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<nettime> university autonomy in macedonia
Novica Nakov on Tue, 23 Dec 2014 15:36:01 +0100 (CET)


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<nettime> university autonomy in macedonia


   Hi,

   I know there are many university people on nettime, so maybe someone
   would like to voice their support.

   Quoted text below:

   Over the past several years, the Macedonian government has been
   introducing a number of reforms at levels of education. Although
   presented as improvements of the historically woeful education system,
   students and teachers are finding the perpetual changes ineffective and
   counterproductive. There are growing concerns that some of these
   reforms represent governmental encroachment into the independence of
   the educational institutions, most notably the Universities. The latest
   set of changes pushed forward by the Government
   ([1]http://www.mon.gov.mk/index.php/2014-07-23-14-03-24/vesti-i-nastani
   /433-paket-reformi; in Macedonian but excerpts translated bellow)
   includes a particularly concerning Article on external state exam in
   bachelor and master programs as a mechanism of controlling advancement
   though the program and graduation.

   The implementation these changes to the Law for higher education will
   severely undermine the independence of Universities across the country.
   The Government, in effect, will strip Universities' of the power to
   independently grant bachelor and master degrees. Irrespective of how
   hard a student was working the previous two or four years, failure to
   secure the required score on the externally administered state exam
   will prevent them from graduating. Moreover, University curricula might
   have to be adjusted to ensure material for the external state exam is
   covered. Such a Law will represents a direct violation of the
   Fundamental Principles of the Bologna Declaration which Macedonian
   universities signed in 2003
   ([2]http://www.magna-charta.org/magna-charta-universitatum/the-magna-ch
   arta-1/the-magna-charta).

   These changes could shift the focus of University education from
   continued participation and study to concentrated bouts of preparation
   before the external state exam (âteaching the testâ). One would hope
   that grades will still matter to employers, but some students might no
   longer care about their GPA because they'll still be able to take the
   state exam as many times as they need or can afford. Moreover, since
   the same GPA from different universities does not mean equal, or even
   comparable, knowledge, the state exam could artificially equalize the
   strengths of students with vastly different knowledge, qualifications
   and potential. There is risk that the core principles of higher
   education are diminished to memorization for multiple-choice questions
   from a publicly available database (see translation of bellow). Thus,
   instead of improving University education in Macedonia, these
   amendments to the Law of higher education might have the exact opposite
   effect.

   In response to this proposal university and high-school students have
   organized two rallies to protests the proposed changed. At the last
   protest (December, 10th) several thousand students walked from the main
   State University campus though down-town Skopje to the Government
   building. Notably, this three-hour walk through the city was
   accompanied by malfunctions in the mobile Internet service of the three
   major providers in Macedonia hampering cell-phone and social media
   communication during the protest. Meanwhile, the Government has been
   ignoring the students' appeals maintaining that the protests are
   motivated by the opposition and foreign NGOs. The proposed changes
   remain scheduled for implementation in 2016.

   Please consider sending a note of support to Student Plenum, the group
   of students organizing the protests (Facebook:
   [3]https://www.facebook.com/pages/СÑÑденÑÑки-ÐленÑм/155384099
   8179517; Twitter:  {AT} studentplenum1) and/or send an appeal to the
   Minister of Education and Science, Mr Abdulakim Ademi (email:
   [4]contact {AT} mon.gov.mk), encouraging his office and the Government to
   reconsider their proposal.

   Bellow are portions of the amendments document translated English. The
   whole document is available in Macedonian (not yet in Albanian) here:
   [5]http://www.mon.gov.mk/index.php/2014-07-23-14-03-24/vesti-i-nastani/
   433-paket-reformi. Explanations in () were added by me.

   Recommendations for changing and amending the law for higher education
   â¦
   Article 4
   After article 69, a new article 69-a is added named:
   âState examâ
   Article 69-a

   In order to check the technical ability of students for independent
   application of the acquired knowledge, abilities and skills learned in
   the study program, a state exam will be held during the progam and at
   the of the final year for students enrolled in the first and second
   cycle of studies. (the cycles refer to bachelor and master studies)
   The state exam will be administered by the Committee of accreditation
   and evaluation of the higher education.

   The state exam is taken after completion of the second year, or earlier
   if the student has completed 50% of the total number of courses in the
   particular study program, and after completion of the final study year,
   but before the defense of any diploma thesis, if the program requires
   preparation and defense of diploma thesis. (for bachelor studies)
   â¦
   Students enrolled in the second cycle of studies, will take the state
   exam at the end of the last study year. (for master studies)
   The first two attempts at taking the state exam are free of charge.
   If the student does not pass the state exam two times in a row, the
   following attempts are charged to the student, 1000 denars for the
   third attempt, 6000 denars for the fourth and 12000 denars for every
   next attempt. ($1 US is approximately 45 Macedonian denars)
   The state exam contains five questions of varying difficulty for each
   course from each study year. Each questions has four offered solutions
   one of which is the correct answer.
   â¦
   The electronic (testing) system from part 8 of this Article (previous
   untranslated paragraph) contains a publicly available database of
   questions in the area of key subjects for the requirements of the state
   exam.
   â¦
   The state exam is taken in an exam room, equipped with technical and
   informatics equipment, Internet connection, and equipment for recording
   the exam.

   Students are informed of the date and time of the state exam at least
   three days prior to the administration of the exam.

   The exam is recorded and broadcast live on the web page of the Ministry
   responsible for higher education. If, due to technical reasons the
   recording is aborted, the recording of the entire exam is uploaded to
   the web page of the Ministry responsible for higher education. (They
   probably meant âif, ⦠the broadcast is aborted, ...â)
   â¦
   quoted text ends.

   -- n.

References

   1. http://www.mon.gov.mk/index.php/2014-07-23-14-03-24/vesti-i-nastani/433-paket-reformi
   2. http://www.magna-charta.org/magna-charta-universitatum/the-magna-charta-1/the-magna-charta
   3. https://www.facebook.com/pages/%D0%A1%D1%82%D1%83%D0%B4%D0%B5%D0%BD%D1%82%D1%81%D0%BA%D0%B8-%D0%9F%D0%BB%D0%B5%D0%BD%D1%83%D0%BC/1553840998179517
   4. mailto:contact {AT} mon.gov.mk
   5. http://www.mon.gov.mk/index.php/2014-07-23-14-03-24/vesti-i-nastani/433-paket-reformi

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