In accordance with the Constitution, North Macedonia is a parliamentary republic based on the principles of separation of powers into:
Legislative power is exercised by the Assembly (Parliament, Macedonian: Собрание / Sobranie) which is elected for a period of 4 years through an electoral system by all Macedonian citizens aged 18 and older. Parliament’s headquarter is in Skopje and it is empowered by the Constitution to adopt laws, resolutions, declarations, strategies, etc. (including in the sphere of education).
The Macedonian Parliament is the representative body of citizens in the Republic of North Macedonia. According to the 1991 Constitution, the Macedonian Parliament may have a minimum of 90 and a maximum of 120 members. Parliamentary terms of office are not binding, while members have legal immunity. The Parliament is a unicameral representative body with 120 members.
As a voting body, it elects the Prime Minister and other ministers, President of the National Assembly, and Vice-Presidents, judges to the Constitutional Court, the Governor of the Bank of North Macedonia, Ombudsman, etc.
Information on the legislative procedure can be found on the official website of the Macedonian Parliament.
The President of the Republic of North Macedonia represents the Republic of North Macedonia and is the commander-in-chief of its armed forces. The President of the Republic of North Macedonia:
- nominates a mandator to constitute the Government of the Republic of North Macedonia;
- appoints and dismisses by decree ambassadors and other diplomatic representatives of the Republic of North Macedonia abroad;
- accepts the credentials and letters of recall of foreign diplomatic representatives;
- proposes two judges to sit on the Constitutional Court of the Republic of North Macedonia;
- proposes two members of the Republican Judicial Council;
- appoints three members to the Security Council of the Republic of Macedonia;
- proposes the members of the Council for Inter-Ethnic Relations;
- appoints and dismisses other holders of state and public office determined by the Constitution and the law;
- grants decorations and honours in accordance with the law;
- grants pardons in accordance with the law; and
- performs other duties determined by the Constitution.
The President has no influence over the composition of the government, which is the task of the Prime Minister and the National Assembly. The President is commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces, he appoints and dismisses the Chief of Staff of the Army of the Republic of North Macedonia, appoints and dismissed generals. He is also President of the Security Council of the Republic of North Macedonia.
The President of the Republic is elected for a five-year term in direct, general elections by secret ballot. A person may be elected President of the Republic two times at most. The President of the Republic shall be a citizen of the Republic of Macedonia. A person may be elected President of the Republic if over the age of at least 40 on the day of election. A person may not be elected President of the Republic if, on the day of election, he/she has not been a resident of the Republic of Macedonia for at least ten years within the last fifteen years.
More information about the President of the Republic of North Macedonia can be found on the official website of the President.
Executive power is vested in the Government of the Republic of North Macedonia. The Government exercises its rights and competence on the basis and within the framework of the Constitution and law. The Government is composed of a Prime Minister and Ministers. The Prime Minister and the Ministers cannot be Representatives in the Assembly. The Government is elected by the Assembly on the proposal of the mandator and on the basis of the programme by a majority vote of the total number of Representatives.
The Government of the Republic of North Macedonia:
- determines the policy of carrying out the laws and other regulations of the Assembly and is responsible for their execution;
- proposes laws, the budget of the Republic and other regulations adopted by the Assembly;
- proposes a spatial plan of the Republic;
- proposes decisions concerning the reserves of the Republic and sees to their execution;
- adopts bylaws and other acts for the execution of laws;
- lays down principles on the internal organization and work of the Ministries and other administrative bodies, directing and supervising their work;
- provides appraisals of drafts of laws and other acts submitted to the Assembly by other authorized bodies;
- decides on the recognition of states and governments;
- establishes diplomatic and consular relations with other states;
- makes decisions on opening diplomatic and consular offices abroad;
- proposes the appointment of ambassadors and Representatives of the Republic of Macedonia abroad and appoints chiefs of consular offices;
- proposes the Public Prosecutor;
- appoints and dismisses holders of public and other office determined by the Constitution and laws; and
- performs other duties determined by the Constitution and law.
More information about the Government of the Republic of North Macedonia can be found on the official website of the Government.
