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ALBANIA

 

Political background

 

Politics of Albania takes place in a framework of a parliamentary representative democracy. Executive power rests with the Council of Ministers (cabinet).

 

The President is elected to a 5-year term. The next election will run in the year 2012. The current President of the Republic is Bamir Topi from the Democratic Party of Albania elected in 2007.

 

The President appoints the Chairman of the Council of Ministers (Prime Minister). Sali Berisha is the current Prime Minister (since 2005, re-elected in 2009), also from the Democratic Party of Albania.

 

The Assembly of the Republic of Albania is the lawmaking body in Albania. There are 140 deputies in the Assembly, of which 100 are directly elected by an absolute majority of the voters, and 40 are chosen by their parties on the basis of proportional representation. Parliamentary elections are held at least every 4 years. The next elections will take place in 2013.

 

The 2 main political parties are:

 

The Democratic Party of Albania is a center-right, Conservative political party in Albania and the leading party in the governing coalition since the 2005 parliamentary elections.

The Socialist Party of Albania is a centre-left, social democratic and socially liberal political party in Albania, it is currently the leading opposition party in Albania.

 

Education system

 

Structure of school system:

 

Basic First Stage

Type of school providing this education: Elementary

Length of program in years: 5

Age level from: 6 to: 11

 

Basic Second Stage

Type of school providing this education: Primary

Length of program in years: 4

Age level from: 11 to: 15

 

General Secondary

Type of school providing this education: High School

Length of program in years: 3

Age level from: 15 to: 18

 

Vocational Education

Type of school providing this education: Vocational School

            First level

            Length of program in years: 3

            Age level from: 15 to: 18

 

            Second level

            Length of program in years: 2

            Age level from: 18 to: 20

 

Technical Secondary Education

Type of school providing this education: High Technical School

Length of program in years: 5

Age level from: 15 to: 20

 

With the year 2004 in mind, the private sector to date by and large encompasses: 3 % in basic education, 6 % in the general secondary education and 7 % in the vocational secondary education).

 

Number of schools

 

Education authorities

 

Myqerem Tafaj is a member of the Democratic Party of Albania, currently Minister of Education and Sciences.

 

MoEd website: http://www.mash.gov.al/

 

ARMENIA

 

Political background

 

Politics of Armenia takes place in a framework of a presidential representative democratic republic, whereby the President is the head of government, and of a platform multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and parliament.

 

The president is elected for a five year term by the people. Next presidential elections are scheduled for 2013. Serzh Azati Sargsyan of the conservative Republican Party of Armenia is the current President of Armenia (since April 2008).

 

The Prime Minister is appointed by the President of Armenia, but can be removed by a vote of no confidence in parliament. The current Prime Minister is Tigran Sargsyan, also from the  Republican Party of Armenia, appointed in 2008.

 

The National Assembly is the legislative branch of the government of Armenia. It is a unicameral body of 131 members (of which 64 are currently representatives of HHK), elected for four-year terms. Next elections will take place in June 2012.

 

The main political parties are:

 

The Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) is a national conservative (centre-right) political party in Armenia. It is the largest party of the centre-right in Armenia, controlling most of its government bodies. The Economist magazine has described the HHK as a “typical post-Soviet 'party of power' mainly comprising senior government officials, civil servants, and wealthy business people dependent on government connections.” It is the party in power at this time.

Prosperous Armenia (BHK) was founded by in late 2005, with a centre-right, conservative orientation. It debuted in the 2007 Armenian parliamentary elections, winning 14.68% of the votes, making it the second largest political party in parliament.

The Armenian Revolutionary Federation advocates socialism and is a member of the Socialist International. Its political position is centre-left and it is the third in terms of number of seats in the National Assembly).

 

Education system

 

Structure of school system:

Primary

Type of school providing this education: Primary School

Length of program in years: 4

Age level from: 7 to: 11

 

Basic

Type of school providing this education: Intermediate School

Length of program in years: 5

Age level from: 11 to: 16

 

Senior Secondary

Type of school providing this education: High (Senior) School

Length of program in years: 3

Age level from: 16 to: 19

 

Number of schools

 

There are 1364 pre-higher education institutions in Armenia.

 

Education authorities

 

Armen Ashotyan, member of the Republican Party of Armenia, is the Minister of Education and Science since 2009.

 

MoEd website: http://www.edu.am

 

AZERBAIJAN

 

Political background

 

The Politics of Azerbaijan take place in a framework of a presidential republic, with the President of Azerbaijan as the head of state, and the Prime Minister of Azerbaijan as head of government. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and parliament.

 

The President is the head of the state and head of executive branch. The people elect the president every 5 years; the prime minister is appointed by the President and confirmed by the National Assembly of Azerbaijan. The President appoints all cabinet-level government administrators (ministers, heads of other central executive bodies). Since 2008, the Constitution of Azerbaijan was amended, abolishing any term limit for the office of President.

 

Ilham Heydar oglu Aliyev is the President of Azerbaijan since 2003 (re-elected in 2008). Artur Tahir oğlu Rasizada is the Prime Minister of Azerbaijan since 2003 (had been in the same position from 1996 to 2003).

 

Azerbaijan is considered a one party dominant state. Opposition parties against the New Azerbaijan Party are allowed, but are widely considered to have no real chance of gaining power.

 

The National Assembly of Azerbaijan is the legislative branch of government in Azerbaijan. The unicameral National Assembly has 125 deputies elected for 5-year terms. In the 2010 parliamentary elections, the ruling New Azerbaijan Party strengthened its grasp on the legislative. The two major opposition parties (Musavat and the Parties of the People’s Front of Azerbaijan) lost their previous 8 seats, thus resulting in an opposition-free Parliament.

 

The main parties are:

 

l  The New Azerbaijan Party is the ruling political party in Azerbaijan. It was formed in 1992 by the former President of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev (a member of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union until July 1991). It is now led by his son, Ilham Aliyev, who succeeded his father as the party leader and as President of Azerbaijan since 2003. The party's stated ideologies are lawfulness, secularism, and Azerbaijani nationalism. It wants to build a “social-oriented” economy, and lists civil solidarity and social justice as the basis of its ideology.

l  The Müsavat (Equality) Party is the oldest existing political party in Azerbaijan. Its ideology is based on Liberalism, Social liberalism, Economic liberalism and Centrism.

l  The Azerbaijani Popular Front Party (APFP) is the main opposition political party in Azerbaijan, founded in 1992. A major objective of PFPA is to promote a liberal model of economic development by implementing a comprehensive anti-corruption programme, rapidly developing non-oil sectors of the economy and creating an ideal climate for foreign and domestic investment through establishment of a flexible tax regime and other relevant measures.

 

Education system

 

Structure of school system:

Primary

Length of program in years: 4

Age level from: 6 to: 10

 

Basic

Length of program in years: 5

Age level from: 10 to: 15

 

Secondary

Length of program in years: 2

Age level from: 15 to: 17

 

Technical Secondary

Length of program in years: 3

Age level from: 15 to: 18

 

Most of the schools are public.

 

Number of schools

 

Number of general education schools – 4542

Number of private general education schools – 11

Number of vocational schools - 110

Number of secondary professional schools – 58

Number of private secondary professional schools – 4

 

Education authorities

 

Misir Mardanov Jumayil oglu has been the Azerbaijani Minister of Education since 1998. He is one of the most media criticized government ministers in Azerbaijan.

 

MoEd: http://www.edu.gov.az

 

BELARUS

 

Political background

 

The politics of Belarus takes place in a framework of a presidential republic, where by the President of Belarus is the head of state. Executive power is exercised by the government, in its top sits a prime minister, appointed by the President. Legislative power is vested in the bicameral parliament, the National Assembly, however the president may enact decrees that are executed the same way as laws, for undisputed time.

 

Belarus elects on national level a head of state - the president - and a legislature. The president is elected for a five year term by the people. Belarus is a state in which the president dominates. Opposition parties are allowed, but are widely considered to have no real chance of gaining power. Alexander Grigoryevich Lukashenko has been serving as the President of Belarus since 20 July 1994 (reconfirmed after the 2010 presidential elections). Next elections are scheduled for 2015.

 

The National Assembly has two chambers. The House of Representatives has 110 members elected in single-seat constituencies elected for a four year term. The Council of the Republic has 64 members, 56 members indirectly elected and 8 members appointed by the president. Next elections are scheduled for 2012.

 

The main political parties are:

The Communist Party of Belarus is a political party in Belarus, that supports the government of president Alexander Lukashenko. It was created in 1996.

The BPF Party (PBNF) is a political party in Belarus. It was founded as the social movement Belarusian Popular Front “Revival” during the perestroika times by members of the Belarusian intelligentsia. Supporting Conservatism, Liberal conservatism, Christian democracy and Belarusian nationalism this centre-right party is in opposition to the Alexander Lukashenko's government and supports Belarus' entry into NATO and European Union.

 

Education system

 

Structure of school system:

Primary

Type of school providing this education: Primary School

Length of program in years: 4

Age level from: 6 to: 10

 

Basic

Type of school providing this education: Basic Secondary School

Length of program in years: 5

Age level from: 10 to: 15

 

General Secondary

Type of school providing this education: Gymnasium, Lyceum, College

Length of program in years: 2

Age level from: 15 to: 17

 

Specialized Secondary

Type of school providing this education: Specialized Secondary School (Technicum)

Length of program in years: 4

Age level from: 15 to: 19

 

Vocational

Type of school providing this education: Vocational School

Length of program in years: 3

Age level from: 15 to: 18

 

Number of schools

 

In 1998-1999 the system of general secondary education in Belarus included 4,783 secondary schools, as well as 73 gymnasiums and 25 lyceums.

 

In 1998, about 250 vocational technical schools and 151 state and 6 non-state secondary professional institutions.

 

Education authorities

 

The Minister of Education is Sergey Aleksandrovich Maskevich.

 

MoEd website: http://www.minedu.unibel.by

 

BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA

 

Political background

 

Politics of Bosnia and Herzegovina takes place in a framework of a parliamentary representative democratic republic, whereby the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina is the head of government, and of a multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and parliament. Members of the parliament are chosen according to a proportional representation system.

 

Bosnia and Herzegovina is divided into two Entities - the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Republika Srpska, which each have largely autonomous political power, as well as the district of Brčko, which is jointly administered by both. Each of the Entities has its own constitution.

 

The highest political authority in the country is the High Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the chief executive officer for the international civilian presence in the country. The methods selected by the High Representative are often seen as dictatorship.

 

The Chair of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina rotates among three members (Bosniak, Serb, Croat), each elected as incumbent of the Chair for an 8-month term within their 4-year term as a member. The three members of the Presidency are elected directly by the people (Federation votes for the Bosniak/Croat, Republika Srpska for the Serb). The Presidency is the head of state institution and it is mainly responsible for the foreign policy and proposing the budget.

 

The Chairman of the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina is nominated by the Presidency and approved by the House of Representatives. He is then responsible for appointing a Foreign Minister, Minister of Foreign Trade, and others as appropriate. Each of the Entities has its own Council of Ministers, which deal with internal matters not dealt with by the state Council.

 

The Parliamentary Assembly or Parliamentarna skupština is the main legislative body in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It consists of two chambers:

l  the House of Peoples includes 15 delegates who serve two-year terms. Two-thirds of them come from the Federation (5 Croats and 5 Bosniaks) and one-third from the RS (5 Serbs). Nine members of the House of Peoples constitutes a quorum, provided that at least three delegates from each group are present. Federation representatives are selected by the House of Peoples of the Federation, which has 58 seats (17 Bosniak, 17 Croat, 17 Serb, 7 others) and whose members are delegated by cantonal assemblies to serve 4-year terms. RS representatives are selected by the 28-member Republika Srpska Council of Peoples which was established in the Republika Srpska National Assembly; each constituent nation has eight delegates, “others” have four delegates.

l  the National House of Representatives comprises 42 Members, two-thirds elected to serve four-year terms from the Federation (14 Croats and 14 Bosniaks) and one-third elected from the RS (14 Serbs). Federation members come from the Federation House of Representatives with 98 seats whose members are elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms. RS members come from the RS National Assembly, which has 83 seats and whose members are elected by popular vote to serve 4-year terms.

 

Latest presidential and parliamentary elections took place in 2010.

 

Main political parties are:

The Social Democratic Party of Bosnia and Herzegovina is a multi-ethnic social-democratic political party with a center-left orientation. The party is the successor of the League of Communists of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The Alliance of Independent Social Democrats is a Serb political party with an ideology focused on social democracy, nationalism and separatism. Despite that they call themselves socialists, they've led a low-tax policy in Republika Srpska, with high levels of economic freedom.

The Party of Democratic Action is a Bosniak national political part of centre-right orientation.

 

Education system

 

Structure of school system:

Primary

Type of school providing this education: Primary school

Length of program in years: 9

Age level from: 6 to: 15

 

General Secondary

Type of school providing this education: General Secondary School, Art School and Theology School

Length of program in years: 4

Age level from: 15 to: 19

 

Specialized Secondary

Type of school providing this education: Vocational and Technical Schools

Age level from: 15 to: 19

 

Number of schools

 

In Bosnia and Herzegovina there are 1,089 primary schools and 289 secondary schools.

 

Education authorities

 

Damir Mašić from the Social Democratic Party of Bosnia and Herzegovina is the current Federal Minister of Education and Science. He came into position in March 2011.

 

Anton Kasipović is the Minister of Education and Culture of the Republika Srpska.

 

Website of MoEd: http://www.fmon.gov.ba  

 

BULGARIA

 

Political background

 

The Republic of Bulgaria is a parliamentarian republic.

 

The President is elected directly by the people in majoritarian system for a period of 5 years and can carry a maximum of two five-year terms. Legislative power is exercised by the National Assembly (Parliament) which is elected for a period of 4 years. Executive power is a prerogative of the Council of Ministers which is presided by the Prime-Minister. The Prime-Minister is elected by the Parliament for a period of 4 years and he/she proposes the structure and the staff of the Council of Ministers.

 

The newly elected (October 2011) president of Bulgaria is Rosen Plevneliev, from the Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria party.

 

The Prime-Minister of Bulgaria is Boyko Metodiev Borisov, of the  Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria party. He has been in function since 2009.

 

The main political parties are:

 

Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria is a centre-right political party established in 2006. It has been Bulgaria's ruling party since 2009. Its ideology is based on neoliberalism, conservatism, populism.

The Bulgarian Socialist Party is a social-democratic political party successor to the Bulgarian Communist Party.

The Movement for Rights and Freedoms  is a centrist political party in Bulgaria, often described as an ethnic Turkish one. The MRF is a member of the Liberal International and considers itself a liberal party.

 

Education system

 

Schools in Bulgaria are state, municipal and private. With the exception of private schools all education is free of charge.

 

School education is compulsory from the age of 6/7 up to the age of 16. Within the structure of Bulgarian education, primary and lower secondary education are integrated into a single structure. Basic (single structure) education in Bulgaria (1st to 8th grade) includes primary (1st to 4th grade) and lower secondary (5th to 8th grade) schooling. Basic education can be acquired at primary schools (1st to 4th grade), lower secondary schools (5th to 8th grade) or secondary general schools (1st to 12th grade). There are schools offering lower secondary vocational education and training, as well as specialised education (for example, in Mathematics) too. Students start school on completing 7 years of age, after a compulsory year of pre-schooling. Children can be enrolled in 1st grade at the age of 6 if their physical and mental development allows.

 

Secondary education is single stage (upper secondary/high school education), lasting 4 or 5 years and leading to completion of secondary education. Secondary education is acquired on completing 12th grade and, for those students who want to go further with their education, successfully taking state matriculation exams. Upper secondary education can be general (at general and (profile) specialized study courses schools) and vocational. General upper secondary education is acquired at general schools (with a course of study of 4 years) and profile (specialized) schools (with a course of study of 4 or 5 years). Students are admitted to profiled schools after completing 7th or 8th grade, passing entrance exams.

 

In Bulgaria there are also private educational institutions at all levels – from infant to university years. Private schools have a curriculum, whose compulsory part must meet the requirements of the state curriculum. Private schools have the right to supplement this with other curricula e.g. intensive foreign language teaching, arts, ecology, management, etc.

