CONFERENCE ON THE TOPIC: PROMOTION OF THE ANALYSIS OF MACEDONIAN PARTICIPATION IN ERASMUS+ - POTENTIALS AND LIMITATIONS.

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Thursday, May 23, 2019

On May 23, 2019 in the hotel Holiday Inn, a conference took place on the topic: Promotion of the analysis of the Macedonian participation in Erasmus+ - Potentials and Limitations.

At the Conference, a panel discussion was held on lessons learned from the current experience in Erasmus+.

The first part of the analysis provides an overview of the policy framework in which the projects of the decentralized actions of Erasmus plus are implemented, and in the second part the analysis of the data from the questionnaire is presented, by presenting the answers received for the individual questions from the users of Erasmus+ projects.

Erasmus plus is, as it was pointed out, the most visible and most recognizable European program that directly supports the development of human potentials at the European level.

Since 2014 this program provides for equal participation of the Republic of North Macedonia with the EU Member States, as well as cooperation among citizens from many countries in the fields of education, youth and sports.

At the promotion opening addresses were given by:

-      The Director of the National Agency for European Educational Programs and Mobility, Ms. Lidija Dimova;

-      The Executive Director of the Open Society Foundation of Macedonia, Ms. Fani Karanfilova-Panovska and

-      The Head of the the Education and Gender Program at the Delegation of the European Union to the Republic of North Macedonia, Ms. Sophie Beaumont.

The panel discussion was opened by Mr. Marijan Stepanovski from Eurothink, with a keynote address for the National Agency for European Educational Programs and Mobility and the Erasmus+ Program.

To the director of the National Agency for European Educational Programs and Mobility, Ms. Lidija Dimova, he asked a question about the cooperation of the National Agency with the civil sector.

Director Dimova, in her response, noted that the Agency so far has not been known enough and that synergy is needed to increase the outreach, since from the building of such synergies will benefit both the NA and civil society.

She also mentioned the three synergies that are developed and will be completed by 2020 with the National Youth Council of Macedonia, the Youth Council Krusevo and the Joint Seminar with a think tank organization from London.

The Executive Director of the Open Society Foundation of Macedonia, Ms. Fani Karanfilova-Panovska, said that the civil sector should encourage the institutions to make reforms and use all the funds that are a key factor for the European integration.

In relation to the percentage of utilization of Erasmus and IPA funds, she noted that the utilization rate is increasing, but it is still not satisfactory.

Regarding the Education Strategy, which was made by the Ministry of Education and Science, Ms. Karanfilova-Panovska stated that the European funds and the Erasmus+ program in it are not sufficiently represented.

She also made several recommendations regarding the need to make an Internationalization Strategy for Education at all levels, to invest more in the capacities of the National Agency (human and financial), to assist applicants in terms of the application process, then amend the Law of the National Agency, as well as to strengthen the Agency's Management and Supervisory Board and so on.

The Head of the Education and Gender Program at the Delegation of the European Union to the Republic of Northern Macedonia, Ms. Sophie Beaumont, said that, of course, with the increase of Erasmus+ funds, the capacities of the National Agency should be increased as well and that the Erasmus+ program has an added value in EU.

At the same time, she made several recommendations in terms of outreach to include vulnerable categories of people, teachers from smaller cities, sharing good examples and sharing good practices.

In addition, Ms. Beaumont also mentioned the good cooperation that they have with the National Agency for European Educational Programs and Mobility.

In the second part of the conference, Mr. Aleksandar Kolekeski, the head of Eurothink and author of the Analysis of the Macedonian Participation in Erasmus+ - Potentials and Limitations, gave a brief overview of the analysis and explained it with all the elements.

He has also mentioned the notes and recommendations.

The conference was concluded with a fruitful discussion whereby participants asked questions to all panelists to whom they were answered.

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