The Education ministry of the Republic of Macedonia and the Macedonian teachers' organization, SONK, have reached an agreement on the country's school reform plans.
After an 11-day-strike earlier this year, the Macedonian government decided to withdraw a performance pay scheme as part of its national standardised testing program, a move welcomed by SONK. Education International (EI) General Secretary Fred van Leeuwen and The European Trade Union Committee for Education(ETUCE) Vice President Walter Dresscher, who both met with the Education Minister Mr. Abdilaqim Ademi and the Deputy Minister Mr. Spiro Ristovski, on 2 June in Skopje, stressed the importance of the involvement of the Macedonian education union in the development of future school reform plans.
"Improving education quality to help the country develop economically, socially and democratically, and to ensure the best possible educational opportunity for every child, are goals shared by governments and teachers' organizations alike," said Van Leeuwen.
Dresscher stressed the importance of giving classroom teachers the professional space that will enable them to perform at their best. He also said that "peer review" had proven to be the most effective teacher evaluation method and warned that "standardised testing does not necessarily improve education quality. At best it is a snapshot of students' achievement".
SONK President, Jakim Nedelkov, and the union's General Secretrary, Vesna Nedelkovska, said that the teachers of Macedonia have been very worried about the reforms, but that the dialogue, which now has been established with the government, will help regain their members' confidence in the reform process. The minister assured the EI/ETUCE delegation that the reforms are to strengthen the teaching profession and will be carried out in consultation with them.
Photo: from left to right: Vesna Nedelkovska, SONK GS, Education Minister Mr. Abdilaqim Ademi, Fred van Leeuwen, Education International General Secretary, Deputy Minister Mr.Spiro Ristovski, Walter Dresscher,ETUCE Vice President,and SONK President, Jakim Nedelkov