The Macedonian Civic Education Center (MCEC) was founded in 2004, resulting from the completion of a USAID funded Civic Education Project when team decided to work as local NGO. The civic education project has been very successful in providing the foundations for educating citizens of Macedonia to actively participate in the strengthening of a democratic civil society, however, there was a continuing need for educational development, and the need to establish local organization was driven by four factors: the change in current affairs in civil society, decentralization of education, Macedonia’s membership in the European Union, and most important to meet the educational needs of the school system.
Since its establishment, MCEC has implemented variety of projects related to professional development of the educational staff in different areas such as developing and implementing standards for high quality professional development; supporting schools for implementing in-schools professional development; supporting local and state educational authorities (Ministry of Education and Science, Bureau for Educational development, Vocational Education Training Center, State Education Inspectorate, State Examination Center) in development of strategies and procedures for supporting, monitoring and evaluation in school development; development and implementation of teachers certification procedures as tool to evaluate implementation of new gained knowledge. MCEC had also worked on development of school-based assessment standards and teachers competences for assessment that were officially accepted by Ministry of Education and Science as Guidelines for assessment in schools. Using own staff expertise in broad range of educational areas MCEC was invited to give input in developing Indicators for integral school evaluation; propose improvement of the draft Laws for primary and secondary education – specially the articles related to teaches’ professional and career development; facilitating meetings and round tables to discuss present status and share ideas for teachers’ professional and career development system.
Capacity building for school staff and educational programs:
Over last 10 years, MCEC worked with all primary and secondary schools, provided training for more than 20.000 education stakeholders in several programs (improvement of school-based assessment; improving math and science teaching; improving numeracy and literacy in early grades; capacity building on ICT skills etc.), while applying whole school approach which involved all school principals and school administration staff in project activities connected with teachers’ in-school professional development and certification. MCEC strengthened the capacities of the School Boards in 433 primary and secondary schools through a training program to improve school management.
MCEC has implemented various interethnic activities and projects directed towards supporting integrated education in multiethnic communities. We have pioneered innovative approaches to strengthening the intercultural competences of school managers, teachers, parents and students. MCEC assisted primary and secondary schools in planning and implementing extra curricula activities that supported work of school support teams to sustain investments and created local ownership in establishing model activities for cooperation at the school level. Over 1600 teachers and school staff received capacity building training to enable interethnic integration in schools and implement interethnic joint student activities. We have also strengthened civic education programs in schools through facilitating its formal integration into the national lower-elementary curriculum.
MCEC has completed 71 different types of small-scale renovations. As part of this, MCEC worked with the municipalities to define school priorities and needed interventions were made in close cooperation with parents and schools.
Decentralization in education
Since 2004, MCEC has been working with municipalities on strengthening the cooperation between schools and municipalities to enable decentralization. MCEC directed the process of developing local education policies and strengthening the capacities of municipalities to establish mechanism for linking schools with government at local level.
MCEC has conducted number of baseline surveys, as for UNICEF’s Numeracy and Literacy in Early Grades Project and subsequently measured impact on the quality of intervention and on the students achievement including evaluation of the teachers knowledge, skills and competences for teaching; Projects for interethnic education in schools; Projects for decentralization in education with analysis for professional development of municipality officials in aim to enable subsequent monitoring of project activities.
Publications, outreach and conferences
Since 2004, MCEC published and disseminated more than 97,000 manuals, brochures and other publications to institutions, municipalities and schools throughout Macedonia, including: Manuals for Training the Trainers; Manuals for training the teachers; School Boards Manual for Primary and Secondary Schools; Manual for Training the Trainers on Working with Parents; publication on “The Ethnically Mixed School – a place for learning and maintaining the interethnic communication and cooperation”; publication “Improvement of Interethnic Dialog in Local Communities – Theoretical and Practical Aspects”; “Code of Ethics on Assessment of Students’ Achievements” brochure; “Code of Ethics for Testing Students’ Achievements” brochure; “Collection of papers from International Conference Assessment for Learning in 21 Century; “Decentralization in education in the municipality” publication; school calendars and posters. MCEC has also developed video materials and cartoons to raise awareness for specific educational topics, and has also organized different promotions including projects launch events, national and international conferences whereby events were successfully covered by national and local media outlets.
Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E)
MCEC has developed system of M&E for project activities. Our team uses a mix of tools and methods to collect relevant data on indicators and project achievements.
Cooperation with local NGOs
MCEC worked with 20 local organizations to provide mentoring on financial management and reporting, advocacy, M&E, and networking between schools and municipalities, whereby each of the organizations provided own specific expertise and experience in enriching joint projects’ activities. MCEC supported local communities in establishing communication and collaboration among municipalities, schools and NGOs at the municipal level and between different municipalities.