From: Alice Taylor
Albanian Government Investment in Education Falls Short of Expectations

The Albanian government spent EUR 445.2 million on education in 2020, equivalent to 3.4% of the country’s GDP, according to data published by INSTAT.

While this is a marginal increase of 0.01% on 2019, it still means Albania is among the countries that spend the least on education globally. This comes despite continued pleas to increase spending and investment in the area.

When INSTAT looked at the amount spent on education in terms of total budgetary expenditure, this had decreased when compared with the previous year. At 10.2%, it’s at its lowest level since 2015, according to historical data.

Meanwhile, Albania had 589,604 students enrolled in all levels of formal education in 2020-2021. This was a decrease of 3.7% when compared with the previous year, possibly due to emigration.

The number of children aged between 6-14 attending school also decreased with just 93% doing so. This was a decline of 0.9 percentage points on the year before. 

In the 2019-2020 school year, over 98,000 students graduated, a decrease of 5.5% on the previous year. 

The student ratio per teacher is 16.6 in primary and 13.9 in private schools. In high schools, INSTAT reported there were 8.9 students for every teacher.

For many years, local and international institutions have called on the Albanian government to increase investments in education. In 2018, the Albanian Coalition for Education said they had been promising for six years, to increase investment to 5% of the GDP. Yet, data from Europe and the region consistently shows that Albania ranks among the last for this matter.

They wrote:

The lack of public investment in education and the Government’s insufficient expenditure on quality and inclusive public education, continue to leave out of schools many children and adolescents in Albania! A high number of educational institutions do not provide the necessary services for children. According to the World Health Organization, almost 50% of schools in Albania do not have drinking water and about 70 % of the schools lack adequate hygiene conditions”

This issue was also highlighted following the COVID-19 pandemic when it became apparent some schools, particularly in rural areas, didn’t have basic facilities for students.

UNICEF also called on the Albanian government to increase spending to 5% as it would bring significant long-term economic benefits.