 

Number of schools

 

General schools by type in 2009/10 school year:

 

Total 2 121

Primary (I - IV grade) 155

Basic (I - VIII grade) 1 383

Lower secondary (V - VIII grade) 13

Upper secondary (IX - XII grade) 165

Secondary general (I - XII grade) 405

Of which: private schools 66

 

Vocational schools by type in 2009/10 school year:

 

Total 487

Art schools 21

Vocational schools 1 422

Vocational colleges with selection after secondary education 39

Vocational training schools 25

Of which: private schools 63

 

Education authorities

 

Sergei Simeonov Ignatov (from the Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria) is the Minister of Education, Youth and Science in Bulgaria.

 

MoEd website: www.mon.bg

CAMEROON

NB: Numbers in square brackets refer to sources listed under each subsection. Quote marks have been used where information is directly copied or directly translated.

Political background

  • Independence: The former French Cameroon gained independence in 1960, and in 1961 the southern part of British Cameroon merged with the country [2]. The official languages are now French and English (spoken by 70% and 30% respectively) [14]
  • System: republic, multiparty presidential regime [2]
  • Suffrage: universal from 20 years [2]
  • President: Paul Biya (since 1982) [2]
    • President elected for 7-year term (last election 2011, next 2018) [2]
    • Prime minister and cabinet appointed by president [7]
  • Prime Minister: Philemon Yang (since 2009) [2]
  • Legislative branch: Senate & National Assembly [2]
    • National Assembly: 180 seats; members elected by popular vote for 5-year terms (last election 2013, next 2018) [2]
    • Senate: 100 seats; “70 indirectly elected by municipal councils, 30 appointed by the President” [2]
  • Stability: Relatively stable politically, but corruption an issue [13]
    • “Cameroon ranks 144th out of 177 countries in the 2013 Transparency International corruption perceptions index” [6]
  • Controversy: Biya was prime minister under President Ahidjo (who ruled for 20 years) before succeeding him as president in 1982. He allowed multi-party presidential elections in 1992 and is now serving an additional term in office, after a constitutional amendment in 2008 which permitted him to do so. Elections have been controversial, with opponents alleging fraud and the main opposition parties boycotting the 1997 election. [1]

Economic background

  • GNI per capita (2012): US$1,170 [9]
  • Classified by the World Bank as a “lower middle income country” [6]
  • Post-independence: Rapid development after independence, but decline in economy after mid-80s; reform programmes led by the World Bank and IMF [9]
  • Currently: “After years of weak economic growth, growth continues to strengthen but is still too low to address poverty and development needs.” [6]
    • Growth from mid-90s, but slower growth from 2003 [9]
    • Hit by economic crisis in 2009-9, but recovered from 2010 onwards [9]
  • Diversity: Diverse economy based on agriculture, forestry, hydrocarbon exploitation, industry and services (transport, business, telecommunications) [8]
  • Rich natural resource base: “It is endowed with significant natural resources, including oil and gas, high value timber species, minerals, and agricultural products (coffee, cotton, cocoa, maize, cassava…)” [6]
  • Agriculture etc:
    • Agricultural diversification: “Systematic diversification of agricultural production into such crops as palm oil, rubber, and sugar has taken place.” [7]
    • Rural sector: Contributes 45% of GDP in 2009; employs over half of the active population [4]
    • Subsistence: 45% population in subsistence agriculture [10]
  • Industry: Contributes 27.6% of GDP; employs 8.9% of active population [4]
  • Oil: Crude oil is “the largest foreign-currency earner and accounted for 45 per cent of export earnings in 2011” [9]
  • Concerns:
    • Uncertainty: “Cameroon’s economy continues to depend heavily on the sale of its products on the world market, and fluctuations in the global prices of its primary goods—petroleum and cocoa—have made its economic situation unpredictable” [7]
    • Cameroon “faces many of the serious problems confronting other underdeveloped countries, such as stagnant per capita income, a relatively inequitable distribution of income, a top-heavy civil service, endemic corruption, and a generally unfavorable climate for business enterprise” [2]

Social background

  • Concerns:
    • “Despite the enormous potential it possesses (human resources, natural resources, strategic and central geographical position in the CEMAC zone), meeting the essential needs of the vast majority of the population remains a major challenge for Cameroon” [5-translation]
    • “Economic growth has not been sufficient to allow poverty reduction” [5-translation]
  • Life expectancy: 55 years (2012) [9]
  • Health: “Some 74 per cent of the population uses an improved drinking water source and 48 per cent have access to adequate sanitation facilities (2011). Infant mortality was 61 per 1,000 live births in 2012 (151 in 1960). In 2012, 4.5 per cent of people aged 15–49 were HIV positive.” [9]
  • Poverty:
    • Stagnant poverty rates: “After a significant decrease in poverty rates in the 1990s, poverty rates in Cameroon have been stagnant since, at a national average of around 40 per cent (40.2% in 2001 and 39.9% in 2007). Chronic poverty stands at about 26%. This is high compared to other countries in the region with similar economic characteristics.” [6]
    • Inequalities: Inequalities between regions, rural & urban areas. “From 2001 to 2007, urban poverty decreased by 5.7%, while rural poverty increased by 2.9%.” [6]
    • Food security: “Cameroon’s overall poverty rate has not declined and has even increased in the poorest regions. Food security is also problematic in those regions.“ [10]
  • ‘Africa in miniature’ – Cameroon’s diversity has earned it this name
    • “Cameroon comprises approximately 250 ethnic groups, which are regrouped into five geographical and cultural areas that all have ties to bordering countries.” [6]
    • “Two regions are Anglophone (North-West and South-West regions, bordering Nigeria) while the rest of the country is Francophone.” [6]
    • “Cameroon is also diverse in terms of its geography and climate, ranging from Sahelian semi-desert in the north through grassland to equatorial forest in the south.” [6]

Educational system

  • “Cameroon has two separate official education structures - each according to the legacy of British or French colonial control specific to different geographic areas. Both structures have a primary entry age of 6 and primary duration of 6. The systems diverge at the secondary level: the Anglophone school structure is 5-2, and the Francophone school structure is 4-3. Overall, the duration of secondary is the same but boundary between lower and upper secondary in each structure differs. In principle, primary school is and compulsory. Students sit for the Certificat d etudes primaire (CEP)/First school-leaving certificate (FSLE) at the end of grade 6, and the General Certificate of Education Ordinary Level at the end of grade 10 (French system) or 11 (English system).The school year is roughly 36 weeks and is broken down into trimesters; September-December, January-March, April-June. (UNESCO IBE, World Data on Education. Revised 12/2010).” [11]
  • “The school year starts in September. Many secondary schools are bilingual, with instruction in both French and English. Faith schools play an important role in the education system and are partly subsidised by the government” [9]
  • Increasing enrolment: “Cameroon has achieved significant progress over the last decade in expanding access to basic education. The number of students completing primary school, the primary completion rate, rose from 53 percent in 2001 to about 80 percent in 2011. School life expectancy rose by four years over the same period, a great improvement in relation to international comparators. The primary gross enrolment rate rose from 102.8 percent in 2001 to 112.9 percent in 2011.” [12]; “Total secondary enrolment more than doubled in the past two decades, reaching nearly 1.3 million total students in 2009.” [12]
  • Quality: “The increase in gross enrolment, however, does not seem to have been accompanied by better education outcomes.” [12]

Sources

  1. From info box on UNDP Country Summary [3]. Box sources: Institut National de la Statistique, Rapport national de progrès des OMD 2012

CROATIA

 

Political background   The politics of Croatia takes place in a framework of a parliamentary representative democratic republic, whereby the Prime Minister of Croatia is the head of government, and of a multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in the Croatian Parliament.

 

The President of the Republic of Croatia is the head of state and is elected by popular vote for a five-year term. A president may not serve more than two terms. The current President of Croatia is Ivo Josipović from the Social Democratic Party (since 2010).

 

The prime minister is the head of government, appointed by the President with the consent of the Parliament who takes his duty when Parliament gives its consent by absolute majority of all representatives. The current Prime-Minister is Jadranka Kosor from the Croatian Democratic Union (since 2009).

 

The Assembly is unicameral, has between 100 and 160 members, exact number was decided by the legislature - elected for a four year term, 140 members in multi-seat constituencies, up to 6 members chosen by proportional representation to represent Croatians residing abroad and 5 members of ethnic and national communities or minorities. Next elections are scheduled for December 2011.

 

The main political parties are:

The Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) is the main centre-right political party in Croatia. The Christian democratic HDZ governed Croatia from 1990 to 2000 and, in partial coalition, from 2003. They promote conservatism and pro-europeanism.

Social Democratic Party of Croatia is the largest centre-left political party in Croatia. In the most recent 2007 election they won 56 out of 153 seats in the Parliament of Croatia which makes it the biggest opposition party in the country.

The Croatian Peasant Party is a centre and socially conservative political party that considers itself among other left-wing European political parties that advocate pro-agrarian policies and greater economic interventionism by the state.

The Croatian People's Party – Liberal Democrats is a center-left liberal party in Croatia focused on social liberalism.

 

Education system

 

Structure of school system:

Primary

Type of school providing this education: Osnovna škola

Length of program in years: 8

Age level from: 6 to: 14

 

Secondary

Type of school providing this education: Gimnazija

Length of program in years: 4

Age level from: 14 to: 18

 

Specialized Secondary

Type of school providing this education: Gimnazija

Length of program in years: 4

Age level from: 14 to: 18

 

Specialized Secondary

Type of school providing this education: Art School

Length of program in years: 4

Age level from: 14 to: 18

 

Vocational

Type of school providing this education: Vocational School

Age level from: 14 to: 18

 

Besides the regular schools which provide tuition in Croatian, a number of schools – almost fifty - provide tuition in Serbian, Italian, Czech and Hungarian languages.

 

Number of schools

In addition to 838 elementary schools (of which 10 are private) in the elementary education system there are also 21 special schools and 56 art schools (of which 3 are private).

 

There are also around 90 gymnasiums and some 300 vocational schools in Croatia.

 

Education authorities

 

Radovan Fuchs is the current Minister of Science, Education and Sport in the Croatian Government. He represents the Croatian Democratic Union and has assumed office in 2009.

 

MoEd website: http://public.mzos.hr

 

CYPRUS

 

Political background

 

Politics of the Republic of Cyprus takes place in a framework of a presidential representative democratic republic, whereby the President of Cyprus is both head of state and head of government, and of a multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the House of Representatives.

 

The president is elected by popular vote for a five-year term. Dimitris Christofias is the current President of the Republic of Cyprus (since 2008). He is a member of the Progressive Party of Working People.

 

The House of Representatives has 59 members elected for a five-year term: 56 Greek Cypriot members chosen by proportional representation and 3 observer members representing the Maronite, Roman Catholic and Armenian minorities. 24 seats are allocated to the Turkish community, but are currently vacant. Latest elections were held in May 2011.

 

The main political parties are:

The Democratic Rally is a centre-right political party that supports Conservatism, Liberal conservatism, Christian democracy and Pro-Europeanism. It currently holds 20 of the 56 seats in the House of Representatives.

The Progressive Party of Working People is a communist party in Cyprus. It supports an independent, demilitarized and non-aligned Cyprus, and a federal solution of the internal aspect of the Cyprus problem.It currently holds 19 of the 56 seats in the House of Representatives.

The Democratic Party is a centrist political party in Cyprus, founded in 1976. In the 2006 elections it was ranked third.

 

Education system

 

Primary education in the public sector comprises a six-year cycle of studies. No child is accepted to be enrolled in a primary school before reaching the age of 5 years and 8 months.

 

Secondary education is offered in two different types in Cyprus, namely secondary general education and secondary technical and vocational education.

 

Public secondary schools are open to children aged 12-18 years, except for the case of the public evening schools which are open to persons who have completed the age of 17, or persons aged 14-17 years, who are working in the labour market or have left uninterrupted education for serious reasons.

 

Public secondary education comprises a six-year cycle of studies, which is free for all pupils and compulsory up to the age of fifteen or the end of the third year of studies, whichever comes first. Some private schools extend their cycle of studies to seven years in order to prepare pupils for international examinations. It comprises a six-year course of studies, which is divided into two successive cycles, the general lower secondary education (Gymnasium) and the general upper secondary education (Lyceum).

 

Secondary Technical and Vocational Education is open to students who have graduated from the Gymnasium. It comprises a 3-year cycle of studies which is offered at the Technical/Vocational Schools. Three types of programmes are offered – formal secondary technical and vocational education; apprenticeship scheme; and, lifelong learning.

 

Private schools also operate at all levels in Cyprus. They are established by private individuals or bodies and are registered with the Ministry of Education and Culture. Pupils in the private schools pay fees.

 

Number of schools

 

According to official data from the Statistical Service of Cyprus (CYSTAT), in the reference year 2008/09 the number of educational institutions was:

 

Primary education: 371

Public: 343

Private: 28

 

Secondary education: 165

Public: 127

Private: 38

 

Education authorities

 

Since August 2011 the new Minister of Education and Culture is George Demosthenes, from the  Progressive Party of Working People.

 

MoEd website: http://www.moec.gov.cy

 

CZECH REPUBLIC

 

Political background

 

Politically, the Czech Republic is a multi-party parliamentary representative democratic republic. The President is the head of state while the Prime Minister is the head of government, exercising supreme executive power. The Legislature is bicameral, with the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate.

 

The President of the Czech Republic is elected by collective session of the parliament for five-year term (no more than two consecutive). The president is a formal head of state with limited specific powers. Václav Klaus is the current President of the Czech Republic (since 2003, re-elected in 2008) and he is co-founder of the Civic Democratic Party.

 

Petr Nečas is the current Prime Minister of the Czech Republic and leader of the Civic Democratic Party. He was sworn into office in 2010.

 

The Chamber of Deputies has 200 members, elected for a four year term by proportional representation with a 5 % election threshold. The Senate has 81 members, in single-seat constituencies elected by two-round runoff voting for a six-year term, with one third renewed every even year in the autumn. Latest Chamber of Deputies elections were held in 2010, while for Senate they were held in 2008.

 

The main political parties are:

The Czech Social Democratic Party is a social-democratic political party of centre-left. It holds 56 seats in the Chamber of Deputies, thus winning the first place.

The Civic Democratic Party is the largest conservative political party in the Czech Republic. It holds 53 seats in the Chamber of Deputies, making it the second-largest party. Civic Democratic Party is liberal conservative and notably Eurosceptic.

TOP 09 (unofficially abbreviation from Tradice Odpovědnost Prosperita 09, meaning “Tradition Responsibility Prosperity 09”) is a fiscally conservative political party in the Czech Republic,  noted for its support of the free market and the European Union and condemnation of populism. It holds 41 seats in the Chamber of Deputies.

 

Education system

 

Primary and lower secondary education is organised mostly as a single-structure system by basic schools. Lower secondary education can be provided also by multi-year gymnázia and dance conservatoire. School attendance is compulsory for nine years, usually from the ages of 6 to 15 (primary stage, i.e. years 1 to 5, and the lower secondary stage, i.e. years 6 to 9).

 

Upper secondary education is provided by upper secondary schools: general upper secondary schools, vocational upper secondary schools, conservatoires. The age of pupils is usually 15 to 18/19.

 

Education in private and denominational schools that are on the Register of Schools and School Facilities is equivalent to education received in corresponding public schools.

 

In the year 2010-2011:

l  1.9% of the primary and lower secondary schools were private and 1% denominational (established by a registered church)

l  22.8% of the upper secondary schools were private and 2.5% denominational

l  16.7% of the conservatoires were private and  11.1% denominational

l  27.5% of the professional schools were private and 6.6% denominational

 

Number of schools

 

In the year 2010-2011 the number of schools was as follows:

l  4123  primary and lower secondary schools

l  1423  upper secondary schools

l  18  conservatoires

l  182  professional schools

 

Education authorities

 

The current Minister of Education, Youth and Sports is Josef Dobeš, from the Public Affairs (Věci veřejné), centre-right conservative liberal political party. He was appointed minister in 2010. His party is currently in a governing coalition with the country's two other centre-right parties: the Civic Democratic Party and TOP 09.

 

MoEd website: http://www.msmt.cz/

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

NB: Numbers in square brackets refer to sources listed at end of section. Quote marks have been used where information is directly copied or directly translated.

