In the period of 05 – 09 December 2010, a delegation from Macedonia has realized a study visit to Norway. The Delegation consisted of representatives from the Ministry of Education and Science, the Secretariat for implementation of the Framework Agreement, Mayors, representatives of the local self-government (Heads of Sectors for education) and Directors of primary and secondary schools.

The non-governmental organization Nansen Dialogue Center from Skopje has organized this visit, whose purpose was for the members of the Delegation to closely introduce to the activities of the Nansen Network on the Balkans, the Nansen Academy and to exchange experiences from the sphere of education and local self-government.

In Lillehammer, the Delegation has visited the Nansen Academy and has met the Prof. Inge Eidsvag – former Dean of the Academy. Prof. Eidsvag has made a presentation about the history of the Nansen Academy, which has been established in 1938 and has held a lecture on the work and achievements of one of the most famous Norwegians and a Nobel Prize Winner for Peace – Fridtjof Nansen. Prof. Eidsvag has briefly informed the guests from Macedonia also about the structure and the way the educational system in Norway is being set and about the efforts that the Norwegian authorities are making for integration in the education of the students from different ethnic backgrounds who live in Norway. After the presentation of the educational system, there was a presentation of the political system of Norway. Ms. Ingun Skurdal – former Vice Mayor, has explained the functioning and the structure of the political system in Norway, the role of the King and his competences, the Government, Parliament, regions and local self-governments. In her presentation, Ms. Skurdal has informed about the Parliament, who is currently consisted of 7 political parties, the equal gender representation in the Government’s composition (50-50) and the unemployment rate in Norway of just 3%.

After the visit to the Nansen Academy, the Delegation from Macedonia has also met the Mayor of Lillehammer Municipality, Ms. Sinove Brenden and the Vice Manager of the Municipality, Bjorn Li. The representatives of the Municipality have made a presentation of the structure and bodies of the Municipality, from which you could have realized the role of the municipal administration, which operates professionally and independently from the changes of the ruling political parties. The biggest impressions from the presentation came from the details about the number of inhabitants of Lillehammer Municipality – 26.000, the number of employees in the administration – 6.000 and the annual budget of the Municipality, which for the year 2010 amounted 194 million Euros and its biggest part is directed to health, social and educational matters.

The Delegation from Macedonia has visited the primary school “Sore al” in Lillehammer and had an opportunity to see how a school day looks like in this primary school. The day has begun with a performance organized by the students from sixth and seventh grade. Traditionally, each Monday in this school, the working week begins with a performance prepared by the students. The Director of the school, Ms. Bodil Alvir Moen has made a presentation of the school, the specifics of this school which is of an open type, the way lectures are being realized, the method of giving marks and evaluating the knowledge of the students and shortly, the models of the primary education in Norway which lasts for 7 years have been explained. The members of the Delegation from Macedonia have had a tour of the school and were impressed with its technical equipment and literature.

After the visit of the primary school in Lillehammer, the Delegation from Macedonia has visited the regional communal company “Glor” in Lillehammer. Representatives of this company have presented the role of “Glor” in Lillehammer Municipality.

Through various campaigns, this company has contributed to change the awareness of the inhabitants of Lillehammer regarding the trash – not to see trash as something dirty but as a resource which can bring profit. The company “Glor” collects, selects, recycles and processes 70% of the trash into electric power and plastic products. The annual earnings of this company are about 1 million Euros.

After visiting “Glor”, the members of the Delegation have visited the Olympic Arena in Lillehammer, the place where part of the Olympic Games took place in 1994. During the visit of the 120m ski jump, the Norwegian national team had training and that was a great opportunity to take some photos with the World Champion of Norway in individual jumps.
The next activity was visits to the Hunderfosen Museum and Oyer Municipality. There are 5000 inhabitants in this Municipality, it is a small one, but very well developed in touristic terms. The Delegation has met the Mayor of this Municipality, who made a short presentation on its structure and functioning. Although a small Municipality when it comes to inhabitants, Oyer Municipality is big in area and rich with terrains for winter and summer sports. In this Municipality, there are about 800.000 tourist stays per night registered.

