Government Closes 150 Schools, 7,000 Children Kept from Starting New School Year

About 7000 children throughout the country did not attend school on Monday, on the first day of the new school year.

Today, the NGOs group Albanian Coalition for Education (ACE) reported that a lack of public investment in education and the government’s low spending on education have led to dozens of schools failing to reopen for the start of a new school year.

“Although, for 6 years now the Albanian government has been promising that the budget for education will increase to 5% of the GDP, in reality, the budget consists of only 3%. This lack of investment in children’s and young people’s education means that Albania is ranked near the bottom in Europe for academic results and achievement, compared to OECD countries,” the ACE report added.

Based on ACE’s inspection of educational institutions, it seems that a significant part fails to provide necessary services to children. Almost 50% of the country’s schools, according to the World Health Organization, lack potable water, and about 70% of these institutions lack the appropriate hygienic conditions for the education of children.

The closing of the schools was denounced today by the head of the parliamentary committee on education, Albana Vokshi. In a press statement, Vokshi declared:

There are thousands of children, throughout the country, that either have not been able to go to school because their schools have been closed, or were constrained to travel kilometers, even on foot, to attend the closest school.

There are about 150 schools, in all of the country’s regions, that have closed down […] in violation of the law, as the Ministry of Education has violated article 41 of the Law “For Pre-university Education”, that dictates that a school may only be closed after a consultation with the community.

Vokshi also said that the Ministry of Education refused to publish the reasons why these schools were shut down.