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Nov 16, 2020

School’s Out: How Pandemic Derailed North Macedonia’s Education

The COVID-19 crisis has exposed just how unprepared Macedonia’s under-resourced school system was to deal with an emergency. It is reported that high school students who attended classes online during last school term from March to July with their mobile phones.

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Република Македонија/Republika Makedonija (The Republic of Macedonia) is a landlocked country in southeastern Europe. It is surrounded by Greece, Albania, Serbia, and Bulgaria. The population is 2,061,315; 64.2% Macedonian, 25.2% Albanian, 3.9% Turkish, 2.7% Roma, 4% other. The literacy rate is 96.1%. Macedonian is the official language and most-widely spoken. Albanian is also official language spoken by about 25% of the population.

The area of present day Macedonia has more than 2,500 years of complicated history. Its name is the oldest surviving country name on the European continent. By 300 BC, Philip II unified Macedonia. In the 9th century, the brothers Cyril and Methodius created the Slavic alphabet and promoted literacy. Macedonia was part of the Byzantine territory until it was conquered by the Ottoman Turks. The Treaty of London in 1913 following the First Balkan War partitioned Macedonia among Greece, Serbia, Bulgaria and Albania. Greece took the southern half of the country and renamed it Northern Greece. Serbia took the Vardar region and named it Southern Serbia, while Bulgaria took the Pirin region. The partitioning continued after World War I and the Vardar region was incorporated into the newly-formed Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

With the disintegration of Yugoslavia, a referendum for independence for Macedonia was approved on September 8, 1991. The Federal Republic of Macedonia was admitted to the United Nations in 1993.


Currently, the education system in Macedonia is overseen by the country's Министерство за образование и наука.

Primary and Secondary Education

Education is free and compulsory from ages 7 to 15. Elementary school begins at age 7 and is 8 years. Upon completion, students are awarded a Свидетелство за Завршено Основно Образовање/Svidetelstvo za zavreno osnovno obrazovanie.

Following elementary school, students can continue in a Tehnicki Ucilište (technical secondary school), Ucilište Za Zanimanja (vocational secondary school), art, music and ballet secondary school, or Gimnazija (general secondary school). All secondary schools are 4 years. Upon completion, technical secondary students are awarded a Svidetelstvo za zavreno sredno tehniko obrazovanie. Vocational secondary school students are awarded a Svidetelstvo za zavreno sredno obrazovanie za zanimaweto. Art, music and ballet secondary school students are awarded a Svidetelstvo za zavreno sredno umetni-ko/muzi-ko/baletsko obrazovanie. And general secondary school students are awarded a Svidetelstvo za zavreno sredno obrazovanie.

Post-Secondary Education

First and Second Cycles

The first level of university studies is 4 years and students are awarded a Диплома и Стручен Назив/Diplomiran. 1 to 2-year graduate programs award a Диплома и Стручен Назив Специалст/Специализациjа. Two-year graduate programs award a Диплома и Академски/Стручен Назив Магистер/Magister.

Third Cycle

Doctoral programs are at least 3 years for students who hold a Диплома и Стручен Назив/Diplomiran and at least one year for students who hold a Диплома и Академски/Стручен Назив Магистер/Magister for admission. Upon successful defense of a dissertation, students are awarded a Доктон на Науки/Doktor na Nauki.

Note: Macedonians who were educated prior to 1991 were part of the educational system of the former Yugoslavia.



Upcoming AACRAO Events

Crises as Catalysts for Transformation

Fall 2020 | virtual conference

Join us this fall for a virtual Strategic Enrollment Management Conference - Crises as Catalysts for Transformation: 2020’s Impact on Higher Education and Enrollment.

This three day, virtual conference will feature models for adapting to change, meeting challenges, and planning strategically post-pandemic.

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106th AACRAO Annual Meeting

March 28 - 31, 2021 | National Harbor, MD

AACRAO’s Annual Meeting is our largest convening of higher education professionals from around the world. Join more than 2,000 administrators in person or online as we work to address the issues facing today’s campuses, share goals and guidelines for meeting those challenges, and provide a forum for learning and sharing experiences.

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