• 1 Funding
1.1 Funding of early childhood education and care
The overall budget for ECEC comes from multiple ministries, but most of it is financed under the budget of the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy. The level of financing, however, is not precisely known and cannot be reliably calculated because the country does not have a coordinated financial tracking system in place for ECEC that would allow collecting and analyzing information across the ministries involved. A major challenge in this regard is how to improve the intersectoral coordination between institutions to ensure a holistic, integrated and accurate system of financing.
Almost all of the funding for ECEC comes from the central government budget. Municipalities do not add any significant funds to the received block grants for preschools. In part, the low local co-financing is the result of the overall low level of funding that municipalities have, and in part because the laws make such co-financing difficult (for instance, by prohibiting municipalities to add own revenues to teacher salaries).
Expenditure on ECEC from the state budget
% of GDP
Source: Ministry of Labour and Social Policy
The funding formula for ECEC uses a coefficient based on the number of employed staff and on the used capacity of the preschool. The current formula treats all preschools in the same way irrespective of where they are located. It assumes that the per child costs of preschools are the same in large cities and in small villages. This lack of flexibility in the formula can potentially create even greater disparities in the standards of the ECEC system within the country.
1.2 Funding of primary (or single structure) education
Funding of the single primary education is provided from the Budget of the Republic of Northern Macedonia and from other sources.
The funds for financing the activity of the primary education are provided from the Budget of the Republic of North Macedonia, in a manner and procedure determined by the Law for the budgets of the Republic of Northern Macedonia, the Law on Budget Execution of Republic of Northern Macedonia and the Law on Financing of Local Units self-government. These funds are distributed from the central level to the municipalities by block grants and earmarked grants in accordance with the Decree on the methodology for determining criteria for allocation of block grants and the Decree on the methodology for distribution of capital and earmarked grants determined in the Law on Financing of local self-government units. The municipality is distributing the funds for financing the activity of the primary education to the primary schools for realization of the educational process, in accordance with established standards and norms. The distribution of the funds from block grant and from the earmarked grant is made on the basis of formula. The formula for distribution of the funds is performed primary by the number of students in the primary schools in the municipality area. On the performance of the formula may be influenced by other additional indicators. One of them is the number of the students with disabilities. The funds that the municipalities receive in block grants and earmarked grants for students with disabilities are distributed in schools according to the number of students with a disability in the specific school and the school spends them purposefully for the needs of these students.
Funding from other sources - The municipality may supplement the received block grant, i.e. earmarked grant for education with own resources, except for the salaries of the employees in schools. The funds for financing the activity of the primary education can be provide from other sources like legacies, gifts, wills, etc., and are used earmarked for the development of the educational activity.
1.3 Funding of upper secondary (and upper secondary) education
The funds for financing the public secondary education are provided from the Budget of the Republic of North Macedonia, in a manner and according to a procedure determined by the Law on Budgets of the Republic of N.Macedonia, the Law on Execution of the Budget of the Republic of N. Macedonia and the Law on Financing of Local Self-Government Units. The funds are distributed to the municipalities by block grants and earmarked grants in accordance with the Decree on the methodology for determining the criteria for distribution of block grants and the Decree on the methodology for distribution of capital and earmarked grants set out in the Law on Financing of Local Self-Government Units. The municipality distributes the funds to the high schools of its own territory for ensuring the realization of the educational process, in accordance with established standards and norms. The distribution of the funds from the block grant and from the earmarked grant is made on the basis of a formula. The formula is derived primarily from the number of students in high schools in their area. The performance of the formula can be influenced by the following objective factors: age of students, the plan and programs implemented in the school, the type of school facility, location of the school and more.
The municipality can supplement the received block grant, i.e. earmarked grant for education with funds from own sources, except for the salaries of school employees. Public schools can also obtain funds from participation of service users; sale of products and services that are a result of performing a basic activity; trade companies, public enterprises, institutions and state administration bodies in which they are provides practical training for students; projects approved by the Minister; interest and dividends on invested funds; legacies, gifts, wills and other sources.
The funds from own sources can be used for promotion, modernization and development of the activity in the public schools for which a report is submitted to the Ministry, i.e. to the competent body of the local self-government unit.
