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SOCIAL POLICY, EDUCATION AND DEVELOPMENT

The Social Policy, Education and Development Sector in the Pelagonia region has strong sides which at the same time represent an opportunity for further development of the region. In addition to the geographical position, the region has developed higher education institutions, development agencies and research centers, NGOs, enhanced awareness of entrepreneurship and the use of IT technology and a cooperative business sector creates a favorable foundation and potential for development.

Of the demographic characteristics, significant are:

- Total population of 232,367 or 10.94% of the population in the Republic of Macedonia. Macedonia (2013 Assessment).

- Total number of settlements 343 and 93.976 dwellings (data from the 2002 Census). High concentration of population in urban centers and great disparity between urban and rural areas in crippling social services.

- An upward trend in migration. Although the registered number of immigrants is high, it does not show the real situation due to the procedures and a large number of people who do not register especially when moving away from the region.

Pelagonia is a higher education center with a state university (St. Kliment Ohridski University) and several private higher education institutions (International Slavic Institute "Gavrilo Romanovich Derzhavin"). However, the "created" workforce is not in line with the needs of the labor market.

- There are a sufficient number of primary schools in the region. However, the absolute number of students decreases (primary and secondary). Improvements are possible, especially in the provision of modern means and devices, improvement of infrastructure, improvement of international cooperation, greater synergy with the business sector, development of research activities of higher education institutions and greater cooperation with the real sector.

- Infrastructure and auxiliary improvements are needed in both urban and rural areas. The fact of the continuous decrease in the number of students, as well as the difference of 0.5% of enrolled students in secondary education and graduated students, is worrying.

- Satisfactory conditions for higher education. A fairly high number of graduates with a positive trend in the last three years.

In terms of education (secondary and higher), greater cooperation and synergy with the business sector and the creation of new programs (curricula) in secondary schools and faculties are in proportion to the needs of the business sector and the demand for the workforce.

Of the social parameters that are worth mentioning are:

- High percentage of persons receiving social assistance and increasing the categories of citizens receiving social assistance. The trend has a downward trend and is continuously decreasing.

- Of the information in 2013 in the region there are 189,136 able-bodied population. The region has high parameters in terms of active population with 64.4%, which is higher than the national average of 57.2% (only the Southeast region has a higher percentage). A fairly high employment rate of 50.1% (national average of 40.6%) and low unemployment of 22.2% (29.0% nationwide).

These facts are a good basis for the development of the region through the promotion of entrepreneurship, the development of human resources through formal and informal forms, and thus improving the living standard of the population.

The established good practices at the inter-municipal level should improve communication and cooperation at the regional level in the sectors of Social Policy and Education. Improvement of the conditions in the social sphere and education through the involvement of the business sector (donations).

There are good conditions for public private partnership in the field of social services and education.

Reconciliation of institutional and informal forms of education (training, retraining and further qualification), greater involvement of teachers and students in mobility programs should enable the creation of a competitive workforce.

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