Judiciary power is exercised by courts. Courts are autonomous and independent. Courts judge on the basis of the Constitution and laws and international agreements ratified in accordance with the Constitution. There is one form of organization for the judiciary. Emergency courts are prohibited. The types of courts, their spheres of competence, their establishment, abrogation, organization and composition, as well as the procedure they follow are regulated by a law adopted by a majority vote of two-thirds of the total number of Representatives.
The Supreme Court of the Republic of North Macedonia is the highest court in the Republic, providing uniformity in the implementation of the laws by the courts.
The Republican Judicial Council is composed of seven members. The Assembly elects the members of the Council. The members of the Council are elected from the ranks of outstanding members of the legal profession for a term of six years with the right to one re-election. The Republican Judicial Council proposes to the Assembly the election and discharge of judges and determines proposals for the discharge of a judge in cases laid down in the Constitution; decides on the disciplinary answerability of judges; assesses the competence and ethics of judges in the performance of their office; and proposes two judges to sit on the Constitutional Court of the Republic of North Macedonia.
The Public Prosecutor's Office is a single and autonomous state body carrying out legal measures against persons who have committed criminal and other offences determined by law, it also performs other duties determined by law. The Public Prosecutor is appointed by the Assembly for a term of six years and is discharged by the Assembly.
The Constitutional Court of the Republic of North Macedonia is a body of the Republic protecting constitutionality and legality. The Constitutional Court decides on the conformity of laws with the Constitution; decides on the conformity of collective agreements and other regulations with the Constitution and laws; protects the freedoms and rights of the individual and citizen relating to the freedom of conviction, conscience, thought and public expression of thought, political association and activity as well as to the prohibition of discrimination among citizens on the ground of sex, race, religion or national, social or political affiliation; decides on conflicts of competency among holders of legislative, executive and judicial offices; decides on conflicts of competency among Republic bodies and units of local self-government; decides on the answerability of the President of the Republic; decides on the constitutionality of the programmes and statutes of political parties and associations of citizens; and decides on other issues determined by the Constitution.
Municipalities are units of local self-government. Municipalities are financed from their own sources of income determined by law as well as by funds from the Republic. Local self-government is regulated by a law adopted by a two-thirds majority vote of the total number of Representatives. In units of local self-government, citizens directly and through representatives participate in decision-making on issues of local relevance particularly in the fields of urban planning, communal activities, culture, sport, social security and child care, preschool education, primary education, basic health care and other fields determined by law. The municipality is autonomous in the execution of its constitutionally and legally determined spheres of competence; supervision of the legality of its work is carried out by the Republic.
The Ministry of Education and Science has a mission to develop the education and education system in North Macedonia, to develop science, scientific achievements and innovations through the application of the principles of quality, economy, civic responsibility and labor market relevance. Applying these principles will enable the equal participation of the Republic of North Macedonia in the European educational, economic and political integration processes.
Regarding Primary education, compulsory nine-year Primary education was introduced in 2007 according to the Concept of the nine-year primary upbringing and education. In parallel with increasing the duration of primary education, reforms of the curricula were also initiated. The subject programmes include development goals for the cycles of primary education, general goals for each grade and specific goals for each topic or programme. A number of challenges are identified at the Primary education level:
- Learning accomplishments of pupils are critically low, which has been demonstrated by results achieved at international testing events;
- Standards which should define the learning outcomes for each cycle (I, II, III) of primary education are absent, the framework curriculum is overburdened and the subject programmes have a little relevance to the local environment;
- Measures for overcoming divisions along ethnic lines in schools are not sufficient and segregation in schools impacts social cohesion and inter-ethnic integration;
- Children with special educational needs are not sufficiently included in regular primary education;
- Appropriate systemic solutions for identification and working with talented pupils is lacking as well;
- Didactic materials and didactic resources for realisation of educational process in all instruction languages (including assistive technologies for pupils with special educational needs) are insufficient, the specialised cabinets of specific subjects are not fully provided with teaching materials; etc
The Priorities are set as:
- Priority I. Improve the Content of Primary Education;
- Priority II. Increase Enrolment of Pupils, Improve Inclusiveness and Interethnic Integration of Primary Education;
- Priority III. Improve the Learning Environment and Quality of Primary Education Provision;
- Priority IV. Improve Capacities of Human Resources in the Primary Schools;
- Priority V. Increase Effectiveness of Primary Education Organisation and Management;
A new Law on Primary Education (“Official Gazette of the Republic of Northern Macedonia” No. 161/2011 dated 5.8.2019) was adopted. The new law started to be implemented from the academic year 2019/2020. The new Concept of primary education was adopted in march 2021 to be implemented in school year 2021/2022.
