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Albania

Overview

Shqiperi (Albania) is located on the Balkan peninsula, with the Adriatic Sea in the west, Serbia and Montenegro to the north, Macedonia to the east and Greece to the south and southeast. Ruled by the dictator Enver Hoxha from 1946 until his death in 1985, the wave of reform that swept central and eastern Europe in the early 1990s hit Albania in 1991. In 1992, its first non-Communist government since 1944 was appointed by its new president.

During the Communist era, the main goals of education were literacy, accessibility of education to all, and support of the ideals of the “Productive work”, that is, labor performed by students - in the community, in agriculture, and in industry - was an important component of the curriculum, from early childhood through higher education.

Education

A major educational reorganization plan was announced in 1990. The following year, however, a major economic and political crisis in Albania had a severe negative impact on education as well. Vandalism, and shortages of textbooks and supplies had a devastating effect on school operations, prompting Italy and other countries to provide material assistance. The minister of education reported in September 1991 that nearly one-third of the 2,500 schools below the university level had been ransacked and fifteen school buildings razed. Many teachers relocated from rural to urban areas, leaving village schools understaffed and swelling the ranks of the unemployed in the cities and towns; about 2,000 teachers fled the country. The highly structured and controlled educational environment that the Communist regime had cultivated in the course of more than forty years suffered severe damages. The failed pyramid scheme in 1997 caused additional economic chaos and hardship.

In the new democratic system, educational reform has been a priority but the transition has proven difficult as governments have tried to deal with high unemployment, widespread corruption, a dilapidated infrastructure, powerful organized crime networks, and disruptive political opponents. Albania continues to face many challenges as it responds to the need for improvements in its educational system.

Albania's education system is overseen by the Ministria Arsimit Sportit dhe Rinisë.


THE CONTRIBUTORS
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Robert Watkins

Special Assistant to the Director, University of Texas at Austin

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