School and Education in Albania


According to official history writing, the first Albanian-language school was started in 1887, in Korçë. Until then, and for a long time to come, teaching was conducted primarily by religious organizations, and then in foreign languages. The standardization of the Albanian alphabet in 1908 and the new Turkish constitution the same year meant a strong but short-lived expansion in the field of education. A new expansion was initiated by the occupying powers during the First World War. During the interwar period, there were both state schools and schools run by foreigners. In 1933, however, all private schools were nationalized, partly to reduce Italian influence, and in 1934, a compulsory school was decided to introduce a compulsory school for all children between the ages of 4 and 13 (7-13 years in the country). However, this reform was not pursued.

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In 1952, the school duty became seven years, 1960 eight years (fully implemented 1969-70). At the same time, the vocational elements were given more space. Several specialized gymnasiums including linguistic and artistic focus has been established. All education includes significant elements of defense training and professional practice. Education was reformed in 1991, and politics, ideology and some non-theoretical education were removed. Because of the economic and political crisis in the early 1990s, many schools were affected by vandalism, and teachers fled abroad. The schools have since been rebuilt using money from, among other things. World Bank and George Soros.

Today, almost all Albanian children attend primary school. About 70% also go to secondary school. For the country’s Greek and Macedonian minorities there are schools with teaching in their own language. However, among Albania’s significant Roma minority, the level of education is very low, and many Roma children do not attend school at all.

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Higher education was introduced with a two-year educational institute in Tirana in 1946 and subsequently supplemented with natural sciences, agricultural engineering, social sciences and legal education. In 1957, the University of Tirana was founded. In addition to the university, there are several colleges, e.g. educational institutes in Shkodër, Gjirokastër and Elbasan as well as agricultural colleges outside Tirana and Korçë. In 2002, 16% went on to higher education, which is a sharp increase since the 1990s. Education is still considered to be of relatively low quality, and the proportion of college educated in the workforce is low as many choose to move abroad after completing their studies.