6.4 ORGANISATIONAL VARIATIONS AND ALTERNATIVE STRUCTURES
Organizational variations and alternative structures in public secondary education exist in the general upper secondary education and vocational upper secondary education, as Sports Academy, bilingual programs and programs for International Baccalaureate (IB). At the same time the International schools exist, as a form of private upper secondary schools.
The Sports Academy is a public upper secondary school established with the Law on Sports Academy ("Official Gazette of the Republic of Macedonia" no. 115/2014, 129/2015, 146/2015 and 30/2016) and is founded solely for the realization of plans and programs for general upper secondary education, for certain categories of students with outstanding sports skills, for which the state has a special interest.
Enrollment in the sports academy is based on the public Call for enrollment of students in the first year in the public secondary schools, announced by the Ministry of Education and Science. The sports academy enrolls students who have completed primary education and have abilities for sports skills for specific field of sport. Students must pass the entry exam for confirming the special sports skills. The examination is performed by the commission of expert teams composed by the experts appointed by the Minister of Education and Science and experts appointed from the respective National Sport Federations. During the educational period, a student in the sports academy must continuously show excellent results in the chosen sport field and in the other courses. A student may lose the status of student if at the end of the school year has not achieve at least the mark 4 of the chosen sport for training and the overall average grade is below 3.5. In such case the student can continue the educational process in the general upper or vocational upper secondary schools. The students with outstanding sports and educational results can be granted with scholarship by the Ministry of Education and Science based on the criteria published in the Call for scholarship for talented students in the sport. Educational activities in a sports academy are done by teachers, professional associates (pedagogue and psychologist) and outstanding sports specialists in the appropriate sport field – that are engaged as student coaches.
The educational process lasts 4 years and ends with state Matura exam or school Matura exam. The other criteria like teaching and learning methods, timetable, assessment, progression of pupils etc. are the same like in the general upper secondary education schools and are given in the items 6.2. and 6.3.
A regulation for teaching in one of the world’s languages in public secondary schools is approved by the Minister of Education and Science. Also based on the decision of the Minister in the secondary schools can be organized classes with bilingual teaching programs such as Macedonian – French; Macedonian – German and Macedonian – English bilingual programs.
Macedonian – French bilingual program is supported by the French Institute and is organized in eight bilingual Francophone classes, seven of which operate in general upper secondary schools and one in vocational upper secondary school. There are no special criteria for enrollment in the classes. Students enrolled in these classes have additional French language lessons and study at least two courses taught in French. They can validate their specific education by taking the final bilingual education test. The bilingual program emphasis the youth mobility, and the French Institute in Skopje regularly supports the school exchanges that these Macedonian schools make with schools from France. In addition, the French Institute in Skopje organizes or assists in organizing competitions or events in order to promote the French language, France and the Francophonie.
Macedonian – German bilingual program was opened in 2003 with signing of the Agreement between the Governments of the Republic of N. Macedonia and Federal Republic of Germany. Today there are five general upper secondary schools with Macedonian – German classes. To be part of the German class, students need to take an entrance exam. The part of the German class program includes learning German as a first foreign language. The students, who are part of the German language class, study the language with a weekly fund of 6 hours per week, and the other courses are studied like all other students according to the state program for general upper secondary education. Teaching in the German classroom contains a number of project tasks, just as it stimulates independent learning and emphasizes communicative and intercultural methods. The German DSD diploma can be obtained only at recognized "DSD partner schools". In the second year of secondary education, students have the opportunity to obtain a European recognized DSDI language certificate at the A2 / B1 level, which is taken every year in March. Two years later, in the fourth year of secondary education, students are eligible to take the DSDII certificate at level B2 / C1, which is taken every year in December. If they successfully pass the exam, the students will obtain a diploma from the German School of Education, which will open many doors for studies and jobs in German-speaking countries. Thus, every year the best students from the German class have the opportunity to receive a German scholarship, travel to Germany, several weeks of attending classes in German schools and accommodation in the homes of German families.
At the same way the Macedonian – English classes are organized in several general upper secondary education schools. The students study the English language with a weekly fund of 6 hours per week, and the other courses are studied like all other students according to the state program for general upper secondary education.
International Baccalaureate (IB) program
Based on approval of the Minister of Education and Science, secondary schools can implement the international program like International Baccalaureate (IB) program for secondary school and a program for international graduation certificate.
International Baccalaureate program in public upper secondary school enrolls students from the third year of high school at the ages 16-17. The admission requirements are: general conditions where the students must have completed the first and second year of high school education; to be fluent in English, and specific conditions for admission to the International Matura class. These specific conditions are tested through written composition in English; short composition in Macedonian language; general test of knowledge from the natural group of courses (mathematics, chemistry) in Macedonian language and interview in Macedonian and English. The best ranked 20 students can be registered in the IB class.
The IB Diploma Program requires that the students follow 6 courses (3-4 at higher level and the other courses at standard level). The courses are taught for the period of 2 years and lead towards final examinations in the final year. In addition to course requirements, the IB Diploma has three further requirements: an extended essay and theory of knowledge, which are both assessed, as well as creativity, activity, service (CAS) that must be successfully completed.
Teaching and learning is performed according to most contemporary curriculum aimed at acquisition of knowledge, development of skills in a broad range of courses, writing various types of written reports, coursework, portfolios or extended essays.
International schools are private schools and their programs and operations must be approved by the Minister of Education and Science.
The international schools include nursery schools, primary and lower secondary schools and upper secondary schools and usually covering the ages 6 – 18. Schools usually follow the American or British curriculums with English speaking program while others run under the French system.
The students enrolled are usually children of expatriates and local population. Primary instruction may be at 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 fee 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.
International Schools that include upper secondary education are:
- Nova International Schools - A coeducational, international day school that enrolls around 500 students from more than 40 countries. It offers an American curriculum to students in grades PK-12, and the International Baccalaureate diploma program as an IB world school accredited by Central and Eastern European Schools Association (CEESA) and Northwest Accreditation Commission (NWAC).
- QSI International School of Skopje - A private non-profit institution with English language instruction for elementary and secondary students. It serves students aged 3 through age 18. In addition to the regular Quality Schools International curriculum, QSI International School of Skopje offers students the opportunity to study Macedonian, French, German, and Italian. It is accredited by Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools (MSA).
- American School of Macedonia (ASM) - The American School of Macedonia is accredited by the Commission on International and Trans-Regional Accreditation. This international school provides its students with an opportunity to attend classes solely in English in a small-group environment. The school provides SAT and TOEFL exams. Students are also prepared for the Macedonian State Matura Examinations and University of Cambridge ESOL examinations (FCE, CAE and CPE).
- American High School Skopje (AHSS) – The school fosters critical thinking and freedom of expression among students and among teaching staff while respecting the social, religious or national differences. The school prepares young students for continuing in academia, science and research and prepares them to become members of the business community. Teaching in small groups allows access to individual dedication to students and active learning and understanding.