Towards a Civic Culture
In Macedonia, there is considerable debate over whether it is time to move ‘beyond the Ohrid Framework Agreement’, but citizenship education is not employed to stimulate discussion about the future.179 The attempts to reform aspects of schooling related to citizenship education highlight two tendencies in the Macedonian education system. First, international actors such as the OSCE, European Union (EU) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) often urge local policymakers to frame and implement initiatives for stereotype reduction, inter-group contact and reconciliation. This is often interpreted locally as a capricious foreign interference.180 Donor strategies are often met with local bureaucratic and political resistance and projects are rarely implemented or mainstreamed comprehensively. Failures in reforming education are blamed on the fact that ‘education is politicised’ and that local politicians are unaccountable.181
Second, most observers would agree that ‘the situation is better than ten years ago’.182 Yet, schools do not challenge the socialisation of children into the values and practices sustaining and reproducing inter-communal conflict. Above all, Georgieva notes that schools do not teach students that politicians who belong to different ethnolinguistic communities can represent them and protect their interests.183 As such, rather than conveying an overarching civic culture, they contribute to cementing ethnic and political cleavages.