Northern Macedonia Education

Northern Macedonia Education


Until 1991, when the area belonged to Yugoslavia, the education system was mainly focused on science subjects and in preparation for the labor market. After the country’s independence, education was substantially reformed.

Macedonia Schooling

Today, the education system includes preschool (up to six years of age), primary school (grades 1-9), upper secondary education (three to four years) or vocational education (two to four years) and higher education. Grades 1–9 are compulsory. After primary school, young people can choose general upper secondary education, vocational education or artistic education.

13 percent of pupils in primary and secondary school attend private schools. Northern Macedonia has joined the Bologna principles. This means that higher education is divided into three levels: basic education (three years), master’s program (one to two years) and postgraduate education (three to four years). In 2015, 65,000 students attended higher education. 55 percent of them were women and 45 percent were men.

In the last months of 1999 and the first of 2000, the Albanian parties demanded greater support for the refugees and the areas predominantly inhabited by Albanian descendants. The situation was nearing a decline in the government. Relations between the two ethnic groups continued to deteriorate, and in March 2001 Macedonian-Albanian partisans initiated actions against the Macedonian state from the border with Kosova.

In March 2001, an armed uprising broke out demanding greater rights for the Albanian minority. The uprising sent 100,000 on the run and caused the Albanian National Liberation Army to occupy several areas of the country. The violence was only halted in August after foreign intervention. Abroad, the rebels demanded that the Albanian minority’s rights be recognized.

Following delays and several ceasefire violations, in November Parliament passed a series of amendments to the Constitution giving greater rights to Albanians. The Constitution no longer talks about the “Albanian minority” but about the Albanians “living within the territory of Macedonia”. Albanian is now official language – next to Macedonian – and public authorities – especially the police – must create positions for Albanians.

A Human Rights Watch report documented violations of human rights by both parties, and although the peace treaty concluded an amnesty and immunity agreement, the organization recommended that those responsible for the worst violations be prosecuted by the authorities.

At the beginning of 2002, the international community decided to allocate DKK 500 million. Euro for reconstruction and economic reform in the country. It was twice the amount originally discussed, and was a recognition of the stability already achieved despite the 6-month armed confrontation.

On September 15, 2002, international observers participated in a monitoring mission in connection with the IPB. the first parliamentary election after the uprising in the northwest the year before. The Social Democracy under the leadership of Branko Crvenkovski had until then been in opposition, but won the election by 40% of the vote, while Ljubco Georgievski’s Nationalist Party (VMRO) got only 24%. President Boris Trajkovski invited the winner Crvenkovski to form a new coalition government. This had already served as prime minister in 1992-98. Over half of Albanians voted for the Democratic Union for Integration, led by former Albanian rebel leader Ali Ahmeti. The Union was the political successor to the National Liberation Army.

In 2003, Amnesty International criticized the continuing assaults and ill-treatment of the Albanian population by, in particular, the “Lions” – a special ethnic clean police unit formed by the Interior Ministry in the wake of the Liberation Army uprising.

In February 2004, President Trajkovksi died in a plane crash en route to a conference in Mostar. Bosnian TV accused NATO of being behind the accident. He was temporarily replaced on the post by the President of Parliament, Ljubvo Jordanovski.

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