Youth policy in Macedonia

The National Youth Strategy (2016-2025) followed with Action and Monitoring Plan is the main National Youth Policy document which sets out the basic principles and action guidelines for all actors in society. In September 2017, the Parliament of the Republic of Macedonia has established Club for youth issues and policies, based on the trend of the European Parliament and countries’ parliaments.

Currently there is no national Youth Law in Macedonia. In 2011, the Agency of youth and sports submitted initiative for developing Law on youth which addressed youth participation in decision making processes at local and national level and youth organizing. After approved by the Government, the Ministry of Justice formed working group and drafted text which was submitted to the Parliament. However, it was decided that the draft Law on Youth should be more widely consulted with the youth organizations throughout Macedonia, and therefore, the Government redraw the text to additional revision.

Youth are targeted with other legal acts such as: Law on secondary education, Law on higher education, Law on student standard, Law on Sports in Macedonia, Law on child protection (includes age of 15-18), Law on Juvenile Justice, Law for Justice for Children, Law on Volunteerism.

The Government of the Republic of Macedonia, recently (February 2016) adopted the second National Youth Strategy 2016 – 2025. The process of creating of the National Youth Strategy was coordinated by the Agency of youth and sports in collaboration with the UNDP office in Macedonia.

The National Youth Strategy 2016 – 2025 outlines 4 strategic objectives: 1. Providing a better standard of living and equal opportunities for a decent life. 2. Creating conditions for effective observance and protection of fundamental rights and freedoms, and systematic integration and interaction of different categories of young people. 3. Creating opportunities for the involvement of young people in the monitoring and implementation of policies and decisions that affect them. 4. Equal access to quality education and other forms of personal and professional development.

Youth Unemployment is the highest priority at country level since more than 50% of the young people in Macedonia aged 15 – 24 are unemployed. Therefore, the main target group of the Youth Policy within employment area are the unemployed youth, NEET groups, youth with disabilities (Specific Action Plan 2016 – 2020 for Youth Employment is operationalized in Macedonia and includes specific measures for young people and various sub-groups).

Education is included as one of the highest themes on youth policy in the country. Currently the Ministry of education and science is in process of developing new National Programme on Integrated Education which is based on evaluation on the previous such programme. The Government mostly collaborates with the USAID office in Macedonia in applying integrated education in the primary and secondary schools throughout the country.

The promotion of the cultural identity is one of the priorities in the National programme for development of education in Republic of Macedonia 2005-2015. The Ministry of education is creating educational system focused on the personal development of the individuals, taking into consideration the multicultural environment and the global context of living. Important aspect of the education should be the personal development through building awareness and respect for other countries and cultures.