Thoroughly and indicatively – this is how the research of the contents of textbooks in primary education can be described, realized by the Nansen Dialogue Centre Skopje (NDC) in 2017, with a team of fifteen experts and in cooperation with the Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of North Macedonia.
The goal was to inspect the representation and ways of presenting of cultural features and interaction between the different ethnic communities in the country.
The research indicates contents that are not in favour of ethnic, gender, social, cultural and linguistic equality. Correcting these contents can lead to higher quality textbooks from a multicultural and intercultural point of view.
The analysis was made according to six categories: cultural identity, interaction between different entities, stereotypes and prejudices, personal names and authors, representation of the homeland and openness to the world.
399 textbooks were analyzed in the academic year 2015/2016 in Macedonian, Albanian, Turkish and Serbian languages of instruction.
The research suggests the need for inclusion of even more contents in all textbooks in all languages of instruction that will allow students to familiarize with cultural features of all communities in North Macedonia. Then, instead of emphasizing differences, textbooks should emphasize similarities, promote the gender and ethnic balance and introduce contents about universal human values.
The same year, NDC was invited by the Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of North Macedonia to lead the process of reforms in primary education. The NDC’s key task in the reform was to incorporate the intercultural component into regular curricula. A group of experts was formed in all subjects within the curriculum, which prepared the contents for the first, second and third grade of primary education. The contents were sent for evaluation to Northern Ireland, where they were highly evaluated.