Национална агенција за европски образовни програми и мобилност
Starting from 2019, for the first time, the Republic of North Macedonia is entering the EPALE family. The EPALE National Support Service will be operational in the frames of the National Agency for European educational programs and mobility (NAEEPM).
Established by the Law for National agency for European educational programmes in Republic of Macedonia in 2007, the NAEEPM functions as an independent governmental agency for implementation of European educational programs in the Republic of North Macedonia.
In the period 2008-2013, the NAEEPM implemented Lifelong Learning Programme and Youth in Action Programme, under Preparatory Measures. Starting from January 2014, within the Erasmus+ Programme when the Republic of North Macedonia become a program country, NAEEPM acts as a National agency for implementation of Erasmus+ in all respective fields: higher education, school education, VET, adult education (AE) and youth.
Our mission is to enhance cooperation, exchange and mobility in the field of education, training and youth, including those with special (educational) needs. By implementing the programs, the NAEEPM 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.
In recent years, within its scope of activities, the NAEOPM has become responsible for implementation of several networks, initiatives and numerous projects, such as: Euroguidance, eTwinning, Eurydice, Europass, Eurodesk, Youthwiki, ECVET, Study in North Macedonia, Youth@work, etc.
In our first years, our focus shall be to ensure wider outreach of adults in education by bringing EPALE closer to diverse target groups in AE/VET in the country, but as well, to wider public, aiming in raising awareness to not so “traditional” educational institutions to open learning opportunities for adult learners.
Given the complexity and diversity of the AE sector in the country, we would especially target: AE providers in general education, VET providers, research centres, employers and their associations which organize work-based educational opportunities for adults and policy-makers at local and national level.
Our promotional activities encompass regional and national events, seminars, building networks through participation in joint events in AE in the country, support to content production, enhance exchange of good practices among involved teachers, trainers and learners for our country with their colleagues from Europe, as well as building capacities of EPALE ambassadors and members of EPALE NSS team.
Our NSS is coordinated by the persons with extensive experience in implementation of related activities in Erasmus+, with relevant knowledge in national system of education and corresponding policies and sufficient knowledge in working with different IT tools and platforms.
Please contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org and follow us on Facebook: EPALE North Macedonia
Despite the long-lasting tradition of AE in the country, lack of resources, reduced motivation of some employers to invest in the training and development of their employees and a weak emerging private sector in education and training adversely affected the participation of the adults in lifelong learning. The learning supply is rather fragmented, imbalanced and strongly represented in the capitol area.
Low awareness of population about AE opportunities and benefits results in low motivation of adults to participate in lifelong learning. The data available from the State statistical office indicate that overall participation rate in education and training of the population aged 25-64 is estimated to 12,7% (compared to EU2020 set to 15%) of all adults in 2016 participated in certain educational activity. Big 76% of all adults involved in education and training live in urban areas, and only 24% from rural areas, 72% were involved in non-formal education, while 79% of all adults involved in education were employed, 14% unemployed and the rest were inactive.
The systemic approach towards AE and training began with the adoption of the Law on AE , followed by issuance (and/or amendments) of a number of sub-legal acts regulating the procedures for verification of AE programmes (non-formal education) and standards for AE institutions. In 2011 another legal act related to the sector, i.e. the Law for Open Civic Universities for Lifelong Learning was also adopted.
The priorities of the sector were defined in the Strategy for AE. In the period from 2011-13, Manual for verification of special programmes for adults and Rulebook for verification of AE institutions were drafted. Within the National Qualifications Framework establishment process, a catalogue of qualifications allowed for awarding through AE was prepared with reference to the European framework.
According to legislation, the strategic issues on development of adult education were assigned to the Council for AE, established to provide overall strategic direction for development of AE. Specialized institution - the Centre for Adult Education (CAE) – began its work in June 2009, with a mission to promote a functional Adult learning and education system (in line with EU standards) that provides high-quality learning opportunities for acquiring qualifications, increases employment and develops entrepreneurship, meets the needs of the labour market, contributing to economic, social and personal development of individuals.
Legislation on primary and secondary education provides only for ‘second chance’ opportunities for adults to complete primary school qualifications. National policies put strong accent in the process of verification of programmes for adult education, both leading to knowledge, skills and competences and leading to qualification/partial qualification.
Other relevant policy documents include:
- Education Strategy and action plan 2018-2025
- Adult Education Strategy 2016-2020
- Lifelong Learning Strategy 2017-2020
- Concept for Primary Education for Adults (UNDP, 2015)
- Concept Paper for Non-formal Adult Education and Informal Learning in the Republic of Macedonia (ETF, 2015)
The goal of AE and training is to secure opportunities for obtaining appropriate education levels to all and for all age groups, and to allow everyone to acquire knowledge, skills and attitudes which will be in concordance with the demands of society and the labour market.
Objectives of AE relate to:
- Completing at least compulsory education;
- Increasing chances for employment through different types of training for adults who have not completed first level of vocational qualifications;
- Conducting requalification and acquiring of new qualification, education and training for employed and unemployed adults;
- Providing education, knowledge and skills which correspond with personal abilities and age of the adults;
- Obtaining basic skills and competences which make the basis of the lifelong learning.
Until 2017, the CAE has validated approximately 160 programs and over 60 institutions were accredited as AE providers. However, verified AE programmes still represent only a small proportion of the non-formal AE programmes and courses on offer. The educational supply seems rather locally or in the best case nationally oriented, the AE providers still have limited access to international/European networks and flowingly, lack relevant information on the educational possibilities abroad.
There is no comprehensive system of АЕ funding in the country employers also do not enjoy any financial incentives to invest in AE and learning. Funding for AE and training is provided by the state budget (expenses of programmes for compulsory education for adults, for realization of programmes for secondary education of adults who have completed only primary education, for maintenance of institutions for AE funded by the state and expenses for monitoring, promoting and developing adult education), from the budgets of local authorities, from user charges of participants enrolled in AE and from other resources stipulated by Law, mainly donors funding.
Public institutions responsible for development of the policies in the AE sector are the Ministry of Education and Science, Adult Education Centre, Centre for Vocational Education and Training, Ministry of Labour and Social Policy, the Council for Adult Education, the local authorities i.e. the municipalities, and the social partners.
The AE activities can be performed by the public and private institutions for AE, training centers, social partners, job providers, associations and individual trainers that fulfill the provisions stipulated in the relevant laws. Hence, the current providers of AE services are:
- public and private specialized institutions for AE: open civic and workers universities, educational consulting companies, training centers, centers for ICT training, career guidance centers, language schools,
- primary schools and secondary schools for adults;
- labor and trade unions;
- job providers;
- chambers and associations;
- local authorities;
- professional bodies; and
There are other institutions and organizations, which in addition to their main function provide certain AE and training activities, such as: libraries, museums, publishing companies, cultural centres, etc. Larger private companies and corporations often provide for their employees contemporary training or other forms of continuous education.