Political background

  • The Dominican Republic is a democratic republic. Voting is universal and compulsory (although not permitted for armed forces members and national police) [1]
  • The current president is Danilo Medina (as of August 2012) [1]
  • Medina is of the Dominican Liberation party, which “controls both houses of Congress” [2]

Educational System

  • Pre-primary: ages 0-6. Only final year is obligatory [5]
  • Primary: ages 6-14. Obligatory [5]
  • Secondary: ages 14-18. Not obligatory, but the state has a duty to provide this free of charge [5]
  • Inequalities: There are marked inequalities in the educational system between rural and urban areas [3] and between the public and the private sector [4]

Economic and social background

  • Economy previously focused on agriculture, especially sugar, but has become more service-based, with both tourism and remittance money significant [8]
  • In recent decades, the country has seen rapid economic growth (economic activity is 12 times greater now than in 1960) and rapid urbanisation [8]
  • The Dominican Republic’s Human Development Index score was 0.702 in 2013, placing it 96 out of 166 countries, but there is much inequality [8]
  • “Although the Dominican Republic has one of the fastest growing economies in the region, more than one-third of its population lives in poverty and almost 12 % live in extreme poverty.” [9]

Sources

EGYPT

 

Political background

 

The government of Egypt, as of February 11, 2011, is a republic currently under military rule of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces after the President of Egypt Hosni Mubarak stepped down following several days of mass protests. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the People's Assembly.

 

Under the new regulations of the March 2011 referendum, the president is limited to two six-year terms. Following the convening of the newly elected People’s Assembly and Consultative Council in March 2012, a committee will draft a new constitution to replace the pre-revolutionary one, and then presidential elections will be held. Since the committee has up to six months to finish its work, the presidential election may not be held until the end of August 2012.

 

Essam Abdel-Aziz Sharaf has been Prime Minister of Egypt since March 2011. He is an independent, although prior to 2005 he was a member of the National Democratic Party. Sharaf is noted for strongly opposing normalization of ties with Israel. He considers the resolution of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict to be a prerequisite to cooperation between the two states.

 

The People's Assembly is the principal legislative body. The assembly sits for a five-year term but can be dissolved earlier by the President. The People's Assembly was dissolved with the abrogation of the constitution in February of 2011. The first round of new elections is scheduled to start November 2011. The Consultative Council's legislative powers are limited. It was dissolved with the abrogation of the constitution in February of 2011. The three round elections for the new Council will start in January 2012.

 

The main political parties:

 

The National Democratic Party was the largest political party in Egypt. It was an authoritarian centrist party. However, following the revolution, the party was dissolved in April 2011 by court order, and its assets were transferred to the state.

National Democratic Alliance for Egypt is a coalition of mostly right-wing and conservative political parties in Egypt formed in the wake of the 2011 Revolution. The largest party in the group is the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party. By 13 September 2011 there were 33 parties according to egypt.com, including the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party, New Wafd Party, the liberal al-Ghad, the nationalist Arab Democratic Nasserist Party, the Nasserist Karama Party and several smaller parties. The parties differ on domestic policies but are united in supporting a more nationalistic, less pro-Western foreign policy. As of 25 October, there are 10 parties in the coalition according to memri.com.

The Egyptian Bloc is an electoral alliance in Egypt. It has been formed by several liberal, social democratic, and leftist political parties and movements, as well as the traditional islamist Sufi Liberation Party to prevent the Muslim Brotherhood, and its affiliated Freedom and Justice Party from winning the parliamentary elections in November 2011. It stands as the more liberal and left-leaning equivalent to the National Democratic Alliance for Egypt. Its 15 groups share the common vision of Egypt as a “civil democratic state”, and fear that in case of an Islamist electoral victory the constitution could be changed to an Islamic one.

 

Education system

 

Structure of school system

 

Primary School

Length of program in years: 5

Age level from: 6 to: 11

 

Preparatory School

Length of program in years: 3

Age level from: 11 to: 14

 

General Secondary School

Length of program in years: 3

Age level from: 14 to: 17

 

Technical Secondary School (for technicians)

Length of program in years: 3

Age level from: 14 to: 17

 

Technical Secondary School (for high level technicians)

Length of program in years: 5

Age level from: 14 to: 19

 

Compulsory education lasts for eight grades and is known as “basic education”, split into two stages, primary school (Grades 1 - 5) and preparatory school (Grades 6 - 8). Following the eight-year basic education, pupils have the choice of entering a general secondary school (academic option) or a technical option including three- and five-year technical schools as well as experimental schools teaching languages, education and physical education.

 

Al-Azhar

The Azharite education system is supervised by the Supreme Council of the Al-Azhar Institution and is independent from the Ministry of Education, but is placed under government supervision, and its educational system is actually supervised by the Egyptian prime minister. The Al-Azhar schools are named “institutes” and include primary, preparatory, and secondary phases. All schools in all phases teach non-religious subjects, although not as intensively as the state schools. The bulk of the curriculum, however, consists of religious subjects. All the students are Muslim, and males and females are separated in all phases. The Azharite schools are spread all over the country, especially in rural areas. The Azharite schools accounted in the early 2000s for less than 4 percent of the total enrolment.

 

Schools of the private sector are found in all phases. They are supervised by the Ministry of Education and teach State-approved curricula.

Generally speaking, there are three types of private schools: ordinary schools, language schools, and religious schools. The ordinary schools do not differ much from government schools so far as the curriculum is concerned, but they pay more attention to the students’ needs and to the school facilities. The language schools teach most of the government curriculum in English, and add French or German as a second foreign language. They are considered to be much better than the other schools but their fees are extremely high. There are some religiously oriented private schools that are sponsored by the opposition Muslim Brotherhood movement, especially in the western delta region. Their curricula are different from those taught at the state or the Al- Azhar schools. The government from time to time imposes new management and teachers, in order to strengthen its hold on these schools.

 

Private education in Egypt accounted in the school year 2000-01 for 3921 schools.

 

Number of schools

 

According to the Ministry of education, the number of civil schools in Egypt is 40868,

and according to the Egyptian General Information Board, the religious schools amount

to 8771 schools (2006).

 

Education authorities

 

Ahmed Gamal El-din Moussa is the current Minister of Education in Egypt.

 

MoEd website: http://www.emoe.org

 

ESTONIA

 

Political background

 

Politics in Estonia takes place in a framework of a parliamentary representative democratic republic, whereby the Prime Minister of Estonia is the head of government, and of a multi-party system. Legislative power is vested in the Estonian parliament. Executive power is exercised by the Government which is led by the Prime Minister.

 

The President of Estonia is elected by Parliament for a five-year term. Toomas Hendrik Ilves is current President of Estonia. He was elected in 2006 and prior to this he was a member of the Social Democratic Party. In 2011, he was reelected by the legislature to a second five-year term.

 

The prime minister is chosen by the President and conferred by Parliament. This is usually the leader of the largest party or coalition in the Parliament. Andrus Ansip is the current Prime Minister of Estonia, and chairman of the market liberal Estonian Reform Party.

 

The State Council has 101 members, elected for a four year term by proportional representation. Latest elections were held in 2011.

 

The main political parties are:

The Estonian Reform Party is a centre-right, free market liberal party in Estonia. It is the largest party in the legislature. It has been in government for all but three years since its foundation in 1994.

The Estonian Centre Party is a centrist, social liberal party in Estonia. It has the largest membership of an Estonian party and the second place in the Parliament. It is by far the most popular party among Russians in Estonia.

Union of Pro Patria and Res Publica  is an Estonian Liberal Conservative political party. It was founded in 2006 when two conservative parties merged. In the last parliamentary elections the party remained the third largest block in the Parliament.

 

Education system

 

Primary and lower secondary education is organised as a single structure system, beginning at the age of 7 and consisting of nine years of compulsory schooling. Upper secondary education is not compulsory, but the vast majority of the population participates. For the purposes of study programme, the single structure is divided into three stages: I stage – years 1–3; II stage – years 4–6; III stage – years 7–9.

 

Secondary education is based on basic education and is divided into general secondary education, which is acquired in upper secondary schools, and vocational secondary education, which is acquired in vocational schools. Upper secondary school is a general education school that follows basic school and its standard period of study is 3 years (years 10-12). The duration of vocational education is also 3 years.

 

 

The ratio of private education differs according to educational levels. Out of 545 general education schools 34 and out of 43 vocational schools 10 are in private ownership. These percentages have remained rather stable in recent years.

 

Curricula of private pre-primary institutions, basic schools, upper secondary schools  and vocational schools must comply with the corresponding national curriculum. Private education institutions are financed by their owner.

 

Number of schools

 

Educational institutions providing formal education in 2010:

 

General education schools      545

        primary schools               68

        basic schools                   253

        upper secondary schools             224

Vocational schools                  43

 

Education authorities

 

The current Minister of Education and Research is Jaak Aaviksoo, who took the position with the installation of a new government in April 2011. He is a member of liberal conservative Union of Pro Patria and Res Publica

 

MoEd website: http://www.hm.ee

FIJI

NB: Numbers in square brackets refer to sources listed under each subsection. Quote marks have been used where information is directly copied or directly translated.

Political Background

  • President: Epeli Nailatikau (since July 2009) [1]
  • Interim prime minister: Commodore Josaia Voreqe (Frank) Bainimarama, who led 2006 coup [1] (NB: prime minister: Laisenia Qarase (since September 2000) [2])
  • Former British colony, gained independence in 1970 [2]
  • Political instability: There have been several coups in recent decades and the military has been heavily influential in the country. 2 coups in 1987 led to the brief introduction of a constitution which promoted political supremacy for indigenous Fijians. During the 2000 coup, MPs including the prime minister were taken hostage and disputes over this giving rise to tensions led to a military takeover in 2006 by current ‘Interim Prime Minister’ Bainimarama [1]. The Fiji High Court declared Bainimarama’s appointment illegal in 2009, but President Iloilo responded by abrogating the 1997 Constitution and re-appointing Bainimarama and the previous Interim Cabinet [8]
  • International Isolation: In 2009, Fiji was suspended by both the Pacific Islands forum and the commonwealth [8]
  • Recent developments: Constitution released in 2013 (the government rejected the draft constitution drawn up by an “internationally respected expert” and drew up its own draft) [8]
  • Under the current constitution:
    • “The head of government is the prime minister, who is the leader of the majority party in the national legislature. The head of state is a president, who serves a maximum of two terms of three years each. He or she is appointed by Parliament, which chooses between a candidate nominated by the prime minister and one nominated by the leader of the opposition.” [9]
    • Universal suffrage from 18 years old [9]
  • Elections: A general election will be held on 17th September 2014 [10]
  • Geographical Composition: Fiji is made up of 332 islands, around 110 inhabited [2]

Educational System

  • Division by age [15]
    • Early Childhood Care, Development and Education: ages 0-8
    • Pre-school: ages 3-5
    • Primary phase: ages 6-13
      • Early Primary: ages 6-7 (classes 1-2)
      • Primary: ages 8-13 (classes 3-8)
    • Secondary phase: ages 12-18+ (forms 1-7)
  • Primary system [16]
    • “Primary school covers classes (grades) 1-6 or grades 1-8; grades 7 and 8 (or Forms 1 and 2) are considered as intermediate education, covering two years of senior primary school or Forms 1 and 2 of junior secondary school. The first two years of primary school (grades 1 and 2) are considered as early primary education.”
  • Secondary system [16]
    • “secondary school covers Forms 1 to 6 (or 7) or Forms 3-6 (or 7). Junior secondary schools offer Forms 1 to 4.”
    • “After the successful completion of Form 6, students can either continue in secondary schools in Form 7 or pursue a foundation level course at a university.”
  • Cost: Primary and secondary education free [11]
  • Youth Literacy: 99.5% (2008) [3]
  • Control of schools: “While the government provides some primary and secondary education, most schools are controlled through local committees run by and for a single ethnic or religious community. Entry to secondary schools is by competitive examination. Students pay fees but not the full cost of their education, which is subsidized by the government.” [9]
  • Quality: “Fiji reports that it has achieved universal primary education due to high enrolment rates for both girls and boys. However, the sector remains under-resourced and the quality of schooling does not prepare children well for higher education, vocational training and future employment. Many school buildings are falling into disrepair and maintenance is irregular. Fiji's Ministry of Education has reported increasing levels of illiteracy because more children are dropping out of primary and high school.” [13]
  • Inequalities: Concerns over lower examination performance among Indigenous Fijian students and differences between rural and urban areas [14]

Economic Background

  • GNI per capita: $ 4,690 [5 - PPP international, 2012]
  • Diversity: Fiji “relies heavily on the sugar and tourism industries for its foreign exchange” but “its economy is diverse. Gold, silver and limestone are mined, and there is a strong services sector and some light manufacturing.” [1]
  • Subsistence: Fiji’s economy still has “a large subsistence sector” [2]
  • Sugar: “The sugar industry has traditionally been regarded as the backbone of the economy in terms of employment and foreign exchange earnings.” [3] However, it is becoming increasingly unprofitable. [8] and has declined in recent years [3]
  • Other industries: tourism, garment industry, sugar cane, gold mining, bottling of mineral water for export [9]
  • Slow growth: Growth was slow since the 2006 coup, only picking up recently [8]
  • Deficit: “Fiji has been hampered by persistent trade and budget deficits, making it one of the world's largest per capita recipients of aid.” [1]

Social Background

  • Population: “More than 50% of the people are ethnic Fijians, who are of mixed Melanesian–Polynesian origin, and most of the rest are of Indian origin.” [12]
  • Racial tensions: There is a great divide between Indo-Fijians and indigenous Fijians, to the extent of informal segregation. Thousands of Indo-Fijans have fled the country since the mid-2000s as a result of the country’s unrest. [1]
  • Poverty: “Poverty has increased from around 25 percent in 1990 to around 40 percent in 2008.” [4]
  • Emigration: “Fiji has had a high rate of emigration, especially true of persons with education and skills seeking better economic opportunities abroad”; remittances are a significant sources of income. [7]
  • A 2010 report on Fiji’s progress towards the MDGs cited the following as reasons for the country’s lack of progress: [4]
    • “intermittent political instability which has reduced of investment, exports, and employment growth, thus contributing to poverty”
    • poor governance in particular corruption, which has stifled and impeded socio-economic national development initiatives”
    • “the volatility in global oil prices over the last few years, which has led to inflationary pressures, thus reducing real incomes of people and pushing those at the threshold of poverty into poverty”
    • unproductive use of fertile land, brought about by the non-renewal of expiring land leases—one of the reasons for the decline of the sugar industry and the decline in food production”
    • global financial crisis, which has affected the flow of remittances to Fiji and tourism receipts in Fiji”
  • Urbanisation & inequality: “With rapid urbanization, especially on the fringes of Suva, came the emergence of squatter settlements and some social problems. The disparities of income between urban and rural workers, contrasting lifestyles within the urban areas, and high urban unemployment can be seen as factors that have contributed to both an escalating rate of crime and the rapid growth of a trade union movement” [9]

Sources:

  1. Strategic Development Plan 2007-2011 - Available here here
  2. The Fiji Islands National Curriculum Framework. Education for a better future Available here

FYRO MACEDONIA

 

Political background

 

Politics of the Republic of Macedonia occurs within the framework of a parliamentary representative democratic republic, whereby the Prime Minister is the head of government, and of a multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and parliament.

 

The President is elected for a 5 year term and can serve a maximum of two terms. Gjorge Ivanov (the candidate of  VMRO-DPMNE) is the president of the Republic of Macedonia since 2009.

 

The Prime Minister is the head of government. Nikola Gruevski has been Prime Minister of the Republic of Macedonia since August 2006. He has led VMRO-DPMNE since May 2003.

 

The Assembly has 123 members, elected for a four year term. Latest elections were held in 2008.

 

The main political parties are:

The Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization – Democratic Party for Macedonian National Unity (VMRO – DPMNE) is a centre-right nationalist political party. It describes itself as a Christian democratic and pro-European political party which supports the admission of Macedonia to NATO and the European Union. It dominated the 2008 elections, gaining a majority of it own.

l  The Social Democratic Union of Macedonia is a centre-left political party, successor of the League of Communists of Macedonia. Although it is a successor of a communist party and claims to be social-democratic, the influential business lobby is moving the party in a neoliberal direction. It is the second largest political party and the main opposition party in the country.

l  The Democratic Union for Integration is the largest Albanian political party in the Republic of Macedonia, and the third largest political party in all of Macedonia. It upholds and protects the rights of the Albanians.

