Over three-quarters of history teachers in Albania claim that significant aspects of dictatorship such as crimes, modes of punishment, torture, or the number of casualties caused by the regime are not addressed in school textbooks.
Instances of repression, anti-communist resistance, daily life and witness confessions are also scarce in the history classes.
These were some of the findings of a survey compiled by the Institute for Media and Culture Democracy (IDMC) conducted with 350 teachers – 77 percent women, 23 percent men – from 13 Albanian cities.
Of those surveyed, 55 percent were over 41 years old, which means they have a personal memory of system changes in the early 1990s.
However, the survey found that only 20 percent of teachers described the December Student Movement as an important historical event for the communist era, while almost 25 percent of respondents were unable to identify significant dates of resistance to dictatorship.
The survey points out the problems the curriculum has and the training of history teachers in the schools regarding past education. In an interview with Top Channel’s Wake Up show, IDMC Director Jonila Godole said a more cautious approach is needed to make the younger generation more aware of what has happened in the dictatorship.
Godole indicated that since 2015, when IDMC first began conducting study visits with students, it was pointed out that such an opportunity should also be given to teachers who, according to school history expert Fatmiroshe Xhemalaj, should follow this part of history in the curriculum.
Godole and Xhemalaj emphasized that much should be done with supplementary texts, such as “Communism through archival documents”, created by IDMC and history teachers.
On the issue of the school curriculum IDMC, with the support of the German Konrad Adenauer Foundation, has organized an international conference with renowned local and foreign scholars. Professors like Przemysław Gasztold, Ulrich Bongertman, Radu Preda from Germany, Romania and Poland will bring to Albania the experience of these countries in reflecting history in school curricula
The conference is taking place today, February 14, starting from 9:00am at the Tirana Hotel as part of the fifth edition of Memory Days, which runs until February 20.