Primary education

Primary education in the Republic of Macedonia – North Macedonia has 9-year duration and is compulsory and accessible to all children regardless of gender, social and cultural background, religion, national affiliation, and physical and psychological abilities. Each child aged 6 to 15 is provided with an opportunity to regularly attend teaching in a compulsory nine-year primary school. Primary education within the framework of established curricula is free for all students and is funded from the State Budget.

The structure of primary education, established through the Concept for nine-year primary education, consist of three educational periods: grades 1-3, grades 4-6 and grades 7-9. Each period is relatively unified as a whole in regard to the developmental characteristics of students and of learning. Each period is also characterized by different approaches in the evaluation and assessment of student achievements, individualized teaching, knowledge, skills and student progression.

Secondary education

Upon completion of the primary education, students are provided with the opportunity to enroll under equal terms in secondary school. The Law on Secondary Education defines secondary education as compulsory for each citizen and free in public secondary schools. For the realization of the concept of compulsory secondary education, in 2008 the Government of the Republic of Macedonia – North Macedonia adopted a special Programme for Implementation of Compulsory Secondary Education.

This education tier provides students with competencies for work and further education and is carried out in state, municipal (public) and private secondary schools. Teaching in public schools is carried out in Macedonian and using the Cyrillic alphabet; for the members of ethnic groups in the language and using the alphabet of the respective ethnic group (Albanian, Serbian, Turkish). Depending on the type of secondary education, schooling is completed by passing the State Matura, the School Matura or Final Exam, in line with the Concept for Matura and Final Exam in Public Secondary Education.


Higher Education is available for attaining in various Universities and different educational institutions offering high professional education. Higher education is also available in public or private institutions where the students are offered Associate’s Degrees’, Bachelor Degrees’, Master Degrees’, and PhD’s. Various schedules are additionally available where students can choose to pursue their studies full-time or part-time.

The system of higher education comprises study programmes within three cycles, the first of which has a duration of three or four years. In addition to teaching, higher education institutions engage in scientific research in diverse fields. It offers a broad range of opportunities for acquiring academic degrees and professional qualifications.

Terms and criteria for selection and enrolment of new students are proposed by the higher education institutions themselves and harmonized between the universities. Enrollment is open for graduates from general, vocational or art secondary schools. Due to the limited enrolment quotas, candidates are ranked according to their grades from secondary school, the results from the State Matura and, if necessary, results from a qualification exam. Students who meet the demands but are in excess of the number stipulated in the open call for enrolment enter the co-financing quota. Full-time and part-time students need to meet the same requirements.

Universities offer, within the first cycle of studies, higher vocational studies, which have 3-year duration and are regarded as non-academic studies.

With respect to the introduction of Bologna reforms, the study programs of the two-cycle system were reformed. Thus, the traditional 5+2 model was transformed into a 4+1 or 4+1.5 model for academic studies and 3+2 for vocational studies.