 

Education system

 

Structure of school system:

 

Elementary (compulsory)

Type of school providing this education: Elementary school

Length of program in years: 9

Age level from: 6 to 15

 

General Secondary

Type of school providing this education: Gimnazija

Length of program in years: 4

Age level from: 15 to 19

 

Technical Secondary

Type of school providing this education: Technical School

Length of program in years: 4

Age level from: 15 to 19

Specialized Secondary

Type of school providing this education: Art/Music/Ballet  Secondary School

Length of program in years: 4

Age level from: 15 to 19

 

Vocational Secondary

Type of school providing this education: Vocational School

Length of program in years: 3/4

Age level from: 15 to 18/19

 

The Macedonian constitution doesn't allow private elementary schools to be opened. Thus there are only some secondary schools which are private (11 in 2010/2011).

 

Number of schools

 

In the year 2010/2011 there were 990 elementary schools in Macedonia and 111 high schools that offered secondary education (of which 11 were run by private bodies).

 

Education authorities

 

The current Minister of Education and Science is Pance Kralev (VMRO – DPMNE), who was sworn in July 2011.

 

MoEd website: http://www.mon.gov.mk/

 

GEORGIA

 

Political background

 

The Politics of Georgia is based on a presidential representative democratic republic (semi-presidential system), with a multi-party system, and the President as the head of state and the Prime Minister as the head of the Georgian Government. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and parliament.

 

The head of state is the President, who is elected for a term of five years. Mikheil Saakashvili is the third and current President of Georgia and leader of the United National Movement Party (since 2003 and reelected in 2008).

 

The president appoints a Prime Minister, who serves as the head of government. Nikoloz Zurabis Gilauri (Independent) has been serving as Prime Minister of Georgia since February 2009.

 

The Parliament of Georgia has 235 members, elected for a four year term. Latest elections were held in 2008.

 

The main political parties are:

United National Movement is the main centre-right party, largest political organization and current governing party in Georgia. It is a reformist party and favors closer ties with NATO and the European Union

The Christian-Democratic Movement is a Christian democratic, conservative political party in Georgia. After the 2008 elections it has become the main opposition to the ruling United National Movement in Parliament.

l  The New Rights Party of Georgia is a liberal conservative party in Georgia. In December 2008, the New Rights Party joined the Republican Party of Georgia in a new opposition alliance.

 

Education system

 

Structure of school system:

 

Elementary

Type of school providing this education: Elementary School

Length of program in years: 6

Age level from: 6 to: 12

 

Basic

Length of program in years: 3

Age level from: 13 to: 15

 

Secondary

Length of program in years: 3

Age level from: 16 to: 18

 

The secondary cycle can be general or vocational.

 

Number of schools

 

According to the Ministry's site, there are currently 20 public vocational educational institutions in Georgia and 60 private ones.

 

Education authorities

 

Dimitri Shashkin (United National Movement) is the Minister of Education and Science in the Cabinet of Georgia. Shashkin was appointed to the post in December 2009.

 

MoEd website: http://www.mes.gov.ge/

 

GREECE

 

Political background

 

The Politics of Greece takes place in a large parliamentary representative democratic republic, whereby the Prime Minister of Greece is the head of government, and of a multi-party system. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the Hellenic Parliament.

 

The President of the Republic is elected by the Parliament for a five-year term, and a maximum of two terms in office. Karolos Papoulias has been the seventh President of Greece since 2005 (reelected in 2010).

 

The prime minister is elected by the people and he or she is usually the leader of the party controlling the absolute majority of Parliament members. He or she is the most powerful person of the Greek political system. Georgios A. Papandreou  from the Panhellenic Socialist Movement is the current Prime Minister of Greece following his party's victory in the 2009 legislative election.

 

The Greek Parliament has 300 members, elected for a four-year term. The latest elections took place in 2009.

 

The main political parties are:

The Panhellenic Socialist Movement is one of the two major political parties in Greece (currently holding the majority in the Parliament). The party self-identifies as a socialist party, but it has been criticized lately for abandoning its original socialist principles. The current president is George Papandreou, who is also the Prime Minister of Greece and the president of Socialist International.

New Democracy is the main centre-right political party and is now the main opposition party in the Hellenic Parliament.

The Communist Party of Greece is the oldest party on the Greek political scene, still holding the 3rd position in elections.

 

Education system

 

Education in Greece is compulsory for all children 6-15 years old; namely, it includes Primary and Lower Secondary Education. Attendance at Primary Education lasts for six years, and children are admitted at the age of 6.  The 3 year attendance in lower secondary education constitutes the last period of compulsory education  and is a prerequisite for enrolling and attending general or vocational upper secondary schools.

 

Post-compulsory Secondary Education consists of two school types: Eniaia Lykeia (Unified Upper Secondary Schools) and the Technical Vocational Educational Schools (TEE). The duration of studies in Eniaia Lykeia (EL) is three years and two years (a' level) or three years (b' level) in the Technical Vocational Educational Schools (TEE). Musical, Ecclesiastical and Physical Education Gymnasia and Lykeia are also in operation.

 

In Greece, besides state schools, private Primary and Secondary education schools operate, not belonging to the State, but established and maintained by Natural Persons or Legal Entities. They fall, however, under the competence of the Ministry of Education, Lifelong Learning and Religious Affairs that exercises supervision and control through regional administration bodies, just like in the case of state schools.

 

Number of schools

 

Educational Institutions for 2009-2010:

 

Primary Schools of General Education 5.258

Experimental Primary Schools            61

Minority Primary Schools       188

Cross-cultural Primary Schools           13

Private Primary Schools       172

Primary Schools of European Education 1

All-Day Lower Secondary Schools of General Education     1.711

Evening Lower Secondary Schools 84

Experimental Lower Secondary Schools 26

Minority Lower Secondary Schools 2

Cross - cultural Lower Secondary Schools     8

Ecclesiastical Lower Secondary Schools 10

Music-oriented Lower Secondary Schools with Upper Secondary Music Classes    41

Art-oriented Lower Secondary Schools with Upper Secondary Art Classes             3

Private Lower Secondary Schools 91

Lower Secondary School of European Education 1

General All-day Upper Secondary Schools 1.018

General Upper Secondary Evening Schools 54

Experimental Upper Secondary Schools 19

Minority Upper Secondary Schools 2

Cross-cultural Upper Secondary Schools 4

Ecclesiastical Upper Secondary Schools 17

Private Upper Secondary Schools    87

Upper Secondary Schools of European Education    1

All-day Vocational Upper Secondary Schools 330

Vocational Upper Secondary Evening Schools 61

Private Upper Secondary Vocational Schools 4

Vocational Schools     105

Private Vocational Schools 10

 

Education authorities

 

The current Minister of Education, Lifelong Learning and Religious Affairs, since 2009, is Anna Diamantopoulou from the Panhellenic Socialist Movement.

 

MoEd website: www.minedu.gov.gr

 

HUNGARY

 

Political background

 

Politics of Hungary takes place in a framework of a parliamentary representative democratic republic. The Prime Minister is the head of government of a pluriform multi-party system, while the President is the head of state and holds a largely ceremonial position. Executive power is exercised by the Council of Ministers. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the parliament.

 

The President of the Republic, elected by the National Assembly every five years. Pál Schmitt is the current President of Hungary, elected in 2010.

 

The Prime Minister of Hungary is the head of government of Hungary, the leader of a political coalition in the National Assembly of Hungary and the leader of the cabinet. The current Prime Minister is Viktor Orbán, who has served since  2010.

 

Legislative power is exercised by the unicameral National Assembly that consists of 386 members. Members of the National Assembly are elected for four years. Latest elections were held in 2010.

 

The main political parties are:

The Fidesz – Hungarian Civic Union is a major centre-right conservative and nationalist party in Hungary. At the 2010 election in Hungary, the Fidesz – Christian Democratic People's Party alliance won a two-thirds majority of seats.

The Hungarian Socialist Party describes itself as a social democratic party in Hungary. It is the partial successor of the communist Hungarian Socialist Workers' Party. Currently, they are the biggest opposition party in Hungary.

Jobbik, The Movement for a Better Hungary is a Hungarian radical nationalist political party. Jobbik has been denoted by scholars, different press outlets and its political opponents as fascist, neo-fascist, anti-Semitic, anti-Roma and homophobic. The party describes itself as “a principled, conservative and radically patriotic Christian party”. Measured according to its representation in the National Assembly, it is Hungary's third largest party.

 

Education system

 

Primary and lower secondary education is organised as a single-structure system in 8-grade basic schools (typically for pupils aged 6-14, covering grades 1-8). The primary education and training phase consists of the following four stages:

a) introductory stage (grades 1 to 2),

b) rudimentary stage (grades 3 to 4),

c) foundation stage (grades 5 to 6), and

d) developmental stage (grades 7 to 8).

 

Upper secondary education (typically for pupils aged 14-18, usually covering grades 9-12) is provided by general secondary schools, vocational secondary schools or vocational schools. However, general secondary schools are also allowed to offer longer programmes starting earlier (from Grade 5 or 7).

 

General secondary schools provide general education and prepare for the secondary school leaving examination, which is the prerequisite for admission to higher education. Secondary vocational schools provide general and pre-vocational education, prepare for the secondary school leaving examination and offer vocational post-secondary non-tertiary programmes. Vocational schools provide general, pre-vocational and vocational education and may also provide remedial lower secondary general education for those who have not accomplished basic school.

 

Educational institutions may be established by private entities like churches, foundations, firms and other legal entities. Educational institutions established by private entities must undergo an accreditation process in order to become acknowledged providers of formal education. Private educational institutions are entitled to state subsidy on the same per capita basis as educational institutions maintained by public maintainers.

 

Only 7 % of the primary schools are run by churches and 4.2% by foundations or private individuals.

 

18 % and 7 % of all general secondary school students attend schools maintained by churches and by foundations, respectively.

 

Number of schools

 

Educational institutions:

 

Basic schools    2322

General secondary schools  623

Vocational secondary schools             684

Vocational schools      593

 

Education authorities

 

Miklós Réthelyi (Independent) is the current Minister of National Resources from 2010. This “super ministry” consists of State Secretaries of Sport, Education (Rózsa Hoffmann), Social Affairs, Health and Culture.

 

MNR website: http://www.nefmi.gov.hu/english

 

ISRAEL

 

Political background

 

The Israeli system of government is based on parliamentary democracy. The Prime Minister of Israel is the head of government and leader of a multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in the Knesset.

 

The President of the State of Israel is the head of state of Israel. The position is largely an apolitical ceremonial figurehead role. The president is elected by an absolute majority in the Knesset for a 7 year-term. The current president is Shimon Peres (Kadima) who took office on 15 July 2007.

 

The Prime Minister is the chief executive of Israel, and the most powerful political figure in the country. The Prime Minister is elected by the Knesset. Benjamin Netanyahu is the current Prime Minister of Israel (since 2009). He serves also as the Chairman of the Likud Party.

 

The Knesset is Israel's unicameral legislature and is seated in Jerusalem. Its 120 members are elected to 4-year terms through party-list proportional representation. Latest Knesset elections were held in 2009.

 

The main political parties are:

Kadima is a centrist and liberal political party in Israel. Although it won the most seats in the 2009 elections, it became an opposition party for the first time after a Likud-led government was formed.

Likud is the major center-right political party in Israel. Following the 2009 elections, the party  now leads the Israeli government under Prime Minister Netanyahu.

Yisrael Beiteinu is a nationalist political party in Israel. In the elections the party won 15 seats, making it the third largest party in the Knesset.

 

Education system

 

The education system in Israel is divided as follows:

l  six years of primary education (grades 1 through 6, age 6-12),

l  three years of lower secondary school (grades 7 through 9, age 12-15),

l  three years of upper secondary school (grades 10 through 12, age 15-18).

 

Within the state schools there are three different types of secondary schools: general, vocational,  agricultural.

 

Compulsory education lasts 11 years (including 1 year kindergarten and up to 10th grade).

 

The recognized non-state education institutions are privately owned and mostly religious. They are subsidized by the state and supervised by the Ministry of Education, although they keep their independence with regard to curriculum and teacher recruitment.

 

Israeli schools are divided into four tracks: state, state-religious, Independent schools and Arab. There are also private schools which reflect the philosophies of specific groups of parents (Democratic Schools) or are based on a curriculum of a foreign country. The majority of Israeli children attend state schools.

 

Number of schools

 

Generally, there are about 750,000 primary schools and 250,000 middle schools in Israel. Although secondary school is not required,  many students choose to attend one of the 310,000 high schools across Israel.

 

Education authorities

 

Gideon Sa'ar (from Likud) is the country's Minister of Education, appointed in March 2009.

 

MoEd structure: http://cms.education.gov.il/educationcms/units/owl/english/about/ministry+structure.htm

 

KAZAKHSTAN

 

Political background

 

The politics of Kazakhstan takes place in the framework of a presidential republic, whereby the President of Kazakhstan is head of state and nominates the head of government. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the two chambers of parliament.

 

The president is the head of state and is elected by popular vote for a five-year term. Nursultan Abishuly Nazarbayev has served as the President of Kazakhstan since the nation received its independence in 1991. In April 2011, President Nazarbayev was reelected to another five-year term receiving 95.54 percent of the vote.

 

The prime minister and first deputy prime minister are appointed by the president. Karim Qajymqanuly Massimov has served as Prime Minister in the Government of Kazakhstan since January 2007, supported by Nur Otan party.

 

The legislature, known as the Parliament, has two chambers. The Lower House Assembly has 107 seats, elected for a five year term. The Upper House Senate has 47 members, 40 of whom are elected for six-year terms. Latest elections took place in 2007.

 

The main political parties are:

National Democratic Party Nur Otan is the largest political party in Kazakhstan with over 762,000 members. Since 2007 it is headed by President of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev. Its ideology is based on authoritarianism and populism.

Nationwide Social Democratic Party is a political party in Kazakhstan led by former Presidential election candidate Zharmakhan Tuyakbay. In the 2007 Assembly elections, the party won no seats as all were won by the ruling Nur-Otan party.

 

Education system

 

Structure of school system:

 

Primary

Type of school providing this education: Primary School

Length of program in years: 4

Age level from: 6 to: 10

 

Basic

Type of school providing this education: General School, Secondary School, Gymnasium

Length of program in years: 5

Age level from: 10 to: 15

 

General Secondary

Type of school providing this education: Secondary School, Lyceum, Gymnasium

Length of program in years: 2

Age level from: 15 to: 17

 

Vocational

Type of school providing this education: Professional Lyceum, Vocational School

Length of program in years: 2

Age level from: 15 to: 17

 

Professional

Type of school providing this education: Professional College, Vocational School

Length of program in years: 4

Age level from: 15 to: 19

 

A pre-school year (age 5-6) is also mandatory by law. The transition to a 12 year education system (primary – grades 1-4, basic secondary – grades 5-10, and secondary education or profile training – grades 11 and 12) is expected to be completed by 2015.

 

During the Soviet years, Kazakhstan had no private educational institutions. When it was granted independence however, the constitution allowed individuals, public organizations, and churches to open private educational institutions. The amount of non-state educational institutions increased, but over time, student enrolment decreased. However, for vocational schools, the picture is reversed, with their numbers growing steadily.

 

Number of schools

 

In 2006/2007 the number of secondary schools was 7802, of which 1190 primary schools, 1189 basic secondary schools and 5423 secondary schools. Out of the total, 5967 schools were in rural areas. In addition, there were also 133 private schools.

 

In 2006/2007 there were also 320 vocational schools (of which 289 public and 31 private) and 510 specialised secondary schools and colleges (of which 201 state owned).

 

Education authorities

 

Bakytzhan Turssynovich Zhumagulov was appointed Minister of Education and Science in 2010.

 

MoEd website: http://www.edu.gov.kz/en/

 

KOSOVO

 

Political background

 

The Politics of Kosovo takes place in a framework of a multi-party parliamentary representative democratic republic, whereby the Prime Minister of Kosovo is the head of government, and the President of Kosovo is the head of state. Executive power is exercised by the Executive of Kosovo. Legislative power is vested in both the Executive and the Assembly of Kosovo.

 

The president is elected by the Parliament. As of April 2011 Atifete Jahjaga is the fourth and current President of Kosovo. She is the first female, the first non-partisan candidate, and the youngest to be elected to the office.

 

The Executive is headed by the Prime Minister of Kosovo. Hashim Thaçi is the Prime Minister of Republic of Kosovo since 2008 and the leader of the Democratic Party of Kosovo.

 

The Assembly of Kosovo has 120 members elected for a four-year term. Latest election were held in 2010.

