In 2022, the project Education for Employment in North Macedonia – E4E@мк continues with the realization of the social dialogue “Uci Pametno Raboti Strucno”. Through 17 meetings in 17 municipalities in the Republic of North Macedonia, the Ministry of Education and Science together with the municipalities and the private sector will work together to advance secondary vocational education.

In 2021, the social dialogue resulted in establishing 97 dual classes in 46 vocational schools, which now cooperate with about 200 companies for practical training of students in a company.

Through the social dialogue between the central government, local governments and the private sector regarding vocational profiles in secondary vocational schools, the number and type of classes that will be opened in the academic year of 2022/2023 will be defined. Announcing the series of meetings in all regions of the country in February and March this year, the Minister of Education and Science Jeton Shaqiri stressed that the purpose of the social dialogue is to increase the number of students enrolled in secondary vocational schools, to encourage companies to open their doors for practical training of students, to form dual classes together with local companies and to promote the importance of secondary vocational education.

Secondary vocational schools can again be the first choice of high school students only if the municipalities, local companies and secondary vocational schools are directly involved in this process of social dialogue, because mayors, company managers and school principals know best where to intervene for to provide professions demanded on the labor market and what is the best way to do it. The more successful this cooperation is and the real needs are identified in time, the faster we will achieve the desired common goal – to generate skilled staff, but also to increase the possibility for faster employment of young people immediately after graduation and their careers where they live. With that, we will all contribute to the economic growth and development of the municipalities and the state – emphasized Minister Shaqiri.

For the second year in a row, the Ministry of Education and Science is implementing the dialogue at the local level, in cooperation with the Embassy of Switzerland in the Republic of Northern Macedonia and the E4E@мк Project – “Education for Employment in North Macedonia”. It is of particular importance for the mayors to be involved in the dialogue as an opportunity to create an enrollment policy appropriate to the needs of the private sector and municipalities. The results of last year’s dialogue confirm that young people are increasingly perceiving the benefits of vocational education and decide to enroll, because it offers more opportunities – employment immediately after school, but also a better start for enrollment in technical universities.

The purpose of the events is to attract as many companies as possible to engage in dual education, as a proven model that provides professional and skilled staff ready to be directly involved in the work in the environment where they carried out their practical training.

The number of dual classes in the academic year 2021/2022 increased from a total of 11 to 97 and 1400 students are now enrolled in such classes. This year, 6 percent more students are enrolled in technical secondary education compared to the last school year.

In order to further improve the secondary vocational education, in addition to improving the curricula, the Ministry of Education and Science also changed the scholarship policy. This school year, students enrolled in dual classes in vocational schools in the country receive a monthly scholarship of 3,500 denars, which is another incentive to achieve better results, but also a financial relief in the schooling process.

The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation – SDC provides long-term and systemic support to the advancement of the vocational education and training and through the social dialogue, it strengthens the cooperation between companies and secondary vocational schools, the systematic implementation of practical training of students in a company and the promotion of vocational education as a proper choice of education and career for the future high school students.

The social dialogue will be carried out in 17 municipalities: Skopje, Stip, Struga, Ohrid, Prilep, Bitola, Valandovo, Strumica, Kocani, Makedonska Kamenica, Veles, Kavadarci, Tetovo, Gostivar, Kumanovo, Kriva Palanka and Kicevo.