The education system in Macedonia constantly receives huge criticism from students, parents and even the teachers themselves. Everyone who partakes in Macedonia's education system, no matter what role they have, they know what needs to be changed. Martin Luther King once said that intelligence plus character is the goal of the education system, which is actually the purpose of teaching in the school.
I had the opportunity last summer to go on a youth exchange in my country with other high schoolers and students, and to tell you honestly it was an event that changed my perception on what the education system should be. Most of the points that were made at the event made me realize that our education system had many weaknesses and flaws that haven't been recognized by policymakers.
Everyone spoke on topics such as education, climate action, peace and justice. All of these speakers were either high schoolers or students and they had applied to be speakers for this event, and almost all of the information they used to form their arguments wasn't something that you can find in any conventional textbook, but instead was actually researched beyond.
One speaker that really caught my interest was Andrijana Pejchinovska, a student and a passionate debater, who asked some important questions that I would like to share: "What does it mean to have an education? Does it mean that we have a basic understanding of the field of science? Does it mean to shape people's brains to create a level of complete obedience?" Why is it that while we learn about ribosomes, we do not know how to care for our health or how to act in life-threatening situations? Consequently, after listening to her speech I felt enlightened about the whole situation and decided to approach her after to discuss further. In fact, that discussion turned out to be my inspiration to write this blog.
What Macedonia's education system lacks is a strategic plan on appropriate curricula for new generations. I believe that instead of the current received information, we should have classes on the voting system, how this process works and how to make our own arguments so we can make informed decisions. With these classes we can also be taught the basic laws of the country we are in. Another question to ask is why are there are no lectures on mental health and how to treat it, instead of encouraging the stigma against those who are dealing with it? In Western European countries there are psychologists in schools who are specially hired to do all of these duties and address these complex issues, while in Macedonia the people who hold the title of psychologist are given every other task but the one they are specialized in. In my opinion, the solution for this situation is to adopt a more pragmatic education system where, we would be educated about our basic human rights and be ready to respond in any situation presented to us. Similarly, something important to include in our education system is the program of job shadowing. This program will allow students to gain more knowledge about the practicality of different careers, and this will certainly help young people see what the future holds for them or whether that certain job or position is suited as a future career opportunity. I believe that the officials and policymakers who are specifically hired for the education system in Macedonia should dedicate more time in reforming the system and take a more modern approach in working on a more pragmatic education system for Macedonia.
I fully accept that I will graduate from the current education system, but let's try to make it better for the sake of our youth, for our country and for our future, because the next leaders in this country come from the current education system, so what we do today influences the country's future.
As a young Macedonian citizen, I call out the authorities to take measures to make our education system more practical!
Author: Jovica Jakonikj
Jovica is a young activist from Macedonia, who is passionate about youth policy, and environmental protection. Jovica, is the co-founder of the NGO Bezgrubrija, and is a member and activist for two NGOs, Youth Educational Forum(YEF) and YouthCan.
His passion about being involved in the community has been expressed though his participation in numerous activities organized within Macedonia and the Balkan Region. Some of the event he has participated include: The debate tournament EcoContest, EcoPatrol–NGO Zero Waste, Regional Youth Forum in NoviSad, and the 11th Euro–AtlanticCamp(REACT)etc.
Jovica, is a winner of the high school contest hosted by USAID for excellence in outlining a personal vision for Macedonia's future rewarded by US Ambassador to the Republic of Macedonia JessL. Baily.