 

The main political parties are:

The Democratic Party of Kosovo is the largest political party in Kosovo. It is a social democratic party and the main leftist party in Kosovo. After the 2010 elections it formed a  government together with the Alliance for a New Kosovo, with a program dedicated to EU integrations.

The Democratic League of Kosovo is the second largest political party in Kosovo. It is a conservative and liberal conservative party; the main right-wing party in Kosovo.

Vetëvendosje (Albanian for 'Self-Determination') is a centre-left political movement in Kosovo which opposes foreign involvement in internal affairs in the country and campaigns for the sovereignty exercised by the people and government of the Republic of Kosovo instead as part of right of self-determination.

 

Education system

 

The new structure of primary and secondary education contains 9 years of compulsory education ( 5 years of primary education and 4 years of lower secondary education).

 

The lower cycle consists of grades 1-5 and is attended by children aged from 6-11. The upper cycle consists of grades 6-9 and is attended by children aged 12-15.

 

Upper Secondary education lasts for 3 years or 4 years depending on the chosen path (normally ages 15 to 19). Secondary education system in Kosovo recognizes three types of institutions:

• Secondary general education schools

• Secondary vocational schools

• Secondary artistic schools

 

Education in Kosovo is mainly public, while private education is still at a low level, especially in pre-university education.

 

Number of schools

 

In 2009/2010 there were:

 

l  984 public primary and lower secondary schools

l  7 private primary and lower secondary schools

l  125 public upper secondary schools

l  7 private upper secondary schools

 

Education authorities

 

Prof. Dr. Ramë Buja (Democratic Party of Kosovo) is the current Minister for Education, Science and Technology of the Republic of Kosovo.

 

MoEd: http://www.masht-gov.net/advCms/

 

LATVIA

 

Political background

 

The politics of Latvia takes place in a framework of a parliamentary representative democratic republic, whereby the Prime Minister is the head of government, and of a multi-party system. The President holds a primarily ceremonial role as Head of State. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and parliament.

 

The president is elected by Parliament for a maximum of two terms of four-years. Andris Bērziņš is the President of Latvia, having won the presidential election held in 2011.

 

The Prime Minister is appointed by the President. The Prime Minister then chooses the Council of Ministers (Cabinet) which has to be accepted by the Parliament. Valdis Dombrovskis  is the current Prime Minister of Latvia. He represents the New Era Party and assumed office in 2009.

 

The unicameral Parliament has 100 members, elected for a four year term. An early parliamentary election was held in Latvia in September 2011, following the country's first parliamentary dissolution referendum held in July 2011. The last parliamentary election had been held only in October 2010.

 

The main political parties are:

l  Harmony Centre is a left-wing political alliance in Latvia. It was formed in 2005 and its member parties are the Social Democratic Party “Harmony” and the Socialist Party of Latvia. In the 2011 parliamentary election, the pro-Russian Harmony Centre won the most seats for the first time in Latvian history.

The Zatlers' Reform Party is a centre-right political party in Latvia founded by the former President Valdis Zatlers in July 2011. At the 2011 elections it became the second-largest party in the legislature.

Unity is a Latvian centre-right political party, founded as an electoral alliance of the New Era Party, the Civic Union and the Society for Other Politics. In 2011, the alliance was transformed into a single political party. They won the 2010 parliamentary elections.

 

Zatlers and incumbent Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis soon agreed to form a coalition. Needing nine further seats to give them a majority allowed three possible coalitions – with Harmony Centre, the National Alliance, or the Union of Greens and Farmers. They finally decided to go for the National Alliance, and the three signed a coalition agreement on 11 October, with Dombrovskis as Prime Minister.

 

Education system

 

Primary and lower secondary education is organised as a single structure system, beginning at the age of 7 and consisting of nine years of compulsory schooling, consisting of 6 years of the first stage of education and 3 years of the second stage of education.

 

It is possible to obtain compulsory education also in vocational schools, in the schools providing education for children with special needs, in evening or boarding schools, social or pedagogical correction schools or classes or in other educational establishments providing compulsory education programmes.

 

Upper-secondary education is provided in general and vocational branches and on a full-time or part-time basis. General secondary education lasts three years. A general secondary school includes classes 10, 11 and 12. Vocational upper-secondary education programmes last three to four years; if one studies after acquirement of vocational education, vocational secondary education may be completed in one or two years. The age range is from 16 up to 20. 

 

Private persons or legal entities may establish, reorganize and close private education institutions. The rules of registration of an institution, accreditation of an institution, licensing, registration and accreditation of education programmes are the same as for public schools. The founders of private education institutions provide financing for them. Private education institutions are free to set tuition fees.

 

Number of schools

 

In the year 2010/2011 the number of educational institutions was reported as follows:

 

Number of general education schools  858

Number of vocational schools  83

 

Education authorities

 

Roberts Ķīlis (from the Zatlers' Reform Party) is the current Minister of Education and Science, since October 2011.

 

MoEd website: http://izm.izm.gov.lv/58.html

 

LITHUANIA

 

Political background

 

Politics of Lithuania takes place in a framework of a parliamentary representative democratic republic, whereby the Prime Minister of Lithuania is the head of government, and of a multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the government, which is headed by the Prime Minister. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the unicameral Parliament.

 

The President of Lithuania is the head of state of the country, elected directly for a five-year term and can serve maximum of two terms consecutively. Dalia Grybauskaitė (Independent, but supported by the dominant Conservative Party) is the current President of Lithuania, inaugurated in 2009.

 

The Prime Minister of Lithuania is the head of government of the country, appointed by the President and approved by the Parliament. Andrius Kubilius has been Prime Minister of Lithuania since 2008. He is the leader of the conservative political party Homeland Union – Lithuanian Christian Democrats.

 

The parliament has 141 members that are elected for a 4-year term. Latest election were held in 2008.

 

The main political parties are:

The Homeland Union – Lithuanian Christian Democrats is a centre-right political party. It is the largest party in Lithuania, with a particularly liberal conservative and Christian democratic ideology.

The Social Democratic Party of Lithuania is a centre-left and social democratic political party, the oldest in Lithuania. At the 2008 elections it came in second place.

National Resurrection Party was a centre-right political party in Lithuania. Founded in 2008, the party merged into the Liberal and Centre Union in 2011. The party currently participates in a new governing coalition, along with Homeland Union – Lithuanian Christian Democrats and the Liberal Movement.

 

Education system

 

According to law, children can start compulsory education at the age of 7 (or earlier if the child is

ready for school). It ends when they reach the age of 16. Compulsory education is provided in primary and basic schools and partially in secondary schools and gymnasiums.

 

Education phases:

 

The programme of primary education is provided for children who have turned seven. A

four-year programme of primary education is provided by kindergarten-schools and other schools.

 

The programme of basic education is provided for children who have completed primary education. A six year programme of basic education is carried out at gymnasiums, secondary, basic, vocational and

other schools. The programme of basic education comprises two concentres: the first concentre of four years and the second concentre of two years.

 

The state-guaranteed general secondary education is provided to pupils who have completed basic education. A two-year programme of secondary education is carried out at gymnasiums, secondary schools, vocational schools and other schools.

 

In the beginning of the school year 2009/10, 98.9 % of students attended publicly funded education establishments financed by the central and local administration budgets. Private-sector education establishments are maintained by their founders. In 2009/10, there were 28 private-sector education establishments attended by 4878 students.

 

Number of schools

 

Number of education institutions (2010):

 

Primary schools  94

Primary kindergarten-schools  114

Private primary schools  7

 

General education schools  1460

Private general education schools  28

 

State vocational schools  78

Private vocational schools  3

 

Education authorities

 

Gintaras Steponavičius is the Minister of Education and Science since 2008. He is a Member of the Lithuanian Liberal Movement.

MoEd: http://www.smm.lt/en/

 

MALTA

 

Political background

 

The politics of Malta takes place within a framework of a parliamentary representative democratic republic, whereby the President of Malta is the constitutional head of state. Executive Authority is vested in the President of Malta with the general direction and control of the Government of Malta remaining with the Prime Minister of Malta who is the head of government and the cabinet. Legislative power is vested in the Parliament of Malta which consists of the President of Malta and the unicameral House of Representatives of Malta.

 

The president is elected by the House of Representatives for a five-year term. George  Abela (Labour Party) is the incumbent President of Malta, nominated in 2009.

 

The president appoints as Prime Minister the leader of the party with a majority of seats in the unicameral House of Representatives. Lawrence Gonzi is the incumbent Prime Minister of Malta and leader of the Nationalist Party.

 

Elections to the House of Representatives are based on the single transferable vote system, which in turn is a variant of the proportional representation electoral system. The Parliamentary term cannot exceed five years. Latest elections were held in 2008.

 

The main political parties are:

l  The Nationalist Party is a centre-right major contemporary political party in Malta. The presence of Italian refugees from the Risorgimento gave the party a liberal constitutionalist character. The party presently holds a majority in the House of Representatives.

l  The Labour Party is a centre-left major political party and currently the party of opposition in the Maltese House of Representatives.

 

Education system

 

Education is compulsory from age five to age sixteen:

 

Primary level    age 5 –11 years

Lower Secondary level    age 11-16 years

 

Transition to lower secondary level is based on the pupils’ achievement of academic competence following a qualifying national examination (Junior Lyceum Examination) in four main areas, namely Maltese, English, Mathematics and Religion. Pupils who are successful in these examinations move to the Junior Lyceum, the others proceed to the secondary school. The reform has removed the selective element in these examinations and pupils will proceed to the secondary school within their College, with the examination results serving diagnostic purposes. Schools at secondary level get their intake on the basis of catchment areas made up of a group of feeder primary schools within their college.

 

Post-compulsory education:

 

Junior College  age 16 – 18 years

Higher secondary schools  age 16 – 18 years

Institute of Tourism Studies (ITS) – age 16 – 21 years

Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology (MCAST)

ISCED level 3 (general)   age 16 – 18 years

ISCED level 3 (vocational)  age 16-17/18 years

ISCED level 4    age 16-18/19 years

 

The Junior College falls under the responsibility of the University of Malta. It provides students with a two-year course leading to the Matriculation Certificate examination. This certificate is an admission requirement to University education.

 

The Higher secondary schools offer two years of full-time general upper secondary education through three different types of course: the secondary education certificate (SEC) course; the advanced /SEC course in which several matriculation and SEC examinations are offered and which do not lead to University but is intended for students who would like to further their education and enhance their employability; and the matriculation certificate examination course which is identical to that offered by the Junior College and leads to university.

 

The Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology provides at the upper secondary and post-secondary level, vocational education and training courses at four different levels with different entry and exit points, depending on the qualifications of the students and the level he aspires to reach within any one of the nine institutes.

 

The non-state education sector is sub-divided into Church schools and independent private schools. There are 81 such schools, 56 of which are church schools. The Church schools are predominantly Roman Catholic schools and are heavily subsidised by the government and, as a result, Church schools do not charge any tuition fees. Independent schools are set up by individuals or non-profit parents’ foundations. The government gives tax rebates to parents whose children attend these schools.

 

Number of schools

 

For the year 2010/2011 the following statistics have been provided:

 

Primary schools:

   State  69

   Church  23

   Private  13

 

Secondary schools

   State  30

   Church  22

   Private  9

 

General post-secondary schools

   State  5

   Church  2

   Private  3

 

Vocational post-secondary schools

   State  2

   Church  0

   Private  0

 

Education authorities

 

Dolores Cristina (Nationalist Party) was appointed Minister for Education and Culture on the 12th March 2008. Since February 2010, Minister Cristina has been given the added responsibilities for Employment and the Family, together with the Education Portfolio.

 

MoEd website: https://www.meef.gov.mt/education

MOLDOVA

 

Political background

 

The politics of Moldova takes place in a framework of a parliamentary representative democratic republic, whereby the prime minister is the head of government and of a multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and parliament.

 

The president is elected for a four year term by parliament. Marian Lupu (a representative of the Democratic Party) is the President of Parliament and Acting President since 2010.

 

The president will designate a candidate for the office of prime minister, who will request a vote of confidence from the parliament regarding his/her work program and entire cabinet. Vladimir Filat (president of the Liberal Democratic Party of Moldova ) is the current Prime Minister of Moldova since September 2009.

 

The Parliament has 101 members, elected for a four year term by proportional representation. Latest elections were held in 2010.

 

The main political parties are:

The Party of Communists of the Republic of Moldova is a communist political party, the only one to have held a majority in government in the post-Soviet states. It is the current opposition political party in Moldova.

The Liberal Democratic Party of Moldova is a centre-right party with conservative doctrine. At the early parliamentary elections of November 2010, PLDM doubled its results, obtaining 32 deputies seats (out of 101).

The Democratic Party of Moldova is a centre-left social-democratic political party in Moldova. Along with the Liberal Democratic Party of Moldova it is part of the Alliance for European Integration, the ruling coalition.

 

Education system

 

Structure of school system:

 

Primary

Type of school providing this education: Primary School

Length of program in years: 4

Age level from: 6 to: 10

 

Lower Secondary

Type of school providing this education: Gymnasium

Length of program in years: 5

Age level from: 10 to: 15

 

Upper Secondary

Type of school providing this education: Scoala Medie de Cultură generală

Length of program in years: 2

Age level from: 15 to: 17

 

Upper Secondary

Type of school providing this education: Lyceum

Length of program in years: 3

Age level from: 15 to: 18

 

Several types of primary and secondary schools exist in Moldova (2007/2008), among which:

 

Primary schools, grades 1-4

Gymnasiums, grades 1-9

Lyceums, grades 1-12

General schools, grades 1-11

Schools of trades, 1 year (grade 12)

Vocational schools, 3 years (grades 10-12) Vocational lyceums, 3 years (grades 10-12)

 

Since the late 1990s, private education as an alternative to state education has also begun in Moldova. The institutions follow the regulations established by the Ministry of Education and Science. In 2001, there were 14 pre and primary schools, 12 gymnasiums and lyceums, and 82 schools of trade. There is a growing emphasis in promoting the private sector for meeting the educational needs of the country.

 

Number of schools

 

Number of schools (2007/2008):

Primary schools        94

Gymnasiums           678

Lyceums                  471

General schools       254

Schools of trades       23

Vocational schools    50

Vocational lyceums    2

 

Education authorities

 

Mihail Şleahtiţchi (from the The Liberal Democratic Party of Moldova) is the current Minister of Education, since January 2011.

 

MoEd website: http://www.edu.md/

 

MONTENEGRO

 

Political background

 

Politics of Montenegro takes place in a framework of a parliamentary representative democratic republic, whereby the Prime Minister of Montenegro is the head of government, and of a multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the Parliament of Montenegro.

 

The President of Montenegro is elected for a period of five years through direct and secret ballots. Filip Vujanović (Democratic Party of Socialists) has served as the President of Montenegro since 2003 (reelected in 2008).

 

The Prime Minister of Montenegro directs the work of the Government, and submits to the Parliament the Government's Program including a list of proposed ministers. Igor Lukšić is the current Prime Minister of Montenegro since December 2010. He is the youngest head of government in the world.

 

The Parliament currently has 81 members, each elected for a four-year term. Latest elections were held in 2009.

 

The main political parties are:

Coalition for European Montenegro is the ruling political alliance in Montenegro headed by the Democratic Party of Socialists (DPS). Consisting of three additional parties (Social Democratic Party of Montenegro, Croatian Civic Initiative, Bosniak Party), it is the latest instalment of the DPS-led political alliances that have ruled Montenegro since 1998. The Democratic Party of Socialists of Montenegro is the ruling centre-left social-democratic political party in Montenegro.

The Socialist People's Party of Montenegro is a centre-left socialist political party in Montenegro. Currently it is the largest opposition party.

New Serb Democracy is a right-wing political party in Montenegro, formed as a merger of the Serbian People's Party and the People's Socialist Party of Montenegro.

 

Education system

 

Primary education is compulsory for children aged 6-14 and it lasts for 9 years. It consists of 3 stages (of 3 years each) and in the last cycle pupils have an option to select subjects according to their need and interests. The old system of 8 years compulsory education is still in place in some institutions and will be phased out by 2013.

 

Secondary education lasts three or four years, depending on the course of study. There are three main types of secondary schools. Grammar schools or gymnasia offer four years of general academic education. Professional and art schools offer three or four years of specialized education as well as an academic curriculum. Vocational schools offer three years of practical education.

 

General elementary schools must be state run. However, elementary schools for art, adult education, preschool institutions or secondary schools can be established with state, joint and/or private ownership.

