Challenges and Recommendations for Improving Chemistry Education and Teaching in the Republic of North Macedonia

By Stojanovska, Marina; Mijić, Ivanka et al. | CEPS Journal : Center for Educational Policy Studies Journal, January 1, 2020 | Go to article overview

Challenges and Recommendations for Improving Chemistry Education and Teaching in the Republic of North Macedonia


Stojanovska, Marina, Mijić, Ivanka, Petruševski, Vladimir M., CEPS Journal : Center for Educational Policy Studies Journal


Introduction

Quality education and teaching is a prerequisite for the successful formation of pupils' knowledge. Therefore, different ways of improving the quality of education and teaching are constantly sought. A number of measures are taken to improve the quality of teaching and the overall development of the educational process in schools: improvement of the curriculum (Metz, 1997), continuous professional development of teaching staf through in-service education, training and advisory work (Watson, Steele, Vozzo, & Aubusson, 2007; Wilson, 2000), introducing information technology in teaching (Ardac & Akaygun, 2004; Barbour & Reeves, 2009; Carvalho-Knighton & Keen-Rocha, 2007), improving textbooks and other literature, improving working conditions and providing teaching and learning resources and other equipment (Vosnia-dou, Ioannides, Dimitrakopoulou, & Papademetriou, 2001), extending the duration of regular institutional education, as well as empowering pupils and developing self-education habits (Demirdogen & Cakmakci, 2014). Certainly, the teacher has a key role in overall educational work, especially in the planning, organisation and realisation of teaching, and thus in the process of forming conceptual, quality knowledge among pupils. This can be achieved through the teacher's professional preparedness and competences (Watson et al., 2007), the application of adequate methods, forms and techniques of work, the teacher's ability to teach and transfer knowledge, as well as by encouraging interactive pupil collaboration in thinking and in understanding learning and applying the acquired knowledge to solving problems in specific situations (Tytler, 2002).

The education system in North Macedonia acknowledges the need for and importance of 21st century skills within the context of science education, in order for pupils to be adequately prepared to participate in and contribute to today's society. Science education is therefore of tremendous importance for the country.

The aim of this study is to present the development of chemistry curricula in primary (6-14 years old), secondary (15-18 years old) and higher education (18+ years old) in North Macedonia throughout the years from its independence to the present day. Particular attention is devoted to the introduction of the new curricula of natural sciences and chemistry in primary education, which is an adapted curricula of the Cambridge International Examinations (CIE). Challenges and recommendations for improving chemistry education and teaching are ascertained.

General Overview of Education in North Macedonia

North Macedonia is trying to develop and implement the measures mentioned above for improving the quality of education and teaching in schools. The education system in North Macedonia is structured through different levels depending on the age, necessities and afnities of the pupils. The first level is preschool, which is optional, while primary education lasts for nine years. There is also primary music and ballet education, as well as primary education for pupils with special educational needs. The International Baccalaureate programme has been implemented in several primary schools, as well. Secondary education includes gymnasium (grammar school), vocational education, sports gymnasium, sports academy, secondary music and ballet education, and secondary art education. All of these are four-year models, although vocational education can last two, three or four years. Since 2007, secondary education has been compulsory for every citizen under equal conditions, as determined by the Law on Secondary Education (2017). Adult education is also available. Education at university level is the highest level in the education system.

Since primary education in Macedonia remained the same for more than a decade after the country's independence, it seemed appropriate to create and implement a new concept for primary education. …

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