Since the 2007-2008 academic year, Secondary education is compulsory for all citizens under equal terms and conditions stipulated by the Law on Secondary Education, and the policy of enrolment in secondary schools was adjusted according to this requirement.
Analysis of the situation has led to the identification of the following challenges in the sector of Secondary General Education:
- Curricula are overburdened while there are still subject programmes which are outdated and do not provide continuity in the cognitive and socio-emotional development of pupils, do not allow for integrated approach of learning about phenomena, do not develop sufficiently generic and key competencies, do not support modern teaching approaches and do not reflect current social processes;
- A number of textbooks are obsolete and contain stereotypes, prejudice, and stigma and are lacking elements for coexistence, respect of differences, integration, multiculturalism, which is complicated by a demotivating legislation on the textbooks development and review;
- Multicultural/intercultural education is not depicted in curricular or extra-curricular activities
- Assessment of the curriculum quality and pupils’ grading are inconsistent in term of all relevant factors
- Support to democratic participation of pupils consistently remains insufficient
- There is a lack of continuous valid information on the national education system in terms of international prospects;
Accordingly, the following priorities are defined for the period until 2025 (which are described in more detail, including measures, activities and indicators in the appropriate pillar in the Action Plan) and should ensure the relevant outcomes:
- Priority I. Improve the Content of Secondary Education;
- Priority II. Increase Enrolment of Pupils and Improve Inclusiveness and Interethnic Integration in Secondary Education;
- Priority III. Improve Capacities of Human Resources in the Secondary Schools;
- Priority IV. Improve the Learning Environment and Quality of Education
In the Republic of North Macedonia lower secondary education is integrated with primary education (ISCED 1 and 2) organized in a single structure. Upper secondary education (hereafter secondary education), as a separated organizational structure, links primary and lower secondary education with higher education in the single education system of the Republic of North Macedonia. Secondary education is compulsory and free of charge in the public secondary schools.
New Law on secondary education is planned to be adopted in 2022.
Regarding Higher Education, Research and Innovation, a new Law on Higher Education was adopted in May 2018. The new law represents a turning point in the expression of free thought in higher education, guaranteeing effective autonomy of the University, improving the working conditions and living standards of professors and researchers, but also increasing student mobility opportunities through various European programs. However, there a lot of challenges remaining:
- Insufficient quality of certain faculties and universities is accompanied with non-functioning system of accreditation and evaluation of universities;
- The higher education does not provide a system for regular quality assurance;
- The procedure for recognition of higher education qualifications is complex;
- In general, the Higher education system is overregulated, that affects the autonomy of universities;
- Expansion of study programmes continues without proper analysis of the Labour Market demand and assessment of the implementation capacities
- The Government and the universities fail to offer sufficient opportunities for professional improvement of the teaching staff, as well as for academic career development and mobility, and financial support for research; universities lack young staff due to the legal framework and failure to provide funding for new job positions; the student-professor ratio is high;
- The level of research funding remains unsatisfactory which results particularly in improper infrastructure of scientific research centres at the universities; priority thematic areas of research are not reformed; access to global scientific data bases is limited; there is no appropriate mechanism for commercialisation of innovative solutions;
The following are the priorities and expected outcomes (described in more detail, including measures, activities and indicators, in the appropriate pillar in the Action Plan) expected to be attained for this Pillar:
- Priority I. Ensure Quality and Effectiveness of Higher Education in accordance with European good practices
- Priority II. Improve the Content of Higher Education
- Priority III. Improve Availability and Enrolment System of Higher Education
- Priority IV. Improve Management and Funding of Higher Education
- Priority V. Support Research and Innovation