 

Number of schools

 

Number of schools (2008/2009):

 

Primary schools     162

Secondary schools   49 of which 2 are private

 

Education authorities

 

Slavoljub Stijepović (DPS) is the current Minister of Education and Sport

 

MoEd website: http://www.mpin.gov.me/en/ministry

POLAND

 

Political background

 

The politics of Poland take place in the framework of a parliamentary representative democratic republic, whereby the Prime Minister is the head of government of a multi-party system and the President is the head of state. Executive power is exercised by the Council of Ministers. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the two chambers of parliament, the Sejm and the Senate.

 

The president has a mostly representative role and is elected every 5 years (for maximum 2 terms). Bronisław Maria Komorowski (candidate of the Civic Platform party) is the current President of Poland since 2010.

 

The prime minister is appointed by the president and confirmed by the Sejm. Donald Franciszek Tusk has been Prime Minister of Poland since 2007. He was a co-founder and is chairman of the Civic Platform party. In October 2011 Tusk became the first Prime Minister to be re-elected since the fall of communism in Poland.

 

The Polish Parliament has two chambers. The lower chamber (Sejm) has 460 members and the Senate has 100 members, all elected for a four year term. Latest elections were held in October 2011.

 

The main political parties are:

The Civic Platform Party is a centre-right, liberal conservative political party in Poland. It is the largest party in the Sejm and the Senate.

Law and Justice is a right-wing, conservative political party, the second-largest in the Polish parliament.

Palikot's Movement is a political party in Poland headed by Janusz Palikot, a former Civic Platform MP, founded in October 2010. Media have described the party as libertarian, liberal, anti-clerical, populist and left wing. The party came in third at the last elections.

 

Education system

 

Full-time compulsory education applies to children aged 6-16 whereas part-time compulsory education i.e. the obligation to learn in school or out of school forms concerns persons aged 16-18. Compulsory education includes the last year of pre-primary education, 6-year primary education and 3-year lower secondary education.

 

Children are required to enter primary education when they have reached or will reach the age of 7 in a given school year. As from 1 September 2012, an obligation for 6-year olds to start full-time compulsory education will be introduced. Primary education covers 6 years. General education in the primary school is divided into two stages:

l  Stage I, including grades I to III of the primary school and covering early school education,

l  Stage II, including grades IV to VI of the primary school.

 

The following types of secondary schools exist in Poland:

 

I. Lower secondary school: a 3-year lower secondary school leading to a final exam which gives access to upper secondary education.

 

II. Upper secondary schools, including:

 

l  a basic vocational school offering 2- to 3-year programmes; graduates receive a diploma confirming vocational qualifications upon passing an exam and may continue education in a 2-year supplementary general upper secondary school or in a 3-year supplementary technical upper secondary school;

l  a 3-year general upper secondary school  where students may obtain a maturity certificate upon passing the maturity exam;

l  a 3-year specialized upper secondary school, offering general vocational training, where students may obtain the maturity certificate upon passing the maturity exam;

l  a 4-year technical upper secondary school where students may obtain a diploma confirming vocational qualifications upon passing of an exam, and may also take the maturity exam and obtain a maturity certificate;

l  a 2-year supplementary general upper secondary school for basic vocational school leavers where they may take take the maturity exam and obtain a maturity certificate;

l  a 3-year supplementary technical upper secondary school for basic vocational school leavers where they may take the maturity  exam and obtain a maturity certificate, and obtain a diploma confirming vocational qualifications upon passing an exam;

 

Currently, schools and other educational institutions may be public, non-public or non-public with the public school status. Primary school and lower secondary schools may be only public or non-public with the public school status. A non-public school is an educational institution administered by legal entities or natural persons on the basis of an entry into the register of non-public schools and educational institutions in the education department of the relevant local self-government unit. A non-public school may be granted the public school status if it fulfils the minimum curriculum requirements, applies the rules for the assessment and promotion of pupils and employs teachers holding required qualifications.

 

Pupils in non-public primary schools represent only 2.1% of the total pupil population at this level of education. In 2009/10 there were 637 non-public primary schools for children and young people.

 

In the school year 2009/10 all 614 non-public lower secondary schools had only 2.8% of all pupils at this level.  Students in non-public general upper secondary schools represented 3.7% of the total student population in general upper secondary schools, and those in non-public vocational upper secondary schools, basic vocational schools and specialised upper secondary school represented 2.5% of the total student population at this level. There were 397 non-public general upper secondary schools (171 run by civic organisations and associations and 93 denominational) and 276 non-public vocational schools (of which 162 run by civic organisations).

 

Number of schools

 

Public and non-public schools for children and young people, including special schools (2009/2010):

 

Primary schools      13968

Lower secondary schools       7244

General upper secondary schools     2446

Basic vocational and vocational upper secondary schools, specialised upper secondary schools  4770

 

Education authorities

 

Katarzyna Hall (no party) has been the Minister of National Education of the Republic of Poland since November 2007.

 

MoEd website: http://www.men.gov.pl/

 

ROMANIA

 

Political background

 

Politics of Romania take place in a framework of a semi-presidential parliamentary representative democratic republic, whereby the Prime Minister of Romania is the head of government and the President of Romania exercises the functions of head of state. Romania has a multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the two chambers of parliament, the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate.

 

The President is elected by popular vote for a maximum of two 5-year terms. The president nominates the Prime Minister, following consultations with the party that holds the majority in the Parliament. The current president of Romania is Traian Băsescu (backed by the Democratic Liberal Party), who assumed office in 2004 and was reelected in 2009).

 

Emil Boc is the Prime Minister of Romania, having served since 2008. Boc is also the president of the Democratic Liberal Party, who designated him as Prime Minister in 2008.

 

The national legislature is a bicameral parliament consisting of the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate. Members are elected for 4-year terms. Latest elections were held in 2008.

 

The main political parties are:

The Democratic Liberal Party is a populist, centre-right party in Romania. In 2008, they won the most seats in the election in both the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate.

The Social Democratic Party is the major centre-left, social-democratic political party in Romania. Since its formation, it has always been one of the two dominant parties of the country. They and are now again leading the opposition.

The National Liberal Party is a centre-right liberal party in Romania. It is the third-largest party in the Romanian Parliament.

 

Education system

 

Structure of school system:

 

Primary (compulsory)

Type of school providing this education: primary school

Length of program in years: 5

Age level from: 6 to: 10

 

Lower Secondary (compulsory)

Type of school providing this education:

○ Gimnaziu – grades V to VIII for pupils aged 10-14;

○ Liceu - lower cycle or, alternatively, Arts and Trades School – grades IX and X for pupils aged 14-16;

Length of program in years: 6

Age level from: 10 to: 16

 

Upper Secondary

Type of school providing this education: Upper cycle of high school, Grades 11-12 or 13

Length of program in years: 3

Age level from: 16 to: 19

 

Vocational

Type of school providing this education: Vocational School

Length of program in years: 2

Age level from: 15 to: 17

 

Vocational

Type of school providing this education: Specialised high school

Length of program in years: 4

Age level from: 15 to: 19

 

In order to be recognised as part of the national education system, private education institutions

have to be accredited through specific procedures established by the law. Diplomas and certificates emitted by the accredited private education institutions produce the same effects as the ones emitted by the public education institutions.

 

In Romania in 2010 there were about 80 primary schools, 35 gymnasiums and 125 high schools as private education institutions.

 

Number of schools

 

Educational institutions by level, in the school year 2008-2009:

 

Primary and gimnaziu    4614

High school                    1444

   General                          570

   Technological                691

   Vocational                     183

Arts and trade schools    1312 (147 independent units and 1165 sections within the units)

 

Education authorities

 

As of 2009, Daniel Funeriu of the of the Democratic Liberal Party holds the post of Minister of Education.

 

MoEd website: http://www.edu.ro/index.php/base/frontpage

 

RUSSIA

 

Political background

 

The politics of Russia (the Russian Federation) take place in a framework of a federal semi-presidential republic. According to the Constitution of Russia, the President of Russia is head of state, and of a multi-party system with executive power exercised by the government, headed by the Prime Minister, who is appointed by the President with the parliament's approval. Legislative power is vested in the two chambers of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation, while the President and the government issue numerous legally binding by-laws.

 

The president is the dominant figure. The presidential term is set at six years, and the president may only serve two consecutive terms. Dmitry Anatolyevich Medvedev is the current President of the Russian Federation (elected in 2008).

 

The president is empowered to appoint the prime minister to chair the Government with the consent of the State Duma. Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin is the current Prime Minister of Russia (since 2008), as well as chairman of United Russia.

 

The 628-member parliament, termed the Federal Assembly, consists of two chambers, the 450-member State Duma (the lower house) and the 178-member Federation Council (the upper house). The State Duma members are elected for five-year terms, all of them by proportional representation. The Federation Council is not directly elected. The latest elections took place in 2009.

 

The main political parties are:

United Russia is a centre to centre-right conservative political party in Russia and the largest party in the country, currently holding 315 of the 450 seats in the State Duma. Ideologically, it self-identifies as a “Russian conservative” party, and it supports the policies of the presidential administration of Dmitry Medvedev.

The Communist Party of the Russian Federation is a Russian political party. It is the second major political party in the Russian Federation. The official ideology of the party is Communism, Marxism-Leninism and patriotism.

The Liberal Democratic Party of Russia is a political that aims for “a revival of Russia as a great power.” It has opposed both communism and the “wild” capitalism that resulted from Russia's reforms. It sees the unification of Russia and Belarus as a first step in the restoration and regards the United States and the Western civilization as the main external threat to Russia.

 

Education system

 

Structure of school system:

 

Primary

Type of school providing this education: Primary General School

Length of program in years: 4

Age level from: 6 to: 10

 

Basic

Type of school providing this education: Basic General Secondary School

Length of program in years: 5

Age level from: 10 to: 15

 

Complete Secondary

Type of school providing this education: Secondary (Complete) General School, Upper-Secondary School

Length of program in years: 2

Age level from: 15 to: 17

 

Vocational

Type of school providing this education: Technikum,College

Length of program in years: 3

Age level from: 15 to: 18

 

Eleven-year secondary education in Russian is compulsory since September 2007. Absolute majority of children attend full program schools providing eleven-year education; schools limited to elementary or elementary and middle classes typically exist in rural areas.

 

Private institutions exist but their percentage compared to the state schools is extremely low.

Such schools emphasize learning English and other critical skills. Unlike state schools, private schools usually charge tuition fees.

 

In 2005 they accounted for only 0.5% of elementary school enrolment.

 

Number of schools

 

There were 59,260 general education schools in 2007–2008 school year of which 36,248 provide full eleven-year program, 10,833 - nine-year “basic” (elementary and middle) program, and 10,198 - elementary education only.

 

In 2007–2008 there were also 2,800 vocational schools.

 

Education authorities

 

Andrei Aleksandrovich Fursenko is the Minister of Education and Science of the Russian Federation (since 2004).

 

MoEd website: http://eng.mon.gov.ru/

 

SERBIA

 

Political background

 

The politics of Serbia function within the framework of a parliamentary republic. The Prime minister is the head of government. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in the National Assembly of Serbia.

 

The president is elected by the people for a five-year mandate. Presently serving as the head of state is Boris Tadić (Democratic party). He was elected with a narrow majority of 50.31% in the 2008 Serbian presidential elections.

 

Executive power is exercised by the Prime minister, who heads the cabinet. The Prime minister is chosen by the National Assembly on the proposal of the President. The current Prime Minister is Mirko Cvetković (independent, but endorsed by the For a European Serbia coalition), who took office in July 2008.

 

The National Assembly is composed of 250 proportionally elected deputies elected for a four year term. The latest elections were held in 2008.

 

The main political parties are:

For a European Serbia – Boris Tadić is an electoral coalition that won the 2008 elections. The coalition was formed by the Democratic Party, G17+, Serbian Renewal Movement, League of Social Democrats of Vojvodina and Social Democratic Party of Serbia. As such, the coalition can be described essentially centrist, with perhaps a slight lean to the left.

The Serbian Radical Party is a far-right Serbian nationalist political party in Serbia. Currently it is the second-largest party in the Serbian National Assembly.

The Democratic Party of Serbia is a centre-right political party in Serbia. In the early 2008 election following the self proclaimed declaration of independence by Kosovo, they won 30 seats in the National Assembly in coalition with New Serbia and formed the second largest opposition block in the Serbian parliament.

 

Education system

 

Primary (compulsory) education lasts for eight years, starting at 7 years old, and is divided into two cycles, each one lasting four years. Prior to these cycles, a preparatory educational period of one year is mandatory. 

 

Secondary education is provided in high schools and lasts for 4 years.  Secondary vocational schools offer both general and vocational (practical and theoretical) education for direct entry in the world of work and further education. The vocational qualification is acquired at the level of first form and second form, then third and fourth form and specialization after secondary education lasting for one year.

 

Besides public education, in Serbia there is also private education. The prerequisites for founding such schools are the same that apply to state owned schools of the same level.

 

Number of schools

 

In 2008 there were:

 

l  3.578 regular elementary schools,

l  548 secondary schools, out of which, 332 are vocational schools

 

Education authorities

 

In 2008, Žarko Obradović (from the Socialist Party of Serbia – who entered in coalition with winning For a European Serbia) was appointed Minister of Education in the cabinet of Mirko Cvetković.

 

MoEd website: http://www.mpn.gov.rs/sajt/index.php?page=1

SIERRA LEONE

NB: Numbers in square brackets refer to sources listed at end of section. Quote marks have been used where information is directly copied or directly translated.

Political Background

  • Civil War: “Democracy is slowly being reestablished after the civil war from 1991 to 2002 that resulted in tens of thousands of deaths and the displacement of more than 2 million people (about a third of the population).” [1]
  • Gained independence from the UK in 1961 [1]
  • Political system:
    • President: Ernest Bai Koroma (All People’s Congress; since 2007). Chief of State and Head of Government [1]
      • Elected for 5 year term (last election 2012, next 2017) [1]
    • Cabinet: Ministers of State appointed by the president with the approval of the House of Representatives” [1]
    • Unicameral Parliament [1]
    • Legislative branch: 112 of 124 seats in Parliament elected by popular vote; “12 filled by paramount chiefs elected in separate elections” [1]
      • “members to serve five-year terms” (last elections 2012, next 2017) [1]
    • Universal suffrage from 18 years old [1]
  • Geographical division of country: “For administrative purposes, the country is divided into three Provinces (Northern Province, Southern Province and Eastern Province) and one Area (Western Area that houses the capital city of Freetown). The Provinces are further divided into twelve districts.” [10]

Economic Background

  • Recovery from civil war: “Sierra Leone has experienced substantial economic growth in recent years, although the ruinous effects of the civil war continue to be felt.” [3]; “By the time the war ended in 2002, much of the formal economy had been destroyed, and the government was faced with the arduous task of rebuilding the country’s economic infrastructure.” [9]
  • Difficulties: “Though the country is endowed with substantial mineral resources – diamonds, rutile, bauxite, gold and iron ore as well as rich agricultural and marine resources (which are the major sources of its export earnings) – it is one of the least developed countries in the world. This is largely due to the undeveloped economic and social infrastructures, serious social disorders and the ten-year civil conflict that continues to hinder economic activities.” [10]
  • Overview: “The economy is driven by primary commodities, mainly agriculture and mineral production.” [7]
  • Dependency on aid: “Around half of government revenue comes from donors.” [3]
  • Agricultural Sector:
    • Contributes 46% of GDP and employs 75% of population [4]
    • “Nearly half of the working-age population engages in subsistence agriculture.” [1]
    • Main food crop is rice; other food crops include millet, peanuts, cassava, sweet potatoes, oil palms [9]
    • “The major cash crops are palm kernels, cocoa, coffee, piassava, and ginger, and production is carried out entirely by small-scale farmers” [9]
  • Mining Sector:
    • “In recent years economic growth has been driven by mining - particularly of iron ore and oil exploration. The country exports rutile, diamonds, and bauxite, and is vulnerable to fluctuations in international commodity prices.” [1]
    • “accounts for less than 3% of total formal labor force, due mainly to the capital- intensive and enclave nature of mining operations and reliance on highly skilled labor” [7]

Social Background

  • Overall: “In spite of its remarkable strides and reforms since the war ended in 2002, problems of poor infrastructure – including roads and energy – low capacity, youth unemployment, high maternal and infant mortality, widespread rural impoverishment, impact of the global economic downturns, and lapses in public financial management and governance still persist.” [2]
  • GNI per capita: US$340 (2011) [8]
  • “On a comparative basis, Sierra Leone ranks below most African countries for many social well-being indicators” [7]
  • HDI: Sierra Leone ranked 183 of 187 countries in the 2013 Human Development Index [6]
  • Transparency concerns: “Transparency International ranking, which measures perceived levels of public sector corruption, ranked Sierra Leone 134 out of 183 countries and territories in 2011, and 123 out of 178 in 2012. In 2013, Sierra Leone had the highest number of respondents admitting to having paid a bribe at 84%.” [2]
  • Concerns for youth: “Approximately 70% of youth are underemployed or unemployed and an estimated 800,000 youth today are actively searching for employment. Furthermore, illiteracy remains a persistent challenge and youth that lack that skills and education find it extremely difficult to compete for the limited jobs available.” [4]
  • Poverty: “Poverty has dropped from 66.4 in 2003 to 52.9 in 2011. However, challenges remain, and social indicators, though improving, remain very low; for example, only 12% of the population has access to electricity and 35% of the rural population to clean drinking water.”
  • Urbanisation: “The country has been steadily urbanizing since the conflict forced much of the population to seek security in cities.” [11]

Educational System

  • System: “Sierra Leone has a 6-3-3 formal education structure. Primary school has an official entry age of six and a duration of six grades. Secondary school is divided into two cycles: lower secondary consists of grades 7 - 9, and upper secondary consists of grades 10 - 12. Basic education includes both primary and lower secondary. In principle, school is free and education is compulsory through age 15 (US Dept of Labor, 2010 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor).” [5]
  • Quality: “The country’s education system was already in decline before the war, and it was devastated by the conflict.” [12]

Sources

  1. World Bank. (2007). Education in Sierra Leone: Present challenges, future opportunities. World Bank. Washington, D.C. Cited in [11]

SLOVAKIA

 

Political background

 

Politics of Slovakia takes place in a framework of a parliamentary representative democratic republic, with a multi-party system. Legislative power is vested in the parliament and it can be exercised in some cases also by the government or directly by citizens. Executive power is exercised by the government led by the Prime Minister.

