WASHINGTON, January 28, 2014 — The World Bank Board of Directors today approved the Skills Development and Innovation Support Project of US$24 million for FYR Macedonia. The Project aims to improve transparency of resource allocation and promote accountability in higher education, enhance the relevance of secondary technical vocational education, and support innovation capacity in FYR Macedonia.
“Improving the country’s labor market performance and economic competitiveness will require a more skilled and better educated labor force, as well as increased technology absorption, and diffusion of knowledge and innovation,” explains Tatiana Proskuryakova, World Bank Country Manager for FYR Macedonia. “At the same time, the regulatory, institutional, and financial environment can be strengthened to further promote innovation at the firm level and to improve the commercial application of its academic science and technology assets.”
The Project will benefit around 24,000 students and 1,500 teaching and management staff from technical vocational education and training institutions who would receive a new curriculum and practical training facilities, as well as training on management, planning, and process improvement. Students and staff of universities, research institutions, and enterprises will benefit from the implementation of quality assurance mechanisms and financing reform in higher education, and also from grants promoting R&D and innovation.
“The project is designed to foster education and skills relevant to the job market, and enhance the country’s innovation capacity,” says Bojana Naceva, Senior Education Specialist in the World Bank’s Europe and Central Asia region and Task Team Leader of the project. “The activities of the firms in Macedonia oriented towards employing a skilled workforce and utilizing innovation are an important source of economic growth and generate related positive externalities, such as social inclusion and shared prosperity.”
The Skills Development and Innovation Support Loan is issued by the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), and will cover US$24 million with an 18-year bullet maturity and 5-year grace period.