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Macedonia ratified the NATO Accession Protocol. Only Spain remains to ratify the Treaty for our country to officially become the 30th member of the Alliance. The expectations from the membership are manifold – stability, security, new investments.

Montenegro is one such example that successfully combined NATO membership with a growth of investments. In June 2017, the country became a NATO member. The same year, Montenegro had foreign investments of 96.6 million euro (data from the Central Bank of Montenegro), which is 45 times the figure in 2015, when the investments were 2 million euro.
Speaking of investments, new investments open possibilities for new jobs, both in quality and quantity. Considering the latest trend of labor shortage, which unfortunately ails both the domestic and foreign companies nowadays, it is hard to be attractive for new investments as a country.

The educational reforms we constantly talk about are not yet visible to the companies. The disparity between the qualifications offered by education and the requirements of the labor market is still great. According to the data of the Employment Service Agency of RN Macedonia (Survey on the skills required in the labor market of the Republic of North Macedonia for 2020), people with lower qualification degree are in highest demand, fairly 46.9%. The Economic Chamber of Macedonia has seen the same results in the survey conducted among its member companies (Analysis of the projected occupations in the seven key sectors of qualifications).

Students that finish school do not possess professional skills, which results from the poor-quality practical training of the students carried out in the schools instead of in real working conditions in the companies. The standing sparse interest of the business sector to admit students to its companies for practice is due to, according to the assessments, the vague legal regulation or the overly complicated implementation procedures.

The absence of professional orientation for the students as far as primary school impels the younger generations to see their future in higher education, which does not mean that they will immediately secure employment in accordance with their higher education qualification. According to the data of the State Statistical Office, 53,677 students in total have enrolled for the 2018-2019 academic year, whereas the number of students in the regular secondary schools in the 2018-2019 academic year amounts to 71,650, 42,958 of which followed vocational education and 29,880 attended gymnasium (general education) and arts education. The correlation of graduated students with those that immediately enroll in higher education is not low, which contributes to difficulties in finding suitable qualified workforce with secondary vocational education, with knowledge, aptitude and skills.

Developed countries also faced similar problems in the past. However, practice has shown that the developed countries such as Germany, Austria and Switzerland had a strategy to overcome this problem through establishment of functional vocational education and introduction of dual system of education. This is carried out through theory classes that are conducted at school and practical classes held in the companies. The companies know their goal, they are clearly planning and expressing their requirements concerning the qualifications and occupations they necessitate in order to successfully operate and, in cooperation with the vocational schools, they are developing flexible curricula to achieve the established goal.
However, more on that in the upcoming texts.

P.S. Solutions do not come out of a clear blue sky; they need to be deliberated through joint cooperation of every factor.

Natasha Janevska, M.A
Project manager in the Economic Chamber of North Macedonia