Students from the public universities in Durrës and Korça have joined the student protests that started in Tirana yesterday in response to a decision of the government to charge students an extra fee for redoing classes and exams. This fee comes on top of the dramatically risen university fees, which have failed to lead to any improvement of public education. Instead, the government has been funneling public funds to private university with the argument of “competition.”
The imposition of fees for retaking classes puts the students at an even greater disadvantage to professors, which often obligate students to buy their books or risk failing the class. Moreover, studies have shown that corruption is widespread among faculty.
In Tirana, students from the Faculties of Medicine, Natural Sciences, Engineering, Physics, Law, Economics, and Humanities have gathered to march to the Prime Ministry and demand withdrawal of the tariffs.
The students announced the following demands in a letter to Minister of Education Lindita Nikolla:
- Cancellation of the extra fees as defined in VKM 288, charging students for retaking classes
- 50% reduction in university fees
- Improvement of the facilities at the dorms
- Addition of a student representative to the university board, to arrive at an equal number of university and Ministry of Education representatives, as required by the Higher Education law.
The students expect a response from the Ministry of Education before 16:00 today.