1 Do you remember at least once instance when the school year ended properly and there were no complications with the fourth-year high school students? Someone’s always boycotting, always on strike, there are no report cards…
The strike of the State Examination Centre has been put on hold after three weeks. Still, the decision of the Centre that conducts the state matura exam to go on strike just a month before the scheduled date for the state matura exam is a real lesson for our final-year high school students. Welcome to the world of adults. Now you know where you live. See what life looks like in the country that needs you.
What to think about the country which sacrifices you for votes at the test of maturity?
The right of employees of the State Examination Centre to strike is not disputed. Neither is their right to demand higher salaries. What is disputed though is that they decided to go on strike a month before the matura exam. We’ll deliberately harass 20,000 children who need to take the state matura exam, as if they haven’t been harassed enough already. We’ll deliberately make life miserable for 20,000 high school students who are under so much stress with the current situation although they have done nothing wrong. We’re deliberately sacrificing yet another generation that is just entering the world of adults.
According to the analyses done by the Union of High School Students, 12 percent of each generation of graduates go to study abroad. Those are children we expect to come back home, since we need them. Those are children who took exams in foreign languages and received additional education. They planned their life a year and a half in advance. And how will their enthusiasm and excellence be rewarded? They’ll be admitted to some prestigious university abroad, while at home, a clerk will make their life miserable because he decided to demand a higher salary in May, right before the end of the school year. It’s now or never! Let’s use those children as shield on the barricades.
And in the meantime UNICEF is investigating how many of our children are under stress because of the fake bomb threats in schools. Is that the real problem? That type of lack of education is nothing compared to the stress that lies ahead once they’re faced with the admission process, exam registration, nepotism at universities, corruption, party lists for dormitories and scholarships, messy public transportation, professors under political patronage, student administration under political patronage…
A true test of maturity is when you look at the graduation photo board of the high school in Makedonski Brod, where there are photographs of 8 final-year students of the gymnasium and 3 students of the catering and tourism department. A total of 11 students on the photo board. And 23 professors.
That photo board should be hung at the State Examination Centre. As a reminder to the employees that they exist for the sake of the children. If the children are gone, they themselves will not exist either.
2 The employees of the exam centre going on strike for higher salaries and consciously using the children for blackmail is just one side of the coin, the other side is that both the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Education consciously sacrificed the children by ignoring the demands of the strikers for three weeks.
Still, why would the government care about 20,000 children whose life plans have been complicated and about twenty teachers who are demanding higher salaries? The salaries of ministers have already been increased by 78 percent.
The only worry in the world for them is when journalists provoke them by asking them how high their salaries are now after the raise and apparently they are not very happy about said raise but they have to respect the decision of the Constitutional court. Inflation is in double digits, for months they’ve been telling us that we’re in a crisis, they freeze and unfreeze prices just to freeze them again… We’re facing a situation where there’s no beans in stores, it’s sold illegally, while they’re taking 78 percent higher salaries, they themselves are fuelling the inflation – and they don’t give a damn about anything.
Why would they give a damn? Not only have they increased their salaries, but they also don’t know how high they are. One minister replies that his credit cards have been stolen so he doesn’t have access to his account, another says he’s not good at maths, yet another says he doesn’t check his balance… What kind of employee doesn’t know how much they earn?
What’s a final-year student to say? The test of maturity is when you realise that you need to hit the road as soon as possible. Don’t even wait for the first flight, just start walking.
3 Prime Minister Dimitar Kovachevski met with Secretary Antony Blinken in Washington. The State Department and the Prime Minister’s Office still hadn’t made statements when we received a statement from the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister Artan Grubi. The statement is titled: “The opinion of the First Deputy Prime Minister of the Government regarding the meeting Kovachevski – Blinken”.
When I saw the title, I thought – this is it, it’s over, the government is collapsing, the coalition is falling apart because of the strategic partner. Is it possible that the Deputy Prime Minister has a different position from the Prime Minister regarding the meeting at the State Department?
It’s as if the Prime Minister of Macedonia wasn’t the one who went to Washington, but the prime minister of some other country, and so the Deputy Prime Minister has a different opinion on that visit. As if Kovachevski is in one government, and Grubi is in another.
The Prime Minister went to the USA and met with Blinken. But you should all know that there is also a First Deputy Prime Minister. And that he too has an opinion on the matter.
4 On 9 May, Europe Day, I happened to be in Sarajevo. On the main street in the centre of the city that still bears Tito’s name, the Delegation of the European Union there organised a celebration, with the European flag, with a concert, with lights, with drones, with everything. The event was announced as “The first Europe Day celebration in Bosnia and Herzegovina since it became a candidate for EU membership last year”.
I don’t want to disappoint my friends in Sarajevo, but many more years of celebration are ahead of them. Perhaps the European Commission shouldn’t waste time and allocate money from the budget for future Europe Day celebrations to the people of Sarajevo. Here, we’ve been celebrating for more than 18 years. The children who were born in 2005, when Macedonia received the candidate status for the EU, will come of age this year. Some of them will be able to vote in some of the EU countries, if their parents properly estimated how long we’d have to wait and left Macedonia in time. As for the others, whose parents were encouraged by the Europe Day celebrations that Macedonia wouldn’t be a candidate forever, now have the chance, after the matura exam, to correct the optimism of their parents and leave. That way they’ll be able to celebrate Europe Day in the EU.
We’ll send them some ajvar. To treat their friends.
Translated by Nikola Gjelincheski