The new Law on primary education in North Macedonia provides protection for LGBT persons

The new Law on primary education of North Macedonia is a step forward in the protection against discrimination and violence in schools. It explicitly prohibits discrimination in the primary education on all grounds, including sexual orientation and gender identity. Read the statement from CSOs who fought to make this change happen:

The Coalition Margins, the Health Education and Research Association "HERA" and the Macedonian Young Lawyer Association welcome the decision of the Ministry of Education and Science and the Assembly of the Republic of North Macedonia for the adoption of a new law on primary education, particularly with regards to the introduction of new provisions on protection against discrimination and violence.

The abovementioned organizations actively advocated with the Ministry of Education and Science for the introduction of provisions which explicitly prohibit discrimination in the primary education on all grounds, including sexual orientation and gender identity. The Law specifies that discrimination is prohibited in the educational process, enrolment, availability of services and benefits, adjustment and accessibility to and inside the buildings, employment, career advancement and termination of employment, the organization of students, content of curricula and textbooks, managing and participation in school bodies, the financing of the primary education and any other fields in the primary education.

Furthermore, the Law contains a provision prescribing that schools would tend to the sexual and reproductive health of students by providing information based on scientific research, human rights, gender equality and promoting respect for diversity. The Law explicitly obliges the schools to issue new diplomas and other public documents in cases of altered personal data pursuant to a decision made by a competent body. This provision is significant for transgender people facing difficulties when applying for new documents related to the education process after a change in their personal data, in accordance to their gender identity.

After a public discussion held in the Assembly in regards to the new Draft-Law on Primary Education, the members of parliament met the organizations request by submitting amendments to prohibit all forms of violence in schools and to oblige the school's principal to report violence. The new provisions prescribe the creation of a by-law to thoroughly regulate the procedure for reporting violence and protection of students.

In addition, the Law prescribes a fine in the amount of 401 to 500 Euros for a violation committed by the principal of the primary school in cases of discrimination at the school and failure to report the violence, abuse and harassment of a student to the competent body.

We believe these provisions to the new Law on Primary Education significantly promote the protection against discrimination and violence in the primary education. We appeal for adequate application of these Articles in partnership with the civil society organizations. In addition, we ask the Ministry of Education and Science to include us in the amendment process of the Law on High School Education.