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Teacher Strike Highlights Kosovo’s Education Woes

EU representative says the country’s lack of progress on education reform could cost it dearly. 13 March 2018

Teachers from primary, secondary, and higher education institutions in Kosovo staged a one-day strike yesterday to demand compensation for teachers who worked in the parallel education system in the 1990s.


The head of the teacher’s union, Rrahman Jasharaj, said the government has failed to act on the union’s request to compensate teachers who worked for symbolic payments at the time, Kosovo’s Gazeta Express reports.


Back in those days, the authorities in Belgrade barred ethnic Albanians students – the majority in what was then a Serbian province – from certain educational facilities and ordered them segregated from Serb pupils. Albanian teachers rejected the nationalist Serbian curriculum, and some were fired or arrested, Prishtina Insight wrote in 2016.


Current law does not recognize the teachers’ work in the parallel system as  professional experience, which affects teachers’ retirement pensions, Prishtina Insight reports.


Nataliya Apostolova (pictured), the head of the EU Office in Kosovo, said yesterday that public administration reforms and a reassessment of teachers’ salaries were needed in order to prevent situations like the teachers’ strike.


“Without true commitment of Kosovo to improve education, EU assistance is at stake. I call on all in Kosovo to demand reform and quality public education,” she said.


Apostolova also suggested that the politicization of education under harsh Serbian rule is still bedeviling the country.


“Politics should not have a role in appointing school directors, teachers, the Kosovo Accreditation Agency. The Ministry of Education should formulate education policies and ensure implementation,” Apostolova said at the presentation of an EU-funded report on the implementation of Kosovo’s 2017-2021 education strategy, Gazeta Express reports.




  • Unemployment is above 30 percent and one in three Kosovars live below the poverty line, according to The Irish Times.


  • “Well-educated youngsters face many challenges in building a professional career because of nepotism and the lack of a true meritocracy, but also the limited connection between their studies and the actual job market,” Riccardo Celeghini, who works for an NGO dealing with education, rural development, and violence against women in Kosovo, wrote recently for TOL.


  • The Kosovo Accreditation Agency has been excluded from the European Quality Assurance Register for Higher Education because of questions over its independence. That may mean that Kosovo’s students no longer find their diplomas and degrees recognized in other European countries, Balkan Insight writes.

Compiled by Savannah Delgross

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