02/01/2023 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 02/01/2023 08:40
SKOPJE, 1 February 2023 - The Head of the OSCE Mission to Skopje, Kilian Wahl, and North Macedonia's Minister of Education and Science, Jeton Shaqiri, signed two agreements today to improve integrated education for children of different communities within the country.
"We are creating a framework for co-operation in integrated education and inter-culturalism as part of our joint efforts to improve quality education for all," said Wahl. "Our joint projects with the Ministry provide a unique opportunity for school communities of different languages to work together, improving social cohesion throughout North Macedonia."
The activities in the Memoranda of Understanding agreements are expected to include grants to schools across the country for curricular classes jointly conducted between partner schools using different languages of instruction, as well as continuing the Mission's support for bilingual classes for high school students in Skopje, which is also part of an initiative by the City of Skopje in select schools.
"The Ministry of Education and Science is determined to promote quality education and necessary reforms at all levels: primary, secondary and higher. A crucial aspect in our context is the multicultural and multilingual background of our students and communities. We must nurture and promote this as a value, which it truly is. We appreciate the co-operation with the OSCE, from which many students have benefited directly," said Minister Shaqiri.
The agreements signed today build on two programmes the Mission has supported for almost a decade to assist North Macedonia with strengthening social cohesion and integrated education. The first is a pilot programme initiated by the city of Skopje in 2018 for bilingual classes for high schools students. The second is the 'Building New Bridges' project that initially provided grants for joint extracurricular activities for students in different languages and now will be providing grants to schools for joint classes for students in different languages. These programmes have already helped more than 35,000 students and teachers across different communities in North Macedonia.