Duration: April 2018 – December 2020
Implementer: Macedonian Civic Education Center (MCEC)
Partners: Ministry of Education and Science (MoES), Pestalozzi Children’s Foundation, key educational and state institutions and schools from 12 municipalities (Bitola, Vinica, Gostivar, Kocani, Kumanovo, Prilep, Strumica, Tetovo, Stip, and Centar, Cair and Suto Orizari – Skopje)
Target Group: Out-of school children aged 6 to 17 (children who have not enrolled in school at all and children who have dropped out of school)
Main Goal of the Project: Providing access to education for out-of-school children in 12 municipalities in North Macedonia.
The implementation of this project will provide support in achieving the priority defined in the Education Strategy of the Republic of North Macedonia for 2018-2025, which refers to increasing the scope of students and improving the inclusion in primary education, through implementing a sustainable identification model for children who are obliged to attend school and their monitoring until the completion of the compulsory education.
1. New educational legal framework/policy for inclusion for out-of-school children and drop-outs
In coordination with MoES, a Project Working Group will be formed consisting of representatives of several ministries (the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Local Self-Government and the Ministry of Interior), as well as representatives of key educational institutions (the Bureau for Development of Education, the State Education Inspectorate, the Pedagogical Service and the Directorate for Development and Promotion of Education in the Languages of the Communities within MoES). This group will directly work on amending the Law on Primary Education, as well as on developing data sharing protocol among the institutions at national and local level, in order to create the necessary preconditions for the realization of the planned project interventions to improve the inclusion of out-of-school-children and children who left the education system. The Project Working Groups will develop:
• Data sharing protocol (at national and local level) for identifying school-age children;
• Adjusted curricula that will enable both the newly enrolled children and the school returnees to join their respective grades; and
• Lowering the charges for validation of foreign studies and degrees for students coming from socially disadvantaged backgrounds, in order to support them to continue their education.
2. Schools and municipalities support effectively the enrolment and retention of the out-of-school children
The municipalities and schools will receive support in the process of increasing the rate of enrollment and retention of the children in primary school, through applying the data sharing protocol for the identification of school-age children in three pilot schools. Also, in cooperation with the schools, trainings will be organized for the teachers and school support staff, which will focus on applying children-centered methodological approaches, as well as extra-curricular intercultural activities, in order to strengthen the inclusion of children from socially vulnerable groups.
3. Parents support their children in schooling
Within the project, and in cooperation with MoES, around 300 out-of-school children living in socially disadvantaged families will receive scholarship and support when enrolling in school, which will help the families to provide education for their children. Activities enhancing the cooperation between the schools and the parents will also be implemented in order to ensure that the children will receive the necessary support during their education and stay at school, but also better master the teaching material.