Young people in the Republic of North Macedonia are a category of citizens that the state rarely looks at separately from other categories of citizens. Even when it comes to creating policies for young people, the state more often has a unified approach instead of putting in perspective the needs of young people with different backgrounds, such as young people from rural and small towns, young people with disabilities and young people from low-income families.
Having this in mind, it is easy to assume that young people whose “measures” are not included in policies and solutions have fewer choices when it comes to educational opportunities, opportunities for personal development and advancement, opportunities for self-expression, and participation in cultural events. The lack of properly created policies for young people in the field of education, employment or social protection, the low functionality of the institutions, contribute to increasing the rate of youth emigration from the Republic of North Macedonia.
Emigration, dissatisfaction, as well as the lack of communication for active involvement of young people in the democratic process, are all part of the factors that affect the stagnation of the social capital of young people in our country over the last ten years. The absence of modern policies, strategies and documents that will advance the position of young people, through their effective involvement in decision-making in the educational process, at local and national level is something that has been challenged over the years by education, local and national authorities.
In order to contribute to the promotion of youth policies and youth information, the Youth Education Forum conducted one of the few, if not the only research that analyzes the needs and opportunities of young people in the Republic of North Macedonia according to the number of inhabitants in their settlement and planning regions in the country, providing specific data that the competent authorities should take into account when creating policies. The research “Youth (un)equal opportunities and needs – Research on the challenges and needs of young people according to the size of the place of residence” was prepared with the financial support of the Foundation Open Society – Macedonia within the concept Education of the smaller ethnic communities.
The research was presented to the public at an event held on December 22, where the author of the research, Professor Natasa Stanojkovska Trajkovska spoke in more detail about the findings of the research, while the recommendations arising from the research were presented by Petar Barlakovski from YEF.
The research is an important document that presents the perceptions of young people about the challenges and problems in the country in relation to living standards, education, culture, entertainment and sports, youth participation, and other issues of interest to young people. What distinguishes this research from other research conducted on young people and their standard of living is that the research, among other things, aims to detect key differences in young people’s perceptions of specific areas depending on the size of their place of residence. With this, the readers, the public, but more importantly the competent institutions – central and local – will have a detailed insight into the key problems and challenges that keep young people in all 8 planning regions in the country, the differences between young people depending on the size of their place of living, i.e. the differences between young people living in urban and those living in rural areas.
After the presentation of the research, a discussion was developed at the event by the invited representatives of the institutions, as follows: Monika Zajkova, Member of the Parliament of the Republic of N. Macedonia, Evgenija Janakieska, Youth Officer at the Ministry of Education and Science and Gjorgji Tasev, Advisor for Youth and Youth Policy in the Government of the Republic of N. Macedonia.
—————————————————23 December 2021