As New Academic Year Approaches, 13,000 Students in Durres are Without a School

Following the 26 November earthquake, almost half of the schools in Durres were severely damaged. 

As a result, some 13,000 students are unable to attend lessons in those buildings but they haven’t been told where their lessons will start come 14 September, the start of the new academic year. The Ministry of Education has not given any explanation or indication of where these students will be taught.

It becomes more concerning when you consider measures that are set to be introduced by the Ministry to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, including social distancing. This makes it difficult to accommodate 13,000 children in existing schools as would lead to issues of overcrowding and larger class sizes.

As it stands to date, only one third of the planned schools are in some stage of construction. Best case scenario is that some may be completed in December, three months after the start of term. Some schools are waiting for decisions on whether they will be demolished and are preparing for the start of the school year in the existing, potentially unsafe facilities.

Durres is home to 56 kindergartens, 49 primary schools, 14 high schools, and 2 vocational schools. The Municipality of Durres said that 27 institutions are in the “reconstruction process”, 13 have been demolished and six are awaiting a decision.

They said that actual reconstruction has started on 10 facilities but said that 11 are due to be finished by November or the beginning of December. They said that other facilities are being built by donors and will take longer as different procedures have to be followed.

Faktoje asked the Ministry of Education where these 13,000 students will be taught as so far, zero schools have been reconstructed. They did not receive a reply.