Financing WBL in the Republic of North Macedonia
The Ministry of Education and Science mostly covers the costs of financing in vocational education, based on the work programs and the annual budget approved by the Government, in accordance with the Law on Budget of the Republic of Macedonia, the Law on Implementation of the Budget of the Republic of Macedonia (for the current year) and the Law on Funding the Local Self-Government Units. Private schools are funded by the founder and co-funded by the students.
Financing of VET schools follows a methodology for establishing criteria for allocation of block/lump sum grants for secondary education to municipalities and the city of Skopje. The municipalities receive block grants from the Ministry of Education and Science which are in general used for salaries, student transportation and heating costs. Part of the funds is allocated to development issues. Part of the operational costs is covered by the schools themselves or by the respective municipality.
It is also possible to enter the private capital in education, and it refers to the functioning of private schools through: tuition fees for students in private schools, donations, project activities, participation in various programs, etc. The main feature of the funding system is that allocation for education does not adequately cover all of its needs, for example, the means for professional development of teachers are more than symbolic and are constantly decreasing. School dissatisfaction is focused on lack of funds for development issues, equipment and consumables. In the context of the still centralized financing of secondary education, most of the additional funds for meeting the needs of schools and employees are received by the donors.
In addition to funding allocated from the state budget, VET receives additional funds through projects, most often implemented by international donors, and special funds from different Government ministries. Some schools organize income generating activities, such as training for outside users, provision of diverse services and production and sale of products. Unfortunately, such practices are rare.
Greater efforts are needed to achieve a diversity of financial sources and schemes, and to develop mechanisms for their use “as cost sharing models among different partners in the educational process – the state, business sector and individuals, foundations and associations – with that public funding helps establish complementary private sector funding.”
In the context of delegating competencies at the local level, local self-government should be encouraged and, on its part, be interested, to provide additional resources to support the local development of vocational education, and companies “should increase investment in the initial VET namely through involvement in alternative training models, but also through the support of schools with appropriate equipment. ”
VET teachers are funded by the MoES. VET school facilities and equipment are mainly funded by the municipalities. Only a small part of the equipment in the VET schools is funded by the MoES. Teaching and learning materials are mainly funded by the MoES.
All costs for use of equipment in companies are covered by the company that offers WBL.
All expenses for the mentors (working time of in-company trainers) are covered by the company that offers WBL.
The transport of learners from VET schools to and from companies is not regulated and depends on the good awareness of companies.
Learners are not covered by health insurance but they are insured against injuries through the VET school.
There are no public funds provided for the assessment of WBL – assessment of learners (material, assessors, etc.). Company mentors participate in the assessment of learners.
There are no incentives provided by the state or other public institutions/entities. Article 15 of the VET law allows for the provision of company incentives for WBL (The employer has the following rights: to benefit from financial, customs and tax incentives prescribed by the Law). Some companies which participated in pilot projects benefited from incentive schemes.