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The Independent Academic Union on 21 November 2021 (Sunday) in Hotel “Karpoš”, organized the public presentation of the public policy document entitled “Quality of teaching in higher education and science and conditions for higher standards.” The public policy document was prepared within the project “Quality of teaching in higher education” by the expert team of the Independent Academic Union. The authors of the document are prof. Petar Atanasov, PhD, prof. Bojana Naumovska PhD, and Assoc. Jovan Bliznakovski, PhD.

Within the promotion, the introductory speech was given by prof. Petar Atanasov, PhD, emphasized the essential role of the academic sphere for the stability of the country and for social development. The document was presented by prof. Bojana Naumovska PhD, and Assoc. Jovan Bliznakovski, PhD, where it was emphasized that within the research project “Quality of teaching in higher education”, several analytical and research activities were conducted such as: surveys, focus groups and comparative research. The topics that were researched cover the more important aspects of higher education and scientific activity. The academic staff surveyed 400 professors and assistants from the faculties and 51 professors from the scientific institutes and public scientific institutions from four state universities and one private university.

According to the research results, our academic staff devotes a lot of time to scientific research work and teaching (lectures, exercises and consultations), and less to administrative work. The majority of professors and assistants who teach in the first cycle work with groups of up to 30 students per subject, and one-third of them usually work with larger groups of 31 to 100 students.

In terms of access to professional literature, the least allocations are recorded in the country, followed by the university and the unit, which shows that most of the required literature is fully provided by the professors (69.2%).

As the research showed, the situation with the financing of scientific, applied and artistic projects by the state and the private sector remains poor. The fact that 77.9% of the academic staff from the artistic activities in the last 5 years has not realized an art project is defeating. In the context of what is sought as achievement and what is offered as opportunities and conditions, the general view is that only mediocrity is provided, and greater success and achievement, as well as greater motivation, require much greater investment and appropriate commitment on the part of the state.

According to the research, one of the most important issues that should be continuously addressed is the care for the construction of young teaching and scientific staff: their employment, training, advancement, funding of their research, support for the publication of their papers, as well as their promotion in a significant and valuable part of our academic and social reality.

Viewed from the aspect of improving the quality of teaching, in accordance with the results obtained from all research activities, several conclusions and specific proposals were singled out:

    1. Conclusion: The lack of continuous funding for new jobs and the termination of a job with the departure of retired professor results in an overload of the existing staff and a reduction in the quality of teaching in higher education.

    Recommendation: With the retirement of members of the teaching-scientific staff, their jobs should not be lost, and the Ministry of Education and Science should continue to finance a certain job immediately after the appointment of the new teacher who will succeed the retired colleague.

    1. Conclusion: In the Ministry of Education and Science, for a long period of time, large budgets are allocated for scholarships abroad for all three cycles of studies, and at the same time there is no scholarship for domestic education. As a result of this policy, a large number of young people are leaving the country.

    Recommendation 1: Introduction of scholarships for the second and third cycle of studies for talented students in all fields.

           Recommendation 2: Provide full scholarships for young research staff employed at universities.

    1. Conclusion: The working conditions, according to the data from the survey questionnaire as well as the realized focus groups, are marked as inadequate / insufficient. In addition to the basic working conditions, the specific equipment for teaching is largely missing.

    Recommendation: Providing the basic conditions and specific equipment for teaching.

    1. Conclusion: The data from the comparison of the different segments of the educational process, before and in conditions of a pandemic, show a significant decline in the quality of teaching in almost all aspects in conditions of a pandemic.

                  Recommendation 1: Take all available measures to return to the conditions that mean the realization of teaching with a physical presence.

                  Recommendation 2: If certain faculties would like to continue working online for practical reasons, set a minimum physical attendance (50-60%).

    1. Conclusion: The allocations for science by the state are inadequate. Access to relevant professional literature and participation in conferences is largely the responsibility of the academic staff.

    Recommendation 1: Mandatory funding of scientific research work by the Ministry of Education and Science and the Government.

    Recommendation 2: Establishment of a fund for financing the scientific research work by the economy.

    1. Conclusion: The staff in higher education is not at all satisfied with the allocations for their salaries by the state. Adequate evaluation of the teaching-scientific and collaborating staff is a prerequisite for quality teaching and science.

    Recommendation: Increase the salaries of the employees in higher education (and equalize the salaries of the Macedonian academic staff with the salaries of the academic staff in the countries in the region).

Within the project “Quality of Teaching in Higher Education” implemented by the Independent Academic Union, three public policy documents were prepared, as follows: (1) a public policy document entitled “Improving the quality of higher education – student perspectives” which was publicly presented at the promotion held in Hotel “Karpoš” on Thursday, 18 November 2021 starting at 11.00, (2) public policy document “Quality of teaching in higher education and science and conditions for higher standards” which was publicly presented at the promotion held at the Hotel “Karpoš” on Sunday, 21 November 2021 starting at 11.00 and (3) public policy document “Public presence of academic staff and higher education institutions and their impact on the community” which will be publicly presented at the promotion to be held at Hotel “Karpoš” on Saturday, 27 November 2021 starting at 11.00. The project “Quality of Teaching in Higher Education” is funded by the Foundation Open Society Macedonia, and implemented by the Independent Academic Union’s expert team.


23 November 2021