CHAPTER 13: MOBILITY AND INTERNATIONALISATION
At European level, public policy framework in the context of education is standardized and it relates to: (1) The objectives of the Europe 2020 Strategy, including the objectives of education; (2) The objectives of the strategic framework for European cooperation in education and training (ET 2020), including relevant indicators; (3) Sustainable Development of partner countries in the field of higher education; (4) General objectives of the renewed framework for European cooperation in the field of youth; (5) The purpose of European Development dimension in sport, especially mass sport, in line with the EU work plan for sport, and (6) the promotion of European values, in accordance with the Treaty on European Union.
According to all relevant legislative and strategic documents, the national educational development orientation is focused on inclusion of the Republic of North Macedonia in the global integration processes at a European and world level. The country’s determination for inclusion in the Euro-Atlantic integration processes and EU is reflected in all national public policy strategies and documents.
The key national strategic document, adopted by the Government of the Republic of North Macedonia is the “Education Strategy for 2018-2025 and Action Plan”. The strategy is the basis of the activities of the institutions in the Republic of North Macedonia in the field of education for the period till 2025. It builds on the current state in the educational system and aims at their gradual development according to the established priorities. The strategy is based on clear identification of the main challenges of Education sector, thus ensuring its relevance through careful definition of the priority areas to be addressed within the period till 2025. At the same time, in order to meet the criteria of credibility, only the measures that can be implemented within the planned period are included in the Strategy and supported by a costed Action Plan with identified sources of funding. However, the strategy suggests also longer term objectives which may be considered while programming the next phases of education development in the country. The document covers six main pillars of education system – Pre-school Education; Primary Education; Secondary Education; Vocational Education and Training; Higher Education and Research; and Adult Learning and Education. These are followed by a seventh pillar, covering general issues in the education system. Those Pillars are discussed under the Section 5 in terms of a review of the situation and past achievements, where also the challenges are identified, and priorities and objectives to be reached are defined. The Section 6 presents the main principles of the Strategy implementation, monitoring and evaluation, and the Section 7 is the Action Plan.
Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of North Macedonia is striving to strengthen international cooperation at the national, institutional and project levels. The inclusion of schools, training centers and universities in the international exchange of students, instructors and teachers, as well as the execution of international projects, are of vital importance for strengthening their capacities, promoting the national “product” and internationalising the values of global integration processes.
The cooperation with international organisations, OECD, Council of Europe, UNICEF and UNESCO, is particularly important for development of all educational systems: pre-school, elementary, secondary, higher and adult education system. Republic of North Macedonia in the past two decades has implemented a number of EU programmes in different areas of education, namely in the form of development projects, actions of cooperation and mobility initiatives. Specifically, participation of the country in Erasmus, Lifelong Learning Program, Tempus, Erasmus Mundus, Framework Programmes, H2020, has strengthen the capacities of the institutions especially at the level of international cooperation and mobility of their staff.
As a signatory country of the Bologna Declaration, the higher education institutions in the Republic of North Macedonia fully implemented the Bologna principles in the Law on Higher Education and several bylaws. According to the Mobility Scoreboard Background Report for Higher Education 2018/2019 some of the key prerequisites for internationalization of educational system and mobility have been fulfilled. The country fulfils all indicators for the foreign language preparation. At the same time the recognition of the learning outcomes achieved during periods of study abroad is essential for students participating in any short-or long-term mobility experience, where ECTS credits are awarded on the basis of learning outcomes and student workload and the HEI has an appropriate appeals procedure to deal with problems of credit recognition.
In the context of Erasmus+, starting from 2014, the Republic of North Macedonia is participating as a Program country. It is the highest level, with equal status as EU member states. All actions under Erasmus + programme are open to our country participation. The key institution in implementation of the programmes is the National Agency for European Education Programmes and Mobility (NAEOPM).
Over the years, the interest for participation of the institutions from North Macedonia has increased significantly in the Erasmus + programme. According to the number of applications submitted, they are constant increase the allocation of funds, the number of approved projects, and the amount of funds allocated. By implementing the programmes, the National Agency contributes to development of knowledge-based society, with sustainable economic development, more and better jobs and bigger social cohesion, at the same time providing environmental protection and especially exchange, collaboration and mobility into the areas of education and training. Programme beneficiaries are: learners, students, teachers, professors, educators and other staff engaged in any stage of educational process, enterprises and other legal bodies including commercial entities, chambers of commerce and other associations of legal bodies in the field of industry, research centers and bodies, as well as citizen associations and foundations.