#DevPolHackNorthMacedonia on Advocacy for Vocational Education

In October 2021, Helvetas hosted the Regional Advocacy Workshop for the Western Balkans, bringing together passionate individuals and organizations committed to driving positive change in the region. Among the workshop’s events was the ‘Advocacy Hackathon,’ a dynamic space where participants tackled a real challenge using co-creation and innovative thinking.

The Challenge

During the Hackathon, co-host E4E@мк presented a critical challenge: transferring the Social Dialog and Public Outreach Campaign “Uci Pametno Raboti Strucno” ownership to local authorities. This campaign, a joint initiative with the Ministry of Education and Science (MoES), successfully promoted networking between VET schools and companies for market-oriented dual classes in secondary education.

The Advocacy Hackathon

During the Regional Advocacy Workshop Hackathon, local strategic partners from the public, private, and academic sectors (the rightful owners) provided valuable insights on the campaign and Hackathon ideas. Participants from other countries used these insights and a co-host presentation to develop innovative ideas and solutions for the challenge. Within three hours, the participants engaged in intense discussions and brainstorming to empower local authorities and ensure campaign sustainability.

The Winning Proposal

After much discussion, the participants presented a compelling solution – the establishment of VET councils within each local municipality. These councils would consist of representatives from VET schools, local private companies, and heads of municipal economic councils. Their mandate would be to carry out the campaign, foster dialogue, and act as a local link between the private sector, schools, and municipalities.

Presenting the Solution:

Enthusiastic about the proposal’s potential impact, E4E@мк presented it to the Ministry of Education and Science in early December. Though met with enthusiasm, legal and logistical considerations necessitated further analysis. As the E4E project awaits feedback from the MoES, advocacy activities have been developed for municipalities that might oppose or reject the idea. A plan B has also been developed – the project itself could undertake the ownership transfer if needed.

The Advocacy Hackathon showcased the power of collective problem-solving and innovation in advocating for positive change. Solving together is better!