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Conversation about introducing standards implies a serious approach to the processes, quality work and ensuring the presence of a system with a person responsible for the performance. The Qualification Standard has shown that we are seriously considering ensuring quality in the qualification of the individual for everyday life and quick and easy adaptation to the job, which is also the focus of the European Commission. The Standards proscribe all of the criteria, methods and opportunities for acquiring qualification. This signifies that knowledge, skills and competences ought to be visible to be recognized by the employer. If the requirements and criteria of the Qualification Standards are not fulfilled, we cannot speak of capable quality workforce that meets the real requirements and of any trust in such workforce. 

Analyses of the European Training Foundation concerning the workforce in our country have determined a poor level of primary skills in individuals, skills that are acquired with the completion of primary education and Level I Qualification from the National Qualifications Framework, where the employers pay the price of this shortcoming. It is by no coincidence that we reacted in the previous text that the Law on Primary Education should not be adopted without Qualification Standard that will lay down the functional knowledge and basic skills that need to be acquired, and that the curriculum must be founded on the Qualification Standards. This warrants a reaction of the relevant institutions as well.

Development of a Qualification Standard is a process that includes many participants and one that improves communication between education and the real sector. Likewise, it reflects the requirements of the employers, the learning requirements and the requirements for assessment of learning and thereby, it provides a direction to the curriculum toward acquiring skills and competences according to the real conditions and acquiring relevant qualification in accordance with the labor market requirements. The Standard is an answer to the questions everybody poses: What can the student do and what is the student qualified for upon employment? What is he or she supposed to theoretically and practically learn to be able to work efficiently? How can we be sure the student learned and is able to work efficiently with the acquired qualification upon employment? The answer can be found in an Occupational Standard, part of the Qualification Standard, which lays down the employers’ requirements concerning the performance of the assignments resulting from a certain work process of the very occupation. This also provides information to the students about the job description and ensures that qualifications are relevant to the requirements of the real sector and the needs of the labor market. The Western Balkan countries as well, such as Montenegro, Serbia, Kosovo etc., understood this necessity and work with commitment in this regard. 

In our country, we completed the activities related to the standards. The only thing remaining is to introduce them to the legislation to facilitate the implementation process. What remains is to raise the awareness that capable and qualified workforce with suitable education and training represents a key factor for the business community and has a direct impact on the economy and market. This would imply that delivery of education and training according to the relevant requirements, especially regarding vocational education and training, results in economic progress and sustainability. If every one of us channels the energy properly, we can expect changes. 

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