Compulsory education emerged as a tool for building a nation-state in independent Macedonia. Here, as Chaps. 3 and 7 show, the right to education in the mother tongue became a symbol of wider struggles for the inclusion of ethnic minorities in the institutions and narratives of the new state. These struggles culminated in the 2001 conflict, which hampered the operation of some schools, created tensions within mixed schools and accelerated the residential separation of ethnic communities.
The Ohrid Agreement aimed to tackle the sociopolitical inequality between ethnic Albanians and ethnic Macedonians and to expand access to state services, including schools, for all citizens. Chapter 6 demonstrated that after 2001, shared government succeeded in expanding access to mother tongue education for children of Albanian, Turkish and Serbian backgrounds. However, the agreement ‘does not provide any linkages’ between Macedonian-, Albanian-, Turkish-, and Serbian-language schools.210 This section focuses on the impact of the Ohrid Agreement on the overall structure of Macedonia’s education system, examining provisions for decentralisation first, and initiatives to expand mother tongue education second.