SKOPJE – The Regional Youth Cooperation Office’s (RYCO) Local Branch Office in North Macedonia organized the online introductory meeting “Meet the Superschools of North Macedonia” in the framework of the Superschools Exchange Programme on Friday, 4 February 2022. The meeting gathered 10 awarded high schools from North Macedonia, which will have a chance to conduct exchanges with schools from the Western Balkans region in the upcoming months, represented by their principals and teachers in charge of coordinating the regional exchanges, as well as by representatives of the Ministry of Education and Science, the Delegation of the European Union to North Macedonia, the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in North Macedonia, the Embassy of France in North Macedonia and RYCO.
The event was opened by Head of the RYCO Local Branch Office in North Macedonia Mr Vladimir Gjorgjevski who shared an overview of the Superschools programme.
“This promotional event is a great opportunity for high schools of North Macedonia to underline the importance of cooperation of youth exchange and cooperation in the region of the Western Balkans,” Mr Gjorgjevski said and added that through the Superschools programme high schools from the region are contributing to building the culture of tolerance, peace and enhancing the process of reconciliation.
The event served as a space to present the exchange ideas coming from schools from North Macedonia and discuss them with important local and international partners.
Mr Vassallo, Deputy Head of Delegation of the European Union to North Macedonia stated that the Superschools project will further promote intercultural dialogue, trust and cooperation among the youth people from all over the region in addressing common challenges and achieving common goals.
On the other hand Mr Otto Graf, Deputy Ambassador of Germany to North Macedonia, said that direct interaction between teachers and students from the region would contribute to common regional development.
In addition, Mr Hugo Bechtel, Counsellor, Head of the Cooperation Department of the Embassy of France to North Macedonia and Director of the French Institute underlined that the Regional Youth Cooperation Office (RYCO) has the capacity to propose concrete projects that advance the position of youth in the region, thus introducing the European future of the region.
Representing the Ministry of Education and Science of North Macedonia, the State Secretary Ms Aneta Trpevska, pointed out that the Ministry of Education and Science fully supports the activities of RYCO which are oriented towards trust-building and friendship among young people which adds to the efforts of building one society for all.
Finally, Youth Representative of North Macedonia in the RYCO Governing Board Мr Blazen Maleski underlined that the Superschools project is very important for improving the communication among young people in the region and that it will help them go outside of the box and the regular pattern of daily life.
The event also provided a great opportunity for networking and sharing of ideas between the high schools supported within the Superschools programme in North Macedonia. The ten representatives from the awarded schools, explained how through their partner project exchange ideas youth from the region will be the role model of promoting further cooperation in different fields.
In conclusion, RYCO Local Program Officer in North Macedonia Ms Tanja Paneva congratulated all the schools for being among selected Superschools and emphasized the continuous support that the schools would receive from the project team so the exchanges can be successfully completed.
About the Superschools programme
Superschools is a programme for school exchanges in the Western Balkans 6 with the objectives to support the peacebuilding and reconciliation processes and intercultural learning and dialogue. The programme is being implemented for three years and is part of a multi donor project “Western Balkans School Exchange Scheme” co-financed by the European Union and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and implemented by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) together with the Regional Youth Cooperation Office (RYCO). The project has a total budget of €5.5 million and contributes to the overall objective of increasing skills and knowledge of young people in the Western Balkans by enhancing education systems and promoting cooperation in the region, through establishing a regional school exchange scheme.
RYCO is an intergovernmental organisation that stewards and promotes regional and intercultural cooperation of young people within and among six Western Balkans societies. RYCO’s programmes focus on creating opportunities for young people to engage in activities that build mutual understanding and reconciliation in the civic, social, educational, cultural and sports domains. RYCO initiates and participates in policy making and advocates for reform. It supports the development of a political and social environment that empowers and facilitates youth exchange.
RYCO puts young people at the centre of its work and believes that they should be creating a culture of mobility, intercultural exchange and reconciliation. Young people should also be active contributors to democratic development, social and economic prosperity, and European integration in an increasingly open Western Balkans region. Six Western Balkans societies should be providing proactive support to youth exchange and youth engagement within the region and across the region.