The Government must keep its promise to increase the budget for education!

For 6 years now the Albanian Government has promised to increase investment in education by 5% of GDP, public finance analysis shows that Albania remains among the last countries in the region and Europe to finance education!

Tirana, September 17, 2018 - Today more than 500 thousand children who attend the pre-university education started the new school year, but unfortunately, about 7,000 children across the country will not be in school today!

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!

For the last 6 years, the Albanian Government failed to keep its promise to increase by 5% of GDP to education. Actually less than 3% of the GDP is allocated to the education, by ranking the Albania among the last countries in Europe for student achievements compared to OECD countries.

A high number of education institutions do not provide the necessary services for children. According to the World Health Organization, almost 50% of schools in the Albania do not have drinking water and about 70 percent of the schools lack adequate hygiene conditions.

Thanks to the continuous advocacy of Albanian Coalition for Education, this school year for the first time 190,000 children will be provided with free schoolbooks. While 1-4 grade pupils will get free textbooks, primary and secondary students, from grade 5 to 12, will continue to pay for them. Although many children benefit from this initiative, it remains, unclear the quality used in their production and how it will be possible for all children to preserve them.

A different reality appears in general and vocational secondary education. Not all Roma, Egyptian and disabled students attending gymnasiums and vocational secondary schools receive free schoolbooks, although some of them live in poor economic conditions.  The lack of free schoolbooks for these students have an effect on the decline of school attendance, increase the number of school dropout, favours girls’ early marriages, and expose many of them to exploitation, early employment, increase the cases of criminality, begging and trafficking.

Almost 64% of disabled children are still out of the pre-university education system and only 35% of Albanian schools are accessible for them. Although this school year the number of assisting teachers has doubled due to the low budget, most children will not benefit from this supporting measure. Moreover, neither the Ministry nor the Albanian Government has a regulatory framework that would enable the measurement of educational achievement and the acquisition of knowledge for children with disabilities.

The education situation of Roma and Egyptian children remains a problem for both the Albanian state and the empowerment of both communities. Official figures reveal that Roma girls continue to abandon the school much more than other girls, while 38.6% of Roma and Egyptian children do not attend compulsory education.

Violence and bullying continue to constitute another major problem that children face in the education institutions. Reports show that 41% of Albanian students are victims of physical and psychological violence, while 22% of them feel threatened by teachers. Almost 20% of students are bullied victims.

The Albanian Coalition for Education (ACE) in the first day of the 2018-2019 school year requests to the following:

• The Albanian Government should keep its promise to increase by 5% of GDP the education budget;

• In the budget for education (annual and mid-term), the Albanian Government should include special budget items dedicated in support of disabled children education and community centre schools throughout the country.

• The Ministry of Education should guarantee free schoolbooks for all children who attend all the levels of pre-university education (grades 1- 12);

• The Education Commission of the Albanian Parliament and the Parliamentary Group "Friends of Children" must organize open hearing sessions with children, parents, non-governmental organizations and education trade unions in support for the increase of education budget in Albania;

• The Ministry of Education should urgently address the problem of violence, bullying and discrimination in schools. In this context, the preparation and adoption within 2018 of the National Plan for the Elimination of Violence and Bullying in the Education system must be considered major priority;

• The Ministry of Education should open and support with priority the national program "Safe and 0 violence Schools" and every education institution must establish a Standing Committee on Violence Prevention, which aims to verify, review and address any case of violence and bullying.


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