The educational system in Macedonia

As any semi-developed country, Macedonia has a compulsory educational system. We know that. For those who spend all their time on Facebook or recently LOL, a compulsory educational system means that everyone must finish basic education (first –eight/ninth grade).It first appeared in 1524 in France. After finishing elementary school students get a diploma that states that the student has finished elementary education AKA Svidetelstvo za zavreno osnovno obrazovanie. Their grades are then averaged and a score from 50 -80 points is determined after some confusing math has been done. This is problematic given that there is no real standard by which grades are given and standardize testing has not been carried out properly. Different high schools have different criteria for enrollment . Vocational high schools often have lower criteria, general high school have an average criteria of around 60 points , there are also more specialized high schools with higher criteria of 70 points. The curriculum between different high schools wearies, some study specialized subjects or languages, and some don’t study core subjects. This has lead to some students having to attend two schools at the same time. High school students attending gymnasiums have to chose between four or more different curriculums specialized for different directions of study such as natural sciences, social sciences, mathematics, lingual or the arts. This choice limits their ability to choose what they are going to study in higher education, and also provides a more thorough education in the given subject . There is also a number of private high school in the country for those who can afford them. High school has recently also been made compulsory. This has made it harder to expel students from schools for misconduct and has increases the average class size . After finishing the last year of high school all students have to take Matura tests (Macedonian version of the SAT) in which they have to take an examination in Mother tongue knowledge of literature and grammar from all 4 years of high school, as well as essay writing. Mathematics/foreign language: students choose whether they will take mathematics (basic or advanced level) or a foreign language (typically English, German, French or Russian), two subjects of the student's choice and a project task. There are many problems surrounding the Matura such as:

Students from the highest ranked high schools are taught by the same teachers who have written the test , giving them an advantage over other lower ranked high schools. Students who have Albanian as a mother tongue have on average much higher scores , weather the tests are easier or badly regulated testing is not clear. Cheating is still common despite government efforts to prevent it Corruption in the system has not been addressed Subjects chosen by the student also limit the chances of getting accepted into certain colleges, scores also play a large role in the likelihood of getting accepted into college . Students with high scores get into a state class which is funded by the country while lower scoring students have to apply for a cofounded program for which they have to pay for themselves. The University system now runs according to the European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System. This is a system implemented in higher education establishments all across Europe, it rewards students credits (points) according to their attendance and test performance with chance of attaining bonus credits through completion of special projects. Grades are given according to how many credit a student has accumulated. A student can accumulate around 60 credits a year. The purpose of this system is to reduce the amount of corruption. Now unlike the previous system students are examined through test instead of oral examinations. Tests are taken several times for each subject in 1-2 month intervals. This system also has its problems, for example the interaction between students and professors has been decreased thence they get less help with projects , examinations are often criticized for being to hard or badly scheduled , etc.

Criticism by yours truly The educational system in Macedonia is by no means perfect. There are a lot of things I want to rant about here so here we go: The curriculum is poorly organized and executed Projects are never realized just promoted. A great example is the computer for every child project where every child got a computer on his desktop, but the schools never implemented them in class. They just sat there obstructing view of the chalkboard.

Textbook are outdated by decades, and are not made for use in most classes. Subjects cover a very broad range of information often considered unreasonable. Teachers are not properly trained to teach. Teachers don’t have authority in class and have no way of punishing bad behavior. Number of students in a single class is too damn high. In short : “Education , your doing it wrong”

What we can learn from other countries Highly trained teachers with short work hours helps (Finland) Smaller class sizes (everywhere) Equity between schools and students (Finland) Free education (common sense) Less testing (Finland) A more humanistic approach to education (Waldorf education) Actually implementing computers in education (most recently Estonia)

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