• 2 Financial autonomy and control
The respective Ministries adopt a financial plan, criteria for allocation of funds and implements distribution of funds by users in the ECEC and primary and secondary education. The Ministry submits a report to the Government on the manner of disposing of the funds of the Republic of Macedonia. Data from the annual financial plans and the final accounts of the kindergartens, public primary and secondary schools, the municipality publishes in its official gazette.
The Ministries controls the intended use of the funds that are allocated from the Budget of the Republic of Northern Macedonia
• 3 Fees within public education
Fees in the early childhood education and care - The prices of the services provided by the public institution for ECEC are determined by the Council of the Founder. This means that the price of the service is determined by the Municipality, and is based on adopted Rulebook for determining the prices and services provided by the public institution for children – kindergarten. The monthly amount of the prices of the services and the amount of reimbursement for living expenses borne by the parents whose children use public kindergartens is 1,490 denars or 24 Euro for a full-time stay program.
Fees in the primary and upper secondary education – Primary and upper secondary education are compulsory education and are free of charge.
• 4 Financial support for learners' families
The national program for financial support for learners’ families in ECEC and primary and secondary education does not exist.
In the school year 2020/2021 within the project funded by the European Union "REGULAR CLASS: Action for inclusion of Roma in primary education" a total of 638 scholarships have been awarded to families of Roma pupils enrolled in the first and second grade of primary schools. Scholarships will reduce the financial costs of Roma families related to their children's education. The scholarship refers to a period of one school year, and is in the amount of 400 Euros per year. It is intended to cover the costs of children's education, food, clothing, school supplies and materials, sports and other equipment for extracurricular activities for children. Regular students will be able to keep the scholarship for the current year, and those who successfully move to the next grade will potentially be able to renew the next school year.
4.1 Financial support for families of pupils with special educational needs
The Ministry of Education and Science starts the project "Be IN, be INClusive, be INcluded", implemented by the Foundation for Educational and Cultural Initiatives "Step by Step" in cooperation with the Association for Promotion and Development of Inclusive Society "Inclusive" and the Association for Services to People with disability "Handimak". This project awarded scholarships for 287 children with special education needs (all applications was accepted) who are enrolled in school year 2020/2021 in the first and second grade, encourages enrollment of students with in regular education and supports inclusive education for every child.
The project also provides tutoring support for these children, so that 30 tutors who have gone through the training process will provide additional support to children in mastering the teaching content.
• 5 Financial support for learners
Public financial support offered to learners is provided by the Ministry of Education and Science for the students in the upper secondary schools in the form of scholarships.
Every school year the Ministry is awarding scholarships for different group of students:
- Scholarships for talented students (merit based criteria)
- Scholarships for talented students spots players (sport results criteria)
- Scholarships for students from low income families (social based criteria)
- Scholarships for Roma students (5 categories with merit based criteria)
- Scholarships for students with special needs
- Scholarships for students without parents
- Scholarships for students in the VET schools for deficient occupations
- Reimbursements of fund for musical instrument for students in the musical schools
All full-time students from urban and rural areas have a right of free transportation, if the place of residence is at least 2.5 km far from the secondary school in which the student is enrolled. Free transportation and free accommodation in dormitories are provided for students enrolled in the schools out of their place of residence.
• 6 Private education
Private education in the Republic of North Macedonia generally is composed of international and bilingual schools. These schools include nursery schools, primary and secondary (high) schools. The activities of the private schools must be approved by the decision of the Minister of Education and Science. The founders of the schools are usually private bodies or individuals. According to the legal regulations in the country the schools are submitting the annual financial account to the Public Revenue office.
Schools usually follow the American or British curriculums with English speaking program while others run under the French system. Primary instruction may be any language (and multiple languages are usually taught), but it is usually in English. Schools also provide internationally accepted accreditation such as the international baccalaureate. Admission and enrollment procedures vary from school to school. Space is often limited and preference may be given to students based on nationality. Tuition tends to be expensive based on local standards, but offers high standards of learning, boast smaller class sizes, first-rate facilities, and extracurricular. Boarding facilities are available at some schools, but most only provide day classes. They are fees are different and vary from 2.000 to 5.000 Eur per year.