12.3. SUPPORT MEASURES FOR LEARNERS IN EARLY CHILDHOOD AND SCHOOL EDUCATION
•1 Definition of the target group(s)
The Concept for Inclusive learning is specifically designed for the primary education, but it mentions provisions for ECEC sector and secondary education as part of the holistic development of children/pupils.
In the ECEC sector there are no target groups that need to receive additional help listed besides the children with special needs.
The target groups for support measures within the school education are regulated by the Law for Primary and Law for Secondary Education as well as the Concept for Inclusive Education. In primary education, besides the children with special education needs, the Law for Primary Education lists the children with foreign citizenship and without citizenship (Article 13), as well as children excluded from school who are older (Article 14) as target groups for intervention and the Concept for Inclusive education further elaborates the help they need to receive. The Article 35 also lists the target groups that can receive specialized help in the educational process besides the children with special needs: Pupils with behavioural or emotional problems or specific learning problems; pupils that live in socio-economic, cultural and/or linguistically deprived environment. In addition primary schools also undertake remedial learning activities for pupils with low school achievement. In the Law for secondary education the definitions of the target groups are also missing, but the Law prescribes certain activities to help the learning of pupils.
•2 Specific support measures
The specific measures are not defined in the ECEC sector except for provisions in the Program for Early Learning. The programme contains the Principle of equal opportunities and respect for differences among children and principle of multiculturalism, that states that all children regardless of their gender, ethnicity, socio-economic and cultural differences as well as different health and special needs have a right of access to education. The Principle of alignment with age characteristics and principle of individualization state that the personality and individual needs, interests, abilities of all children all children including those with special needs should be respected and nurtured.
The specific support measures for learning are most well defined within the Law for primary education. Within the law Article 11 defines that inclusive education should enable: adaptation of curricula, methods of teaching and learning, structure and strategy for children with special needs. Article 16 stipulated the existence of a school inclusive team with a 3 year mandate and with 7 members in charge of organization and realization of whole school activities. The Article also stipulates the existence of inclusive team for an individual pupil which exists until the pupils finishes primary school. This team is in charge of following the progress of the individual pupils and realization of the individual educational program. For pupils with disability an educational/personal assistant can also be part of the educational process.
Article 13 also provides that the children with foreign citizenship or without citizenship are entitled to education under the same circumstances and the citizens of the country. The children receive remedial teaching of the Macedonian language and support in certain subjects for at least one school year using programmes prepared by the BDE and approved by the Minister for Education.
Article 14 regulates that the children who were excluded from education and are older are entitle to education as the other children. Their inclusion in the educational process is with adapted curricula prepared by the BDE and approved by the Minister for Education.
Article 36 stipulates that pupils can receive specialized help from a Tutor-volunteer for the subjects of the specific school year that upon previous approval of the parents/guardians. This type of help is further regulated by a Bylaw (Program for tutoring of pupils in primary education) that enables the trainee teachers to serve as tutors and the conditions of the tutor-pupil relationships as well as aspects of help. According to the Program the tutors chose which subjects they can help with and have an obligation to have at least one school class each week with the pupil (either in the school or online).
Article 37 stipulates the work of Educational mediators for Roma pupils or pupils from socially deprived families or those that have been excluded from education for a longer period of time. The educational mediators undertakes activities to prevent school drop-out of individual pupils, activities to inform the family about the possibilities and access to education, sensitizes the population and the employees within the primary school about the needs of the vulnerable groups and collaborates on regular basis with the teachers and professional support staff to improve the achievement of the pupils. The educational mediators are chosen on the basis of public announcement after a school declares the need for such person to be included in the work of the school (a vulnerable pupil is enrolled or about to be enrolled in the school).
In addition, the primary schools are also obliged to organize remedial classes for pupils who fail to show satisfactory results in certain subjects (Article 31). The remedial classes can be organized on request of the parents, the pupils or the teacher. The remedial learning is planned according to the needs of the pupil. The school prepares a monthly schedule for remedial classes for each subject (Article 33). Article 142 also stipulates that the pupils from grade 6 to 9 who have unsatisfactory grades in two subjects to receive remedial learning in June (that lasts for at least 30% of the teaching time in regular curriculum for the subject) and if the pupils fails to satisfy the criteria during the remedial classes they can also take remedial exam (in June or August). If the pupils fail the exam or if they have more than two negative grades than they repeat the grade. There is a special Bylaw to further organize the remedial learning.
The Law for secondary education defines that remedial learning is organized for pupils that show continuous low achievement (Article 48a). The pupils who attend remedial learning need to attend it for at least a month with four teaching hours for each subject. Article 49 also stipulates that pupils with unsatisfactory grades at the end of the school year can pass a remedial exam (they can have two attempts at passing). Article 51b also stipulates that the school should prepare a schedule for remedial classes. Article 48b also allows for pupils to receive help from a tutor if their grade for a certain subject is lower than 5 (highest grade). The tutors are volunteers who are trainee teachers and their work is also organized by the Program for tutoring in secondary education which is similar with the one for primary education.