After the visit to Oyer Municipality, the Delegation from Macedonia has met Prof. Steinar Bryn – Director of the Nansen Dialogue Project on the Balkans. Prof. Bryn has talked about the presence and role of the Nansen Network in the process of reconciliation on the Balkans and the results achieved from the projects that are being realized by the Nansen offices on the Balkans. The focus of the meeting with Prof. Bryn has been put on the projects that are being realized by the Nansen office in Skopje, i.e. the Nansen model for integrated education that is being implemented in the municipalities Jegunovce and Strumica. On this meeting, a discussion has been opened about the experiences from the multiethnic municipalities and schools where the guests from Macedonia came from and about the possibilities for extension of the Nansen model and the projects for integrated education.

Norway – France, European Championship in handball for women was the next event attended by the Delegation from Macedonia. The match took place in the sport hall in Lillehammer and with the support received from the Macedonian Delegation, the Norwegian national team managed to beat the national team of France with the result of 33:22.

The next day, the Delegation left for Oslo. They have visited one of the most famous multiethnic schools in Oslo – the Toyen School. The Director of the school, Mr. Tor Halgesen has introduced the guests with the background of the school and the structure of students who attend this school. It was interesting to hear that this school is being attended by students from 24 different ethnic groups and the education is performed on their mother tongue and in Norwegian. The members of the Delegation had an opportunity to attend part of the lectures that are being realized bilingually and trilingual, depending on the age of students and their knowledge of the Norwegian language. It was also impressive to see the technical equipment of the school, the use of internet applications for cooperation with the parents and the files that are being run for the progress of each student individually.

After visiting the Toyen School, the Delegation had a meeting in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Norway. They have met with Mr. Arild Sande Moberg – main representative of the MFA of Norway for Macedonia. The meeting was about the conditions in the education in Macedonia and the progress in the integration of the students in the schools.

The next visit was to the European Vegerlend Center in Oslo, an organization that works as a resource center for training of teachers in the area of intercultural understanding and human rights. The representatives of the Center have made a presentation of their organization, projects and activities they have realized in Eastern Europe and have expressed interest for cooperation with NDC Skopje about expanding their projects in Macedonia, as well.

This meeting marked the end of the study visit to Norway by the Delegation from Macedonia, which consisted of:
Mr. Sadi Bexheti – Mayor of Tetovo Municipality; Mr. Stevco Jakimovski – Mayor of Karpos Municipality (city of Skopje); Mr. Goran Petrov – Mayor of Veles Municipality; Mr. Darko Mitrevski – Mayor of Makedonska Kamenica; Ms. Rosica Tosevska – representative of the Ministry of Education and Science; Mr. Ahmed Qazimi – representative of the Secretariat for implementation of the Framework Agreement; Mr. Marjan Daskalovski – Chairman of the Council of Strumica Municipality; Mr. Shefqet Zekolli – Head of the Sector for education in Cair Municipality (city of Skopje); Mr. Ilija Bogoev – Head of the Sector for education in Gazi Baba Municipality (city of Skopje); Mr. Pero Gligorov – Director of SSOU “Mosa Pijade” – Tetovo; Mr. Muzafer Rexhepi – Director of OOU “Jane Sandanski” in Cair Municipality; Mr. Dragi Petkovski – Director of OOU “Avram Pisevski” in Karpos Municipality; Ms. Snezana Koleva – Director of OOU “Marsal Tito” in Strumica Municipality; Mr. Saso Stojkovski – Executive Director of NDC Skopje; Mr. Veton Zekolli – Project Coordinator in NDC Skopje; Ms. Hristena Antovska – Journalist in A1 TV Station; Mr. Goran Taleski – Cameraman in A1 TV Station and Mr. Veton Kodra.