact in many aspects of education since we began operating in the country in 1993, including the following:
- School Integration Teams will have been formed in more than 240 schools by the end of 2013
- Increased Government of Macedonia and donor participation and improved coordination in Integrated Education
- Introduced elective courses on work-readiness skills and work-based learning in selected vocational schools
- Established career centers in secondary schools and re-established Job Clubs in Employment Service Agency offices
- Improved performance and education opportunities for more than 1,500 Roma students per year
- Introduced assistive technology in primary schools to increase access and opportunities for children with disabilities
- Supported the founding of the South East European University, the first multilingual university in Macedonia
- Trained over 10,000 teachers in topics including interactive teaching; improved IT, math, science; and assessment methods
- Renovated more than 140 primary schools in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Defense
- Instituted Performance Indicators for both integral and self-evaluations of schools in the national system
- Developed student assessment standards and Code of Ethics
- Strengthened the school director management system and school boards
Last updated: January 23, 2014