Primary Education in Macedonia
The Hague Institute for Global Justice, with the support of the Embassy of Switzerland in Macedonia is leading a six-month research project that will look at how education can promote the protection of minority rights and the integration of society and prevent violent conflict in the Republic of Macedonia.
The main assumption, which this study seeks to test and refine, is that education can contribute to a balance of the protection of minority rights and the integration of society, which in turn is crucial to preventing violent conflict. This policy-oriented study will also investigate how changes in the strategic areas of minority language education, history education, and decentralization—as identified by the The Hague Recommendations Regarding the Education Rights of National Minorities—have affected the protection of minority rights and the integration of society in Macedonia.
Since its independence in 1991, the Republic of Macedonia has faced challenges in ensuring the rights of minorities while simultaneously achieving an integrated society. The violent conflict that broke out in 2001 led to the Ohrid Framework Agreement, which, amongst others, stipulated a framework for the protection of minority rights (through ensuring education in the mother tongue, non-divisive history teaching, and the decentralization of the education system), while simultaneously seeking the promotion of a shared sense of belonging and a civic identity. However, the education system remains divided along ethnic and linguistic lines and efforts to protect the ethnic and cultural identity of the different communities have not been balanced by equal efforts to promote their mutual understanding and integration.
The project methodology comprises a combination of desk research and primary research, designed in consultation with experienced local partners who will be primarily in charge of data collection. The findings of the study will be presented in a project report, which will also present a series of recommendations to stakeholders on how a balance can be achieved between protection and integration, including an examination of challenges and opportunities for strengthening implementation.