Inter-ethnic Relations, Education and Economic Perspectives of the Municipality of Jegunovce

    Inter-ethnic Relations, Education and Economic Perspectives of the Municipality of Jegunovce

    Analytical books and in-depth report /Area /Ethnic affairs /Publication /Type of publication

    The municipality of Jegunovce is located in the northwest part of the Republic of Macedonia. It is ethnically mixed municipality where most of the inhabitants belong to the two major nationalities present in the Republic of Macedonia i.e. the Macedonians and the Albanians. There are a number of villages within the municipality that are ethnically homogenous. However the number of ethnically mixed villages is also respectable. The biggest villages in this region are: Shemshovo, Jegunovce, Zhilche, Ratae, Preljubiste, Kopance, Tudence, Ozormiste, Siricino etc. The root of the problem dates back to the ethnical conflict in Macedonia in 2001. Since all of these villages are close to Tetovo (the very core of the conflict in 2001), they were also involved in military activity on both sides. Namely, the village of Shemshovo (Albanians) was one of the biggest strongholds for the NLA (National Liberation Army) and one of the villages that have undergone heavy military anxiety. On the other hand, the villages of Zhilche and Ratae were the base for military activity of the Macedonian security forces as well as the controversial Macedonian security unit, the Lions. In the heavy clashes, there were several victims on both sides that made the situation sensitive even after the ending of the conflict by signing the Ohrid Framework Agreement in August, 2001.

    The root of the problem dates back to the ethnical conflict in Macedonia in 2001. Since all of these villages are close to Tetovo (the very core of the conflict in 2001), they were also involved in military activity on both sides. Namely, the village of Shemshovo (Albanians) was one of the biggest strongholds for the NLA (National Liberation Army) and one of the villages that have undergone heavy military anxiety. On the other hand, the villages of Zhilche and Ratae were the base for military activity of the Macedonian security forces as well as the controversial Macedonian security unit, the Lions. In the heavy clashes, there were several victims on both sides that made the situation sensitive even after the ending of the conflict by signing the Ohrid Framework Agreement in August, 2001. The latest events show that the situation has not been calmed yet, since new developments occurred regarding the primary education in the region. Specifically, the village of Shemshovo has one of the biggest primary schools in the district, where a significant number of Macedonian pupils used to study, mostly from the surrounding villages where Macedonians live. However, after an incident in 2003, the Macedonian parents decided to relocate their children and send them to other schools (in Jegunovce for example which is rather far away compared to Shemshovo). In the meantime, after the Macedonian children have left, the board of the school in Shemshovo changed the name of the school (from Dame Gruev – a Macedonian revolutionary to Jumni Junuzi – the first Albanian teacher from the region). This caused additional unrest among the Macedonians, since politically this was unacceptable for them 2 . After these occurrences, the efforts of the Government, the International community as well as the Nansen Dialogue Center are directed towards the return of the Macedonian children in the school in Shemshovo. Although the local Albanians have made efforts in regards to meeting the requirements of the Macedonian parents (relocating the monument of Jumni Junuzi, renovating and renaming the school etc.) no real progress have been made. In order to intensify the efforts in this direction, NDC needs a deeper insight in the situation in all of the major villages in the Jegunovce municipality. That is why NDC contracted the Institute for Democracy, Solidarity and Civil Society (IDSCS) in order to prepare a methodology that would give a thorough scan of the problems in the region and various modes for their solving. The methodology consists of 12 focus groups (group interviews with the citizens of the villages in the region) and a small survey based on a unified questionnaire implemented according to the ethnic structure of the villages.

    The full  in-depth report can be found here:   https://idscs.org.mk/images/stories/upload/polSystem/Policy_paper_Final_Report_munic_Jegunovce.pdf

    Inter-ethnic Relations, Education and Economic Perspectives of the Municipality of Jegunovce

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