 

The president is the head of state and the formal head of the executive, though with very limited powers. The president is elected by direct, popular vote, for a five-year term. Ivan Gašparovič has been the President of Slovakia since June 2004. He is the first Slovak president to be re-elected (in 2009).

 

The Prime Minister of the Slovak Republic is the head of the Government and s/he holds the strongest position in the state. Iveta Radičová is the Prime Minister of Slovakia and a member of the Slovak Democratic and Christian Union – Democratic Party. She was sworn into office in 2010. However, Radičová lost a vote of confidence in the parliament on 11-12 October, 2011 leading to the fall of her government. An early election will be held on 10 March, 2012.

 

Slovakia's sole constitutional and legislative body is the 150-seat unicameral National Council of the Slovak Republic. Delegates are elected for 4-year terms. Latest elections took place in 2010, but early elections are scheduled for 2012.

 

The main political parties are:

l  The party Direction – Social Democracy is a centre-left political party in Slovakia. It is led by Robert Fico, who was Prime Minister from 2006 to 2010. It is the largest party in the National Council.

The Slovak Democratic and Christian Union – Democratic Party is a centre-right Christian democratic political party in Slovakia. At the latest elections it came in on the second place.

Freedom and Solidarity is a centre-right classical liberal political party in Slovakia. Besides advocating fiscal conservatism, the party is civil libertarian. It is moderately eurosceptic. It came third at the 2010 parliamentary election.

 

Education system

 

Primary and lower secondary education is organised as a single structured system, beginning at the age of six and consisting of nine years. The compulsory schooling takes ten years and pupils complete it by finishing the first year of upper secondary education at secondary school.

 

The primary schools include, as a rule, nine grades with a possibility to form a zero grade. It consists of the first and second stages, in which the education is carried out by means of individual educational programmes mutually interlinked:

l  the first stage of primary school: Grades 1- 4.

l  the second stage of primary school: Grades 5 - 9.

 

The secondary education (designed for pupils aged 15/16 - 18/19 years) is carried out in three types of secondary schools:

 

l  in gymnasium there is general secondary education, which prepares most of all for the study at higher education institutions,

l  at vocational secondary school there is vocational education and training, that means, preparation for execution of professional activities, mainly technical, economic, pedagogical, health, socio-legal, administrative, artistic and cultural, but also for the study at the higher  education institution,

l  in conservatory there is a complex artistic and artistic-pedagogical education.

 

The aim of the church and private school and school facility is to provide, in addition to the high-quality education and training, an alternative content of education and training, to apply new methods and forms in education and training, as well as to fill-in the right of parents of choosing the school and educational facility for their children according to their denomination. The emergence of church and private schools and school facilities after 1990 also created the space necessary for competitive environment within the framework of the entire system of schools and school facilities.

 

Number of schools

 

Schools in 2010/2011:

 

Primary School                            2 216          

Gymnasium                        250          

Conservatory                        14          

Secondary technical school     486

 

Education authorities

 

Eugen Jurzyca was nominated to office as the Minister of Education, Science, Research and Sport in 2010 by the The Slovak Democratic and Christian Union – Democratic Party .

 

MoEd website: http://www.minedu.sk/index.php?lang=en

 

SLOVENIA

 

Political background

 

The politics of Slovenia takes place in a framework of a parliamentary representative democratic republic, whereby the Prime Minister of Slovenia is the head of government, and of a multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the Government of Slovenia. Legislative power is vested in the National Assembly and in minor part in the National Council.

 

The president is elected by popular vote for a five-year term. Danilo Türk is the current President of Slovenia, since 2007. As an independent candidate, he was backed by a broad coalition of left wing parties.

 

The Prime Minister is appointed by the National Assembly, and must control a majority there in order to govern. In 2008, Borus Pahor, a longtime president of the Social Democrats party, was appointed the Prime Minister of Slovenia. In September 2011, Pahor's government lost a confidence vote amidst an economic crisis and political tensions.

 

The National Assembly has 90 members, elected for a four year term. The election was previously scheduled to take place in 2012 (4 years after the 2008 ones). However, with the fell of the government after a vote of no confidence, early elections have been scheduled for December 2011.

 

The main political parties are:

l  The Social Democrats is a centre-left political party. In September 2008, Social Democrats won the parliamentary election.

l  The Slovenian Democratic Party is a Slovenian centre-right liberal conservative and Christian democratic party. It is currently the main opposition party in Slovenia.

Zares – Social Liberals is a centre-left social-liberal political party. It is the third largest party in Slovenia.

 

Education system

 

Basic education is compulsory. It takes nine years to complete, normally from the age of six to fifteen. The basic school programme is divided into three three-year cycles. The programme is the same for all students. In the last cycle, students can select from three difficulty levels which allow for some differentiation. Parents or guardians have the right to choose for their child to receive basic education in a public school, private school or by means of home-based education.

 

Upper secondary education is provided by public upper secondary schools which offer one or more programmes; by upper secondary school centres, gimnazijas or folk high schools. Gimnazija programmes can also be delivered by private institutions. Students can choose from three main types of educational programmes which include: vocational (short and upper secondary), technical and gimnazija (general) programmes. Vocational programmes are completed by an internal final examination and provide access to the labour market. Technical programmes are completed by the technical Matura, provide access to the labour market and satisfy the criteria for progression to further education on the tertiary level. General gimnazija programmes (4 years) are completed by the general Matura.

 

In the period 2009–2010, there were four private basic schools in Slovenia. A private basic school can develop its own programme, however, it must include compulsory subjects where students are provided with an opportunity to achieve at least the same educational standard as provided by public basic schools. Private basic schools are funded from public funds, as a rule, to the level of 85% of their budget.

 

Also, there were six private gimnazijas and 136 public upper secondary schools. Gimnazijas following private programmes must initially seek a recommendation from the National Expert Council for General Education which confirms that the programme meets the standards of accredited programmes. Private gimnazijas are funded from public finances to the level of 85% or 100%. No vocational or technical upper secondary schools are registered as private schools.

 

Number of schools

 

In the beginning of 2010/11 basic school education was provided by 787 schools and their subsidiaries.

 

Number of secondary schools    129

 

Education authorities

 

Igor Lukšič (from the Social Democrats ) is minister of Education and Sport in the current government (since 2008).

 

MoEd website: http://www.mss.gov.si/en/

TRINIDAD & TOBAGO

NB: Numbers in square brackets refer to sources listed after info. Quote marks have been used where information is directly copied or directly translated.

Political Background

  • Gained independence (from Britain) in 1962 [1], currently member of the Commonwealth
  • Political system: Parliamentary democracy [5]
    • Head of state: president. Elected for 5 year term by electoral college (members of Senate & House of Representatives); last election 2013, next by 2018 [5]
    • Executive: led by Prime Minister who chooses cabinet [4]
    • Suffrage: Universal suffrage from 18 years [5]
    • Legislature: House of Representatives and Senate [4]
      • Members of House of Representatives elected for 5-year terms; last election 2010, next 2015 [5]
      • “Senators are appointed by the president, 16 on the advice of the prime minister, six on the advice of the leader of the opposition, and nine of the president’s own choice” [4]
    • Tobago: “Tobago has a regional House of Assembly, set up in 1980, with certain local powers over finances and other delegated responsibilities” [4]
  • President: Anthony Carmona (since 18 March 2013) [5]
  • Prime Minister: Kamla Persad-Bissessar (since 26 May 2010) [5] (The country’s first woman prime minister [4])
  • Ruling party: People’s Partnership coalition [4]
  • Government: www.gov.tt / Parliament: www.ttparliament.org

Educational System

  • “There are seven years of compulsory education starting at age five. Primary school comprises seven years and secondary five, with cycles of three and two years. Some 89% of pupils complete primary school (2009). The school year starts in September.” [4]
  • Literacy Rate: 98.8% (2011 est) [5]
  • “Both primary and secondary education are free and the country has placed a priority on education with support measures including free transportation, book grants, free meals through a School Nutrition Programme.” [2]
  • Net primary school enrolment stands over 90% in 2009 [3]
  • Truancy and violence are both issues [2]
  • Ministry of education: http://moe.edu.tt/

Economic Background

  • “Trinidad and Tobago is one of the wealthiest countries in the Caribbean, thanks to its large reserves of oil and gas, the exploitation of which dominates its economy” [8]
  • Income:
    • GDP per capita.: US$16,699 (2011) [4]
    • Trinidad & Tobago “has one of the highest per capita incomes in Latin America” [5]
  • Growth: “While the country experienced over 15 years consecutive growth up to 2007, and grew faster than most other countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, the global economic downturn affected the country more than the rest of the region” [2]
  • Oil & Gas: “Trinidad and Tobago is the leading Caribbean producer of oil and gas, and its economy is heavily dependent upon these resources.” “Oil and gas account for about 40% of GDP and 80% of exports, but only 5% of employment.” [5]
  • Petrochemicals: “the country is among the world’s largest exporters of both methanol and ammonia” [7] and also produces urea. [6]
  • Other important economic areas: Agriculture; manufacturing (iron, steel, cement); services (construction, tourism) [6]
  • Unemployment: “Unemployment, which had fallen to an all-time low of 4.6% in 2008, rose rapidly in 2009–12” [4]

Social Background

  • Overall: Positive economic indicators “have not spared the country and its citizens from experiencing growing levels of poverty and inequality observed in income, education, life expectance and other important social and economic indicators. The visible slowdown in the international economy that started in 2008 has also negatively affected the country’s main markets and contributed to a decrease in the number and quality of available jobs and opportunities for many.” [10]
  • Crime and violence: linked with drug trade
    • “Crime has risen dramatically over the last 10 to 15 years. It is generally agreed that intra-regional drug trafficking is behind the high rates of crime and violence, and that the explosion of the international drug trade has institutionalised criminal behaviour, increased property-related crime by drug users and underpinned a steady increase in the availability of firearms.” [2]
    • The country is “a major trans-shipment point for cocaine”. The drug and gang-related violence “has clogged up the courts and has fuelled a high murder rate and much of the corruption that is reputedly endemic in the police. It also threatens the tourism industry. In response, the government reintroduced capital punishment in 1999, despite strong international pressure not to do so.” [8]
  • Healthcare:
    • “Traditionally good services have suffered somewhat from reductions in public expenditure. 94% of the population uses an improved drinking water source and 92% have adequate sanitation facilities (2010). Infant mortality was 25 per 1,000 live births in 2011 (61 in 1960). In 2011, 1.5% of people aged 15–49 were HIV positive. [4]
    • “Inefficiencies in the health care systems make it challenging for the vulnerable and marginalised who cannot afford private health care.” [11]
  • Life expectancy: Overall: 73.22 / Male: 70.17 / Female: 76.5 (2010) [9]
  • “Food security- The global food crisis remains a major challenge and it was widely noted that hunger, malnutrition and lack of food security erode any strides toward sustainable development. In Trinidad and Tobago this issue is engaging the attention of Government as it is considered a high priority.” [11]
  • Poverty: “Despite the state’s interventions and provision of welfare, there is a new emerging concern in the size of the working poor. Such persons do not qualify for state welfare, yet they exist in a state of relative poverty where their children suffer from economic and material deprivation. In 2009 18.9% of the population were living in Poverty. It is targetted that this rate would be reduced by 2% per year by 2015.” [11]
  • “Infrastructure and Housing- There is the challenge of proper infrastructure as well as meeting the demand for affordable and adequate housing for the national population.” [11]

Sources

  1. Central Statistical Office, Population Social and Vital Statistics 2010 referenced in Human Development Atlas (2010)
  2. Trinidad & Tobago: National Report for the 2014 SIDS Conference. Available here

TURKEY

 

Political background

 

Politics of Turkey takes place in a framework of a strictly secular parliamentary representative democratic republic, whereby the Prime Minister of Turkey is the head of government, and of a multi-party system. The President of Turkey is the head of state who holds a largely ceremonial role but with substantial reserve powers. Executive power is exercised by the Council of Ministers. Legislative power is vested in the Grand National Assembly of Turkey.

 

The function of head of state is performed by the president. A president is elected every five years. Abdullah Gül is the current President of the Republic of Turkey, serving in that office since August 2007.

 

The prime minister is appointed by the President and approved through a vote of confidence in the Parliament. Recep Tayyip

Erdoğan has been Prime Minister of Turkey since 2003 and is chairman of the ruling Justice and Development Party.

 

Legislative power is invested in the 550-seat Grand National Assembly of Turkey. The members are elected for a four-year term. Latest elections were held in 2011.

 

The main political parties are:

l  The Justice and Development Party is a centre-right political party. It is the largest in Turkey. Its leader, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, is Prime Minister, while fellow former party member Abdullah Gül is President.

l  TheRepublican People's Party is a centre-left Kemalist political party in Turkey. It is the oldest political party of Turkey and is currently main opposition in the Grand National Assembly. The Republican People's Party describes itself as “a modern social-democratic party, which is faithful to founding principles and values of the Republic”.

l  The Nationalist Movement Party is a far-right political party in Turkey. In the 2011 general elections, the party polled won 53 seats, remaining the third largest parliamentary group.

 

Education system

 

Primary and lower secondary education consists of eight years of compulsory education for the children between ages of 6 and 14.

 

Upper secondary education is not compulsory, but the vast majority of the population participates. The age category for secondary education encloses ages 14 – 17. In general, secondary education is provided at a variety of institutions including vocational and technical education institutions offering four years of education for those who have completed primary education.

 

Private education institutions also exist. Private education institutions mean private financing and administration. Individuals, corporations or other types of institutions can open and run private schools profit based at pre-primary, primary and secondary levels. Private education institutions are subject to the same regulations with public institutions in terms of educational arrangements and certification (curricula, teacher qualifications, length of school day/week/year, assessment, progression, diploma etc.). Public funds are given to private institutions in various ways to a certain extent.

 

In the year 2009/2010 only 2.64% of the primary educational institutions were private, while for the secondary level, this figure stands at 8.2%.

 

Number of schools

 

In the year 2009/2010 there were:

 

l  32431 public primary schools

l  879 private primary schools

l  8181 public secondary institutions

l  731 private secondary institutions

 

Education authorities

 

Ömer Dinçer (from the Justice and Development Party) was appointed as the Minister of National Education in the third cabinet of Erdoğan in 2011.

