From: Ines Mulellari

Since October a group of students from three public universities in the country, Tirana, Durrës, and Elbasan, has founded an organization that aims to urge students to provide proof of and denounce corruption in universities.

This initiative, sponsored by the Qendresa Qytetare and the Germen Friedrich Ebert Foundation aims to empower students with technical and theoretical knowledge about corruption and the way in which it may happen by the academic staff or boards created by the university administration which with the recent education reform manage all the investment budgets of the universities.

The Student Task Force will be an access point for each student that is at risk from or has information about corruption by staff at the three public universities where it is active, in the hope that students will feel more comfortable to talk with their peers about paying bribes in exchanges for lecture notes, grades, books, or administrative services.

Its representatives have been trained by experts in the field to direct their peers to the law enforcement agencies, in particular the anti-corruption department of the State Police, in case of corruption caught in flagrante delicto.

Until recently this problem was hardly addressed because a lack of faith in institutions and the endemic nepotism in academia, but urged on by the justice reform and a growing student engagement, we aim to organize the student body to address these problems, which has severe consequences in the formation of future academic generations by discouraging students and favorizing those who are inept.

So far, the Task Force has received 250 applications of students who want to join and collected dozens of cases that will be processed by the State Police. We believe that this initiative will help to put a halt to corruption, and promote student activism and its positive influence on the decision making and transparency of higher education institutions.