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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
National reforms in vocational education and training and adult learning

Republic of North Macedonia

14.Ongoing reforms and policy developments

14.3National reforms in vocational education and training and adult learning

Last update: 31 December 2023
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The Ministry of Education and Culture, the chambers and local governments started the social dialogue "Learn smart, work professionally" to determine the real needs for professional profiles in secondary vocational schools for the academic year 2023/2024. The dialogue between the central government, local governments and companies took place during the months of February and March 2023, in all regions of the country. Before the start of the social dialogue, about 400 companies responded to the questionnaire about the companies' interest in participating in the creation of the dual parallels for the academic year 2022/23, and as many as 90% of the companies expressed their willingness to accept students for internships with them.

According to the Call for enrollment in the school year 2023/24 in cooperation with the municipalities and companies in the country, 6475 vacancies in 259 classes in the dual professional education have been secured. For comparison, 223 dual classes were opened in the school year 2022-2023, 97 were opened in the school year 2021/2022, and 11 in the school year 2020/2021.

In may 2023 grants have been awarded to consortia made up of companies and educational institutions for vocational education and training,  from the "Regional Challenge Fund" for the purchase of equipment that will serve to prepare students in the practical part of teaching.

The Government started a procedure to open two new regional VET centres in Strumica and Veles.



Concept for secondary education of adults

concept for secondary education of adults has been adopted in 2022. This concept represents a vision that should develop postulates and mechanisms of secondary education of adults over ten years and more. The focus is on measures and activities that will enable the adults to actively adjust to the changes within the society, and will enable personal growth and inclusive and cohesive society that learns and develops.

New Law on VET

Activities are undertaken to develop new Law on VET. Both Law on VET and Law on secondary education are under harmonization and will be adopted as one package.


Regional centers for vocational education and training introduced with the new amendments to the Law on VET

In 2019 the amendments of the Law on VET[1] set up a legal basis for the establishment of Regional centers for vocational education and training.

Three Regional VET centers are to be established to provide high-quality VET education, streamline innovations in the education process and enable young people enter the labour market with relevant for the market qualification. They are expected to have the capacity to multiply their positive experience in the VET country system and serve as a driver in VET sector. An ongoing IPA 2017 intervention provides technical assistance to the country in the field of VET, namely capacity building of education institutions and relevant municipalities, development of a rationalisation plan for VET schools, and alignment of VET and Adult Education systems with European Quality Assurance in Vocational, Education and Training standards. Further on, the selected VET centres need to be refurnished and equipped. The training programmes, tools and methods will be upgraded to provide for a range of qualifications relevant to the demand of the 21st century business, to ensure a flexible approach and modularization, as well as a mix of core skills, technical skills and capabilities needed at each critical life and employment stage. The vocational education offered in the Centres should serve all levels (vocational training, three-year vocational education for occupation, technical education, post-secondary education, trainings) and various participants such as students in the regular formal secondary education, adults and persons with special educational needs. The process will be accompanied by implementation of activities for validation of non-formal and informal learning. Based on the revised VET Curricula, specific VET curricula for students with special needs will be developed. Sectors/programmes for professional career and orientation support to graduates will be established. The relations between the Regional VET Centres and the private sector will be extended ensuring better compliance of the teaching programmes and process with the needs of the relevant business in terms of skills and capacities.

The Regional VET centres were selected with the support of the European Training Foundation (ETF) mapping out the potential in the VET sector and on the grounds of criteria such as current reasonably high performance level, private sector engagement and local support. They will be located in: for Polog region is the Vocational High School "Mosa Pijade" – Tetovo; for North-Eastern region is the Vocational High School "Kiro Burnaz" - Kumanovo, and for South – Western region is the Municipal Catering and Tourism School "Vanco Pitosevski" – Ohrid.

Activities for reconstruction of these VET centres and the training for improvement of staff teaching skills have been performed throughout 2022. Foreign donor schemes are supporting the improvement of staff teaching skills. 

On 20.04.2022 the Ministry for Education and Science and UNDP have adopted the strategic document/concept with concrete guidelines for further development of the regional VET centres. 



Dual Education Concept in Vocational Education and Training

In the school year 2021/2022, vocational education is conducted in 97 classes in 44 schools with 1.384 students. Contracts were signed with over 200 companies and the cooperation between business sector and the schools is strenghtened. New law on VET is under preparation.

Three-year dual vocational education project was piloted starting from 2017/18, based to the German example. The project helped companies working in the industry to obtain professional staff, having in mind that students will be preparing for work in a particular company during their secondary education. The Government pursued the implementation of the dual education in secondary vocational education. Companies are able to provide scholarships for high school students who will be obliged to work in those companies for a certain period of time after their graduation. In the school year 2019/2020, vocational education is conducted in seven vocational education schools (in Kavadarci, Ohrid, Prilep, Bitola, Veles, Skopje, Gostivar), for three educational profiles: technician for industrial mechatronics; technician for manufacturing machinery and electrician - electric motor on power grids.


EU Twinning Project “Further support to the implementation of the National Qualifications Framework”

The EU Twinning Project “Further support to the implementation of the National Qualifications Framework” (MK IPA 17 SO 01 21) started in October 2021. This project is financed by the European Union and will be implemented within 27 months. The budget of the project is worth 1.500.000,00 euros.

The Beneficiary of the Project is the Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of North Macedonia. A Consortium of three Member States – Lithuania, France and Slovenia with the expertise of other relevant authorities is responsible for the implementation of the Project.

The overall objective of the Project is further strengthening and operationalization of the National Qualifications Framework (NQF) aiming to increase the employability, mobility and social integration of workers and learners in the Republic of North Macedonia.

This twinning project is expected to support the effectiveness of the NQF with special focus on:

  • Development and implementation of quality assurance (QA) process/procedures;

  • Transparency and governance of skills and qualifications in a lifelong learning perspective of general, Vocational Education and Training (VET) and Higher education;

  • Improving quality and better adaptability of education and training in line with the requirements from labor market needs;

  • Linking formal, non-formal and informal learning; and

  • Support the validation of learning outcomes acquired in different settings.

The project consists of the following 4 components:

Component 1 – Quality assurance of education and training in a LLL perspective strengthened.

Component 2 – Support to the further implementation and enhanced capacities of the National Qualifications Framework in accordance with the QA framework.

Component 3 – Operational and administrative capacities of NQF Administration for management NQF communication and awareness raising practices improved.

Component 4 – NQF Digital register interconnection and compatibility on National and EU level improved.



[1] Official Gazette of the Republic of North Macedonia’ No. 275/2019 from 27.12.2019