 

MoEd website: http://www.meb.gov.tr/english/indexeng.htm

 

UKRAINE

 

Political background

 

Politics of Ukraine take place in a framework of a presidential representative democratic republic and of a multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the Cabinet. Legislative power is vested in the parliament.

 

The president is elected by popular vote for a five-year term. The President nominates the Prime Minister, who must be confirmed by parliament. Viktor Fedorovych Yanukovych (backed by the Party of Regions) has been the President of Ukraine since February 2010.

 

The Prime-minister and cabinet are de jure appointed by the Parliament on submission of the President and Prime Minister respectively. Mykola Yanovych Azarov has been the Prime Minister of Ukraine since March 2010 and is also the leader of the Party of Regions. 

 

The Parliament of Ukraine has 450 members, elected for a five year term. Latest elections were held in 2007.

 

The main political parties are:

l  The Party of Regions is a centre Ukrainian political party that claims to ideologically defend and uphold the rights of ethnic Russians and speakers of the Russian language in Ukraine.

l  The Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc is the name of the bloc of political parties in Ukraine (All-Ukrainian Union “Fatherland”, Ukrainian Social Democratic Party, Reforms and Order Party). The party does not have a clear ideology like most Ukrainian parties; however the party is pro-Europe and has liberal nationalistic and social democratic views and has a positive outlook on privatisation. At the latest elections they came in second.

l  The Our Ukraine–People's Self-Defense Bloc is an electoral alliance active in Ukraine, associated with former President Viktor Yushchenko. During the early parliamentary elections held in September 2007, the party was placed in third place.

 

Education system

 

Structure of school system:

 

Elementary

Type of school providing this education: Elementary School

Length of program in years: 4

Age level from: 6 to: 10

 

Lower Secondary

Type of school providing this education: Lower Secondary

Length of program in years: 5

Age level from: 10 to: 15

 

Upper Secondary

Type of school providing this education: Upper Secondary Special School

Length of program in years: 3

Age level from: 15 to: 18

 

Upper Secondary

Type of school providing this education: Upper Secondary School

Length of program in years: 3

Age level from: 15 to: 18

 

Vocational

Type of school providing this education: Vocational Secondary School

Length of program in years: 5

Age level from: 15 to: 20

 

Vocational

Type of school providing this education: Vocational School

Length of program in years: 4

Age level from: 15 to: 20

 

All children aged from 7 to 15 years old attend nine-year compulsory school. Options after comprehensive school are upper secondary school or vocational education. Upper secondary school: 3-year general school leading to the Matriculation Examination, giving successful students access to university and other higher education schools.

 

In Ukraine, there are both public and private schools. Private sector in secondary education is insignificant. Totally, there are 200 private schools (1% of all the amount of students).

 

Number of schools

 

There are 21900 schools in Ukraine and 1003 technical institutions on the base of lower secondary education and upper secondary education.

 

Education authorities

 

Dmytro Volodymyrovych Tabachnyk (from “For a United Ukraine!”) is the  Minister of Education and Science,Youth and Sports of Ukraine (since December 2010).

 

MoEd website: http://www.mon.gov.ua/index.php/ua/

 

INDIA

 

Political background

 

The politics of India takes place within the framework of a federal constitutional republic, in which the President of India is head of state and the Prime Minister of India is the head of government. Executive power is exercised by the President and is independent of the legislature. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the two chambers of the Parliament of India, the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha. Federal and state elections generally take place within a multi-party system, although this is not enshrined in law.

The President of India is the head of state of the Republic of India. The president is the formal head of the Legislature, Executive and Judiciary branches of Indian Democracy. All of the authority vested in the President is in practice exercised by the Council of Ministers, headed by the Prime Minister. The President is elected, from a group of nominees, by the elected members of the Parliament of as well as of the state legislatures and serves for a term of five years. Incumbents are permitted to stand for re-election. The 13th and current President is Pranab Mukherjee, who was elected on 22 July 2012, and sworn-in on 25 July 2012.

The Prime Minister of India is the chief of government, head of the Council of Ministers and the leader of the majority party in parliament. The Prime Minister is appointed by the President to assist the latter in the administration of the affairs of the executive, by convention supported by the party or political alliance holding the majority of seats in the lower house of parliament. The incumbent prime minister is Narendra Modi (BJP), in office since May 2014.

The House of the People (Lok Sabha) has currently 543 members, most of which are elected for a five-year term in single-seat. Council of States (Rajya Sabha) has 245 members, most of which are elected for a six-year term, with one-third retiring every two years. The members are indirectly elected, this being achieved by the votes of legislators in the state and union (federal) territories.

 

The main political parties are:

-          The Indian National Congress (INC) is one of the two major political parties in India. It is the largest and one of the oldest democratic political parties in the world. The party's modern liberal platform is largely considered center-left in the Indian political spectrum. After having headed India’s government for nearly all the country’s post independance history, the Congress registered its worst performance in electoral politics in independent India, winning 44 seats of the 543-member house.

-          The Bharatiya Janata Party(BJP) is one of the two major political parties in India. It is India's largest political party in terms of representation in the parliament since 2014. The Bharatiya Janata Party traditionally has supported Hindu nationalism and strongly advocates conservative social policies, self-reliance, free market capitalistic policy, foreign policy driven by a nationalist agenda, and strong national defense. The party's platform is generally considered right of center in the Indian political spectrum. It is the biggest constituent of the National Democratic Alliance.

Education system

There are broadly 4 stages of school education in India, namely primary, upper primary, secondary and higher secondary (or high school). Overall, schooling lasts 12 years, following the “10+2 pattern”. However, there are considerable differences between the various states in terms of the organizational patterns within these first 10 years of schooling.

The government is committed to ensuring universal elementary education (primary and upper primary) education for all children aged 6-14 years of age. Primary school includes children of ages 6 to 11, organized into classes 1 through 5. Upper Primary and Secondary school pupils aged 11 through 15 are organized into classes 6 through 10, and higher secondary school students ages 16 through 17 are enrolled in classes 11 through 12. In some places there is a concept called Middle/Upper Primary schools for classes between 6 to 8. In such cases classes 9 to 12 are classified under high school category.

According to current estimates, 80% of all schools are government schools making the government the major provider of education. However, because of poor quality of public education, 27% of Indian children are privately educated. However, the number of private schools in India is still low - the share of private institutions is 7% (with upper primary being 21% and secondary 32%).

 

Number of schools

Number of schools in 2007-2008 according to the Economic Survey 2010-2011:  

-          Primary: 787,827

-          Middle: 325,174

-          High / higher secondary: 172,990

Education authorities

Smriti Zubin Irani (from BJP) is the incumbent Minister of Human Resources and Development in the current cabinet. She assumed office in May 2014.

MoEd website: www.mhrd.gov.in

 

PAKISTAN

 

Political background

 

Politics of Pakistan have taken place in the framework of a federal republic, where the system of government has at times been parliamentary, presidential, or semi-presidential. In the current parliamentary system, the President of Pakistan is the largely ceremonial head of state, the Prime Minister is head of government, and there is a multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the government.Legislative power is largely vested in the Parliament.

 

Elected for a five-year term by an Electoral College consisting of members of the Senate and National Assembly and members of the provincial assemblies, the president is eligible for re-election. But no individual may hold the office for more than two consecutive terms. The current president is Asif Ali Zardari, who was sworn in the office in 2008.

 

The prime minister is appointed by the members of the National Assembly through a vote. He is the Head of Government of Pakistan who is designated to exercise as the country's Chief Executive. By the Constitution of Pakistan, Pakistan has the parliamentary democratic system of government. The current Prime minister of Pakistan is Yousaf Raza Gillani of Pakistan Peoples Party.

 

The bicameral federal legislature consists of a directly elected National Assembly of Pakistan (with a 5 years mandate) and a Senate, whose members are chosen by elected provincial legislators. The country offers a multi-party system, with numerous parties. Frequently, no single party holds a majority. Latest elections were held in 2008.

 

The main political parties are:

 

-          The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) is a center-left, democratic socialist political party in Pakistan affiliated with Socialist International. Pakistan People's Party is the largest political party of Pakistan.

-          The Pakistan Muslim League (N) (PML-N) is a center-right, conservative political party in Pakistan. It is the largest conservative political force and second largest political party, only second to the PPP in terms of seats in the National Assembly.

-          Muttahida Qaumi Movement, generally known as MQM, is a liberal-secular political party of Pakistan. MQM is the second largest party in Sindh and the traditionally the third largest in the country.

 

Education system

 

The educational system in Pakistan is divided into five major levels. The pre-university education consists of four levels:

-          the primary level (grades one to five), for children aged 5-9

-          the middle level (grades six to eight), for children aged 10-12

-          the high level (grades nine and ten, for children aged 13-14, culminating in matriculation). Vocational Education is also normally offered in high schooling

-          the intermediate level (grades eleven and twelve, leading to a diploma in arts or science).

 

The Pakistani educational system is highly centralized. The Ministry of Education is in charge of coordinating all institutions involved in academic and technical education, up to the intermediate level.

 

There are millions of people in Pakistan who have no access to formal education system. It is not possible for the formal system to meet educational needs of the rapidly growing population. Non-formal Basic Education School scheme has been introduced for those who have no access to formal education. This scheme is very cost-effective. Under this scheme primary education course is taught in forty months. Non-formal schools are opened in those areas where formal schools are not available. Government provides teacher’s salary and teaching material whereas community provides school building/room. There are 6371 NFBE schools functioning in the country.

 

Private sector involvement in education is encouraging. The Federal Bureau of Statistics survey (1999-2000) indicates that there were 49,194 private educational institutions in Pakistan at all stages. The percentage share of private sector in enrollment is 18 percent at primary school level, 16 percent at middle school level and 14 percent at high school level.

 

Number of schools

 

Number of schools according to the Ministry of Environment (figures for 2007 - 2008):

 

-          Primary: Out of the total of 156,592 primary schools, 139,342 (89%) are in the public sector, whereas, 17,250 (11%) are in the private sector.

-          Middle: There are total 320,611 middle schools of which 121,052 (38%) are in public sector, whereas 199,259 (62%) are in private sector.

-          High: There are total 23,964 high schools, of which 9,911 (41%) are in public sector, whereas 14,053 (59%) are in private sector.

-          Higher Secondary: There are total 3,213 higher secondary schools/ inter colleges of which 1,299 (40%) are in public sector, whereas 1,914 (60%) are in private sector.

 

Education authorities

 

Mir Hazar Khan Bijarani is the current Minister of Education in Pakistan, as of 2008.

 

MoEd website: http://www.moe.gov.pk/

 

BANGLADESH

 

Political background

 

Politics of Bangladesh takes place in a framework of a parliamentary representative democratic republic, whereby the Prime Minister of Bangladesh is the head of government, and of a multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and parliament.

 

The President is the head of state , a largely ceremonial post. The real power is held by the Prime Minister. The president is elected by the legislature every five years. Md. Zillur Rahman (from the Awami League) is the President of since February 2009 when no other candidate filed to run in the presidential election.

 

The prime minister is ceremonially appointed by the president, commanding the confidence of the majority of the MPs. Sheikh Hasina is the current Prime Minister of Bangladesh (since 2009). She has been the President of the Bangladesh Awami League, a major political party, since 1981.

 

The 300 members of Parliament are elected by universal suffrage at least every 5 years.

 

The main political parties are:

 

-          The Bangladesh Nationalist Party, commonly referred to as the BNP, is the mainstream center-right political party in Bangladesh. BNP ruled Bangladesh total 18 years since her independence, the longest than any other party in Bangladesh. It is the largest opposition party in the Jatiyo Sangshad, the Parliament of Bangladesh.

-          The Bangladesh Awami League (BAL), commonly known as the Awami League, is the mainstream center-left, secular political party in Bangladesh. It is also currently the governing party after winning the 2008 Parliamentary elections in Bangladesh.

-          The Jatiya Party (Ershad) (National Party (Ershad)) is a political party in Bangladesh established by President Hussain Mohammad Ershad.

 

Education system

 

The education system is operationally categorized into two streams: primary education (Grade I-V) managed by the Ministry of Primary and Mass Education (MOPME)) and the other system is the post-primary education which covers all other levels from junior secondary to higher education under the administration of the Ministry of Education (MOE). The post-primary stream of education is further classified into four types in terms of curriculum: general education, madrasah education, technical-vocational education and professional education.

 

-          Primary education: The first level of education is comprised of 5 years of formal schooling   (class / grades I - V). Education, at this stage, normally begins at 6+ years of age up to 11 years.

-          Secondary education: The second level of education is comprised of 7 (3+2+2) years of formal schooling. The first 3 years (grades VI-VIII) is referred to as junior secondary; the next 2 years (grades IX -X) is secondary while the last 2 years (grades XI - XII) is called higher secondary. There is diversification of courses after three years of schooling in junior secondary level. Vocational and technical courses are offered in vocational and trade institute/schools.

 

There are several private schools in Bangladesh, but they are subsidized by the state to a certain extent. While secondary schools are overwhelmingly private (95%) government provides 80 percent or more of teacher salaries through subventions.

 

Number of schools

 

Number of schools in Bangladesh (2008), according to the Bureau of Educational Information and Statistics:

 

-          Primary: 82,218, of which 44,546 private

-          Secondary: 18,756, 0f which 18,439 private

 

Education authorities

 

Nurul Islam Nahid (AL) is the Minister of Education.

 

MoEd website: http://www.moedu.gov.bd

 

NEPAL

 

Political background

 

The politics of Nepal function within a framework of a republic with a multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the Prime Minister and his cabinet, while legislative power is vested in the Constituent Assembly.

 

Currently, the position of President (head of state) is occupied by Ram Baran Yadavsince 2008 – he is the first president of Nepal. The position of Prime Minister (head of government) is held by Dr. Baburam Bhattarai. He was appointed in 2011 and is the vice-chairperson of the UCPN (M).

 

The Nepalese Constituent Assembly is a unicameral body of 601 members formed as a result of the Constituent Assembly election that was held on April 10, 2008. The Constituent Assembly is tasked with writing a new constitution and it will act as the interim legislature for a term of two years. 240 members were elected in single seat constituencies, 335 were elected through proportional representation, and the remaining 26 seats were reserved for nominated members. The Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) is the largest party in the Constituent Assembly, having won half of the constituency seats and about 30% of proportional representation seats. The Constituent Assembly declared a republic at its first meeting on May 28, 2008, abolishing the monarchy.

 

The main political parties are:

 

-          The Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) or UCPN(M), is a Nepalese political party founded in 1994 and is currently led by Pushpa Kamal Dahal (more commonly known as Prachanda). Following massive popular demonstrations and a prolonged civil war against the monarchy, the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) became the ruling party during the Nepalese Constituent Assembly election, 2008. The CPN(M) led a coalition government until May 4, 2009 when Prachanda resigned over a conflict with the Nepalese President, Ram Baran Yadav.

-          The Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist–Leninist), also known as CPN-UML, CPN (UML), is one of the largest communist parties in Nepal. It was created on January 6, 1991 through the unification of the Communist Party of Nepal (Marxist) and the Communist Party of Nepal (Marxist-Leninist).

-          The Nepali Congress is a centre-left, social-democratic political party. After the 2008 Constituent Assembly elections, Nepali Congress became the second largest party in the country in terms of the number of seats in the CA.

 

Education system

 

The structure of school education in Nepal:

 

  Primary Level (grade 1 - 5)

  Lower Secondary (grade 6 - 8)

  Secondary (grade 9 - 10)

  Higher Secondary (grade 11 - 12) 

 

Six years old is the prescribed age for admission into grade one. A national level School Leaving Certificate (SLC) examination is conducted at the end of grade 10.

 

Legally, there are two types of school in the country: community (public) and institutional (private). Community schools receive regular government grants whereas institutional schools are funded by school's own or other non-governmental sources. Institutional schools are organized either as a non-profit trust or as a company.

 

Number of schools

 

Number of schools in Nepal in 2010/2011 according to the statistics of the MoEd:

 

-          Primary: 32,684, of which 4836 private

-          Lower secondary: 11,939, of which 3078 private

-          Secondary: 7266, of which 2306 private

-          Higher secondary: 2564, of which 685 private

 

Education authorities

 

Mr. Dina Nath Sharma (UCPN M) is the current Minister of Education (took office October 2011).

 

MoEd website: http://www.moe.gov.np/

 

 

project.txt · Last modified: 2014/08/19 11:04 by sarah