The first schools in Macedonia were opened in the late 9th and early 10h centuries in Ohrid and in western Macedonia by Ss. Clement and Naum. About 3,500 teachers were trained to spread literacy and establish Christianity throughout Macedonia. These schools, directly connected to monasteries, continued until the 14th century when their work ceased with the subjugation of Macedonia by the Turks. No data is available on their activities until the 17th and 18th century, when the monasteries of the Archangel Gabriel at Lesnovo (near Kratovo), St. Joakim at Osogovo (near Kriva Palanka), St. Prohor Pchinski, St. John Bigorski (near Debar), the Immaculate Mother of God (near Kichevo), St. Atanasius at Leshok (near Tetovo) are recorded as educational centers. The development of trade and craftsmanship necessitated the opening of secular schools, and the first such school was opened in Veles in 1838. Ten years later a similar school was opened in Skopje, in 1852 one was opened in Kumanovo and in 1854 one in Tetovo in a continuing, growing process.
Increasingly, schools were funded by outside powers to spread foreign propaganda within Macedonia, attempting to convert Macedonians to other ethnoses and offering classes in foreign languages. In 1904, 1,375 Greek schools with 2,100 teachers taught 63,763 students; in the 1906-07 school year 303 Serbian schools were in operation. The partition of Macedonia between Bulgaria, Greece and Serbia meant the ban of the use of Macedonian in schools, most strictly enforced in Aegean Macedonia where Macedonian was banned both in schools and in public life in general. In Pirin Macedonia, pre-partition exarchate schools teaching in Bulgarian remained open, and in Vardar Macedonia all instruction was in Serbianthe Macedonian language was forbidden for public use.
After 1944, there were 300,000 illiterates aged 10 to 50 in Macedonia, 64 percent of the population.
From the mere 337 teachers and 4,336 students in Macedonia at that time, education in Macedonia was strengthened in 1958-59 to 1,600 teachers at 964 elementary schools with 63,324 students, with an additional 199 secondary schools with 3,920 teachers and 107,600 students. Albanian and Turkish-language instruction was introduced, and in 1958-59 there were 183 Albanian-language schools with 28,000 students and 510 Albanian instructors, and 27 Turkish-language schools with 8,000 students and 170 Turkish instructors.
The first vocational school in Macedonia was opened by the Serbian teacher Jovan Neshkovich in Veles, educated students in the rudiments of business and trade. In 1868 in Shtip, Josif Kovachev opened a pedagogical school to train of teachers and clergy. In 1874, Kovachev opened a similar school in Prilep, where many teachers were trained although it operated for only three years. In the school year 1913-1914, the first teachers school was opened in Skopje with 288 students.
In 1946-1947, in addition to the three existing vocational schools, a secondary school of agriculture was opened in Bitola, a secondary technical school in Skopje and two secondary nursing schools in Skopje, as well as 36 secondary schools for workers. By the school year 1958-1959, secondary vocational schools were attended by 11,749 students, and the number of students at the workers schools reached 8,686.
Today, the Republic of Macedonia operates 1,050 elementary schools with a total of 260,659 students and 13,102 instructors. In addition, there are 44 special elementary schools with 1,397 students and 17 adult education elementary schools, attended by 835 students. In the school year 1993-94 there were 90 secondary schools with 74,000 students and 4,487 teachers, plus 16 music schools and one ballet school with 4,203 students, an Orthodox ecclesiastical secondary school with 123 students and an Islamic ecclesiastical secondary school with 263 students.
In the school year 1992-1993 809 elementary schools taught in the Macedonian language, attended by 183,044 students and instructed by 9,057 teachers. There were also 280 Albanian-language elementary schools with 69,952 students and 3,517 teachers, 54 Turkish-language elementary schools attended by 5,172 students and operated by 289 teachers, and 13 Serbian-language elementary schools with 1,009 students. 90 secondary schools, with a total of 65,855 students and 4,092 teachers are Macedonian-language. Albanian is the language of instruction in 11 secondary schools with a combined total of 4,169 students and 306 teachers, and Turkish was taught in two secondary schools with a total of 219 students. These totals are slightly suspect, however, due to the prevalence of bilingualism.
In all, there were 28,782 children completing elementary schools in 1992-93, and 15,704 children completing secondary schools.
There are two universities in Macedonia, the University of Skopje and the University of Bitola. Between the two universities, the following faculties operate with a total of 2,394 instructors: science and mathematics, architecture, civil engineering, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, technical studies, mining and geology, chemical engineering and metallurgy, medicine, dentistry, agriculture, forestry, economics, law, philology, Orthodox-theology, physical education, visual, musical and dramatic arts, interdisciplinary studies of journalism, technical education, occupational health protection.
There are also six graduate schools, including medicine, agriculture (in Bitola), agriculture (in Strumica), and teacher training colleges in Skopje, Bitola and Shtip.
The total number of university students attending these institutions in 1994-1995 was 29,057, including 15,692 women. 114,679 students have received college degrees in the period from 1948 to 1993, 1,831 Masters degrees have been granted, and 1,052 doctorates have been awarded since 1957, when the first doctorate was presented at the University of Skopje.
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