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Decentralisation and the Provision of Primary and Secondary Education in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

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image of International Journal on Minority and Group Rights

This article examines whether devolving responsibility for the provision of public services such as education in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia can satisfy the demands of non-majority groups for greater autonomy over their own affairs. How education systems are designed and delivered is of particular importance to minority ethnic communities since education is crucial for reproducing (and re-creating) the identity of a group. Without the transmission of the aspects of their identity through education, non-majority cultures may disappear. The review begins with the principal arguments in favour of and against devolving responsibility for the provision of education to local communities. An assessment of the Macedonian education system prior to decentralisation follows, accompanied by a discussion of the decentralisation reforms introduced in 2005. Three key theoretical arguments will then be considered within the Macedonian context: (a) whether decentralisation facilitates the provision of heterogeneous local public services; (b) decentralisation’s ability to enhance participation and transparency in decision-making regarding the delivery of services; and (c) whether decentralisation ensures a more equitable and transparent distribution of public resources. The article argues that the decentralisation of primary and secondary education to the municipal level in Macedonia has enabled local communities to more effectively meet the diverse needs of citizens. Persistent challenges, unless adequately addressed, may however undermine the benefits of reform in the longer term.

Affiliations: 1: Post-Doc, Division of Peace Studies, University of Bradford, UK


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