Innovative and modern – these words can describe the Secondary Integrated Bilingual School, established on September 1 2010 in the Village of Preljubishte, Municipality of Jegunovce, with the support of the Nansen Dialogue Centre Skopje (NDC). In fact, then a new school building was put into operation as a branch school of the Secondary Vocational Municipal School “Mosha Pijade” in Tetovo.
The opening of the secondary school proved to be a reasonable step, because the primary school students who graduated in the Integrated Primary School Fridtjof Nansen – located in the same village and in the same schoolyard – had the opportunity to continue their secondary education following the same integrated teaching model.
Due to the success of the primary school, established two years earlier, several representatives of the Macedonian Government, embassies, OSCE, European Union, as well as the Municipality of Jegunovce attended the opening and gave their support to NDC.
The Head of the Nansen Network in the Balkans, Steinar Bryn, also addressed the gathering observing, “Entire Europe, including Norway, is trying to deal with the issue of integration. I believe that this is the biggest challenge for all European countries in 2010. Today, Jegunovce shows the whole Europe how to implement the integrated school system; Jegunovce shows the model that can inspire people. Jegunovce is developing a model that should be followed.”
The expectations from the school were high – to provide higher quality of teaching, better education and improved interethnic relations. Unlike the primary school, this school was intended for high school students, so the challenges were bigger, too. Some of them have faced the concept of intercultural education for the first time. However, the same dedication, vigilance and perseverance of the NDC team yielded the same positive outcomes.
Numerous journalists visited the school to cover the success of the project. They wrote that, however, it was possible Macedonian and Albanian students in the Tetovo Region, instead of mutual intolerance, to attend classes even in the same classrooms and in both languages.
The former secondary school students are now adults and much better persons because of the intercultural component in their secondary education, which allows them to contribute in shaping a better society that fits anyone’s needs.
The opening of the integrated bilingual high school in Preljubishte would not have been possible without the support of the main donor – the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Norway.