In December 2019, the Ministry of Education and Science has established a national “Financing Expert Group” (FEG). FEG with the support of the project “Employment for Education in North Macedonia” (E4E@mk) and the European Training Foundation (ETF) are working on the development of models for more efficient funding of the vocational education and training that will be proposed for broader discussion related to the financing policies.
Following the first consultative workshop (December 2019), the issue of financing was raised and the existing analysis from three main aspects was shared: mobilization and resources allocation, as well as management of the financing chain. These aspects were analyzed through the aspects of cost and VET data. This was the basis for the second workshop (February 2020), which was focused on in-depth discussion of the aspects and identifying key issues and challenges.
Some of the identified key challenges in funding the vocational education and training in the Republic of North Macedonia are:
- Fiscal and institutional capacity of municipalities;
- Activities that generate income from the Vocational Education and Training Schools i.e. School capacities and motivation of the School principals for their development;
- How to allocate the resources and for what, which would be the most suitable current tools or their adjustment (funding formula, scholarships/tuition, student transportation, student dormitories);
- Most adequate and flexible use of the current tools (some tools can be used to implement the policy objectives, provided that timely information is acquired for the needs from an economic or social point of view);
- How to improve the student-teacher ratio in order to improve the efficiency of the system?
Support for FEG in the discussions and the group work was provided by the international consultants, Mr. Triin Lassi (Estonia) and Mr. Branko Kumer (Slovenia). The representatives from Estonia and Slovenia, Lassi and Kumer have shared the models of financing the vocational education and training in Slovenia and Estonia with a particular emphasis on mobilization, resource allocation and management, and provided detailed explanation of the key challenges in Estonia and Slovenia related to the key challenges in the financing of vocational education and training in the Republic of North Macedonia.
At the end of the workshop were discussed the roles, the challenges and the possible solutions for overcoming them in terms of the: business sector, schools and institutions in the system for vocational education and training at the state level. All parties involved in FEG and the training participants agree that the vocational education and training is an investment, but that it should be well planned and managed.
The “Employment for Education in North Macedonia” project continues to support initiatives that lead to improved conditions in the secondary vocational education and training and strengthen the cooperation with state institutions and key actors in the educational system.