Improving the quality of vocational education and training in the Republic of North Macedonia through further expansion of the Work-based-Learning concept in companies will be the focus of the work of the Ministry of Education and Science in the next period, and the support for achieving these goals is provided by of the Government of Switzerland.
On this occasion, on 31.01.2023, the Minister of Education and Science, Mr. Jeton Shaqiri and the Ambassador of Switzerland in North Macedonia, H.E. Véronique Hulmann have signed a Memorandum of Understanding that envisages implementation of a specific plan with number of joint activities by 2026.
After signing the Memorandum, the Minister Shaqiri has emphasized that improving the quality and the promotion of the secondary vocational education among young people is part of the long-term strategy of the Government of the Republic of North Macedonia, and one of the biggest supporters is precisely the Government of Switzerland, which provides not only financial support, but also support in applying the best practices from the Swiss vocational education in our country.
For Ambassador Hulmann, it is a pleasure to help when the intentions of the Government of North Macedonia are visible in terms of creating quality staff which the economy lacks, but also in the efforts to develop and integrate the national education system in the European education area.
“Our cooperation started in 2018 and has since yielded significant results both for the youth and the private sector in the Republic of North Macedonia. As part of this Memorandum of Understanding, Switzerland will allocate additional 5.9 million Swiss francs, raising the total Swiss support for the reform of the vocational skills development system in North Macedonia to 12 million Swiss Francs. Through sharing funding and know-how that directly supports the dual vocational and education system of North Macedonia to connect the private sector with education, with the aim to enable the private sector to access skilled workforce and contribute to decent employment opportunities for youth in the country.”, emphasized H.E.- Véronique Hulmann, Ambassador of Switzerland to North Macedonia.
The reforms for advancement of the vocational skills development system are implemented through the project Education for Employment in North Macedonia (E4E@мк) – Phase 2, with duration until 2026, while the organizations that continue to implement the project are: Helvetas North Macedonia, the Macedonian Center for Civic Education and Economic Chamber of North Macedonia.
Within the framework of the second phase, the project is focused towards the mismatch between the skills acquired in the educational process and the skills required by the labor market. This gap leads to high unemployment among young people and hinders the competitiveness of the economy. Building on the results of the first phase, the second phase will further focus on dual vocational education (VET). The project will continue with systemic support of educational institutions at the national level, but will also intervene at the local level, supporting the implementation of reforms in vocational education.
The project will support the Ministry of Education and Science and the Vocational Education and Training Center, in cooperation with the Economic Chambers, in the development and adoption of the required legislation for dual vocational education and training, such as by-laws and guidelines for the implementation of dual education. Regarding the private sector, the project will support strengthening the capacities of the business organizations, which should be the link between their member companies and vocational education schools. Higher engagement at the local level will be a significant part of the second phase of the project.
The Ministry of Education and Science, which carried out an intensive dialogue with the companies interested in engaging in the process of dual education through the campaign “Uci pametno, raboti strucno”, will make efforts to transfer the dialogue on local level, i.e. in the municipalities.
The main goal or the expected outcome from the second phase of the project is for young people to acquire gainful employment due to the acquired market-oriented skills, through (1) improving the vocational education and training system that will efficiently and effectively equip young people for the labor market, and through (2) the companies and the business organizations that will jointly create and ensure market relevance for the vocational education and training.
In addition, the signing of the Memorandum for Understanding for the second phase of the reforms for the advancement of the vocational skills development system in the Republic of North Macedonia is also based on the results achieved in the first phase of the cooperation between the Government of Switzerland and the Government of the Republic of Macedonia, which began in 2018, and refer to the period 2020-2022.