03 September 2013
Category : Interview
Macedonia is a country undergoing profound changes, but it still maintains certain traditional ways. Spanish and French experts have helped to improve adult education and literacy and primary education over the course of 22 months. Through examples, they have demonstrated how progress can be made. The European Commission has invested nearly 1,800,000 Euros in improving adult education in Macedonia. Carmen Sainz, the Spanish Project Manager, talked to us about some of the things they have done over the course of these 22 months.
1 – Have the main project areas – adult education and literacy and primary education – been reinforced for socially excluded people?
A lot of progress has been made in various aspects. Adult education in Macedonia is still in the early stages; the only thing that had been achieved was to reduce education from 8 to 4 years, using the same books as for children and with teachers who are not specialised.
One of the major successes has been to train 16 teachers in adult education methods. These teachers then used this knowledge to teach 78 adults over 8 months.
2- Do any of the areas we’ve mentioned require special attention, or do they all require the same degree of involvement?
The two areas are equally important.
In adult education, we’ve focused on developing new professions and applying new methods to existing education systems.
In terms of literacy and primary education, by law, people in Macedonia who do not have a primary education certificate cannot obtain a driver’s licence or register as unemployed and, therefore, cannot take the adult education courses offered at job centres.
The objective is to raise awareness of the discrimination involved in this issue and the need to develop programmes that provide education more efficiently, facilitating access to both areas.
3- Are any of the programmes that were tested during this project currently active?
Two NGOs and the local council of a rural area with an Albanian majority are rolling out some of the literacy and primary education pilot projects.
Also, the ‘trainers of trainers’ have organised courses to be held throughout the country.
You could say that progress continues even though our work is done.
4- Do you think this project has changed the lives of Macedonians?
It has certainly changed the lives of the 78 people who participated in the literacy and primary education programmes. They’ve all asked for more courses and it’s clear that the programme has awakened their desire to continue learning.
That’s certainly the case with the 16 teachers, who have learned new teaching techniques, as well as with wine professionals, plumbing professionals, etc., who have also learned new work methods.
5- What is the target audience for these activities?
The activities focusing on literacy for socially excluded people include Romanies, Albanians with little education and minorities who have been left out of the system.
The employment-related activities have focused on jobless people looking to develop skills that will help them find a new job or professionals wishing to learn new methods.
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