Support Decentralization of Education in Macedonia

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Project Goal:
Effective implementation of the educational decentralization improved Macedonia education system.

Project Strategic Objective:
SO1: Educational improvement initiatives have addressed the local educational needs of the primary schools

Timeframe:
Start Date: 1 October 2005 / Completion Date: 30 September 2006

Funding: Catholic Relief Services (CRS) www.catholicrelief.org

Project stakeholders:
Four municipalities from Strumica region, Regional Municipal Educational Body representatives, primary schools from Strumica region

Project summary:
A strong democracy requires responsible government and informed citizens, with capacity to share views and work together during decision-making process and resolving local community problems. The proposed project aimed to strengthen the communication between citizens and local government by ensuring that citizens and municipality officials have capacity to build confidence, trust and work together on projects for overall educational development. Project efforts targeted at key municipality officials and local educational stakeholders in Strumica region. Implemented activities influenced attitudes and behavior through changes in relationships between municipalities and schools, ensuring equal participation of all relevant stakeholders in education decentralization process whilst ensuring future initiatives have developed action plans and get support from all relevant local structures.

This project relied on civic participation methodologies, through building trust, combating political influences and protecting citizen rights in aim to strengthen active cooperation between government and citizens. This project helped building capacities, raising awareness and teaching responsible governance and citizenship, leading to a stronger civil society.

The expected outcome from this project was that both citizens and government have the skills to participate together in building links for effective educational improvement, while exercising their rights, accepting responsibilities and holding authorities accountable and transparent.

MCEC targeted 4 municipalities in Strumica region and worked intensively through the program for strengthening the communication between municipalities and schools, supporting participatory approach in decision-making processes while addressing educational needs priorities and establishing procedures for government-school cooperation. The project was finalized with adoption of the educational policies for government-school cooperation, which as planned are going to be used by other municipalities as a model to support their educational decentralization processes.

Results:
1. Municipalities and primary schools have begun cooperating over the issues of primary schools.
The cooperation between schools and municipalities over issues of primary schools in Strumica region was strengthened and the educational policies for government-school cooperation were adopted. Also, the produced policies are expected to be used by other municipalities as a model to support their educational decentralization processes.

2. Municipal officials and education stakeholders are using the problem solving skills gained throughout the project.
The project activities provided skills building and methodologies to the targeted project participants to enhance their capacity to successfully address educational issues at a municipal level. MCEC supported activities on identification and prioritization of school issues on municipal level, as well as provided small grants to 4 schools in order to address educational priorities. MCEC also organized Fundraising training for school representatives from the targeted municipalities and support schools through Regional Municipal Educational Body representatives to develop School Action Plans.