Hundreds of Macedonian schools are involved in USAID projects that are helping them provide a better educational environment. USAID has been helping bring computers to Macedonian classrooms.
Thirteen schools in Macedonia are getting new roofing, toilets, heating systems, lighting, doors and windows with US funding. USAID has donated US$600,000 for restoration of the school buildings in Tearce, Bosilovo, Kriva Palanka and Debarca. The renovation is being carried out through the USAID project for assisting decentralisation in Macedonia. As part of the decentralisation process, school management has been transferred to municipalities.
The agency also has been introducing new teaching methods, drawn from the USAID Creative Teaching and Learning (CTL) programme. The curriculum, introduced after the sophomore year, is now in 18 secondary and 45 primary schools. A total of 1,025 teachers participated and, following intensive training, are now implementing new interactive teaching methods in their classrooms. Teachers now have e-access to international issues, literature, newspapers and magazines. It is expected that the project will enhance the quality of educational services, facilities and resources for students — some of them future teachers themselves.
Another USAID programme is the Roma Education Project that has been implemented for the past three years, in collaboration with USAID, FOSIM, the Swiss Pestalozzi Foundation, and the OSCE. The programme focuses on preparing pre-school children for entering primary education; increasing enrolment and transition rates, lowering drop-out rates, and improving the school performance and attendance of Roma students in primary and secondary schools. It also helps Roma students at universities to gain equal opportunities and achieve more academically. USAID also implemented a project related to improving computer infrastructure.
The project helped create 460 computer labs in primary and secondary schools through networking and the use of 5,300 computers donated by China. A series of training programmes were conducted for 180 secondary school teachers, focusing on the use of ICT through project-based learning strategies and networking. This cohort of 180 teachers will disseminate the training to 2,500 high school teachers. The activities do not stop there. Around 550 elementary and secondary schools, research institutes, universities and dorms now have broadband internet connectivity via the three-year activity of USAID's Macedonia Connects Project.
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