Macedonia embodies the paradigm of a contested state. Its borders emerged from the partition of the territory of historic Macedonia, previously under Ottoman control, among Bulgaria, Serbia and Greece during the First Balkan War (1913). The state was first constructed under the aegis of Socialist Yugoslavia, which constituted Macedonia as a republic and engaged in extensive nation-building. The Macedonian republic only became independent because of the collapse of Yugoslavia.
This section considers the evolving political function of schooling alongside the development of Macedonia from a Serbian province (1918-1944), to a founding republic in socialist Yugoslavia (1945-1974 and 1974-1991), to an independent nation-state between 1991 and 2001. Finally, it summarises the Ohrid Agreement of 2001, which established a liberal consociation in Macedonia. It shows that in the Macedonian territory, successive states attempted to employ education to convey a collective, overarching identity to their diverse population. The curricula and the structure of the education system in the territory of present-day Macedonia mirrored the founding narratives and principles underpinning each state building project: schools evolved from an instrument of Serbian cultural assimilation in 1918-1944, to a vehicle for conveying Marxism in 1945-1991, to a tool for constructing an independent nation-state between 1991 and 2001.