The Questionable Conditions of Studying in Macedonia

While many of the European students often argue about their studying conditions in Western Europe, a look into the college-level studying conditions in Macedonia will leave them humble.

After a Reddit user called « nyyrmi » posted a series of images cynically titled “Yes, this is a student dormitory, and yes, there are 1200+ students living in it as we speak, the immediate responses were shattering. The album presents the deteriorating state of the student dormitory Goce Dolčev in Skopje, and its inhuman conditions that students have to face every day. This is not very surprising knowing the relation between the state and college-level education.

The Largest Student Dormitory in the Country

Picture of a dorm in Macedonia

Picture of a dorm in Macedonia posted on Reddit by « nyrrmi »

While there are a dozen of student dormitories in the country and each one of them is known for their sub-human conditions, student dorm Goce Dolčev is undoubtedly the largest and most notorious. As a result, it is deteriorating and with no active maintenance, the infrastructure will stop functioning in a matter of fifteen years. According to some student, in order to repair and renovate the room, one has to “either chase the lazy drunk caretaker (1 caretaker for all 4 blocks, they cannot afford more) for up to 3 months, or repair the room yourself with the money from your own pocket”.

The reactions to the condition of the campus were largely unanimous. The dorm was described as shocking, while one user commented, “It looks like someone built a huge pile of bacteria then added a building to it”. Even though most of the reactions were written in a humorous manner, it is clear that the general impression of the dorm is largely negative, as most of the viewers gave either serious negative or sarcastically humorous comments.

The fault of the institutions

The condition of the dormitory mirrors the condition of college-level education in the country. According to Macedonian students, an independent student life is hardly possible. This is because Macedonian students, as in other ex-Yugoslav countries, mostly rely on their parents’ funding and accommodation. Macedonian government gives barely any incentive to study, and with a monthly accommodation cost of 50-65 euros, students have a very limited budget that requires them to find a job (which is yet difficult to find in economy with 29% of unemployment). This means that the poorer students, which include the students from rural areas, are not persuaded going to college or are less likely to remain in their studies due to the hardship of living conditions.

As the governmental and educational institutions barely offer support on the educational level, private universities are seen as a way out for the “rich” students. They cost, as opposed to national universities, but it is a public secret that “you can basically buy diploma”. The reason for this is, according to user vaelik,“because its all a business now”. In the example of Biochemistry, the government singles out 21,000$ for each freshman, but at the same time the passing rate is under 1% for around 650 students, which is also because “some courses are made just to make people fail”.

High corruption

Overall, whether the reason for such state of education in Macedonia is high corruption within governmental and other state institutions is left for you to judge. Even though the government and other institutions extricate a good amount of budget on education, it is evident that this money rarely goes on improvements and does not serve as an incentive for students, but likely ends up in somewhere it is not supposed to. While the quality of studies might be on a fairly good level, the government would rather spend money and focus on controversial projects like Skopje 2014, and therefore leave young students wishing to prosper without any incentive or even will to study.

Andro Nogolica