December 17, 2013 | Tuesday

Kosovo Education and European Integration – Dukagjin Pupovci

According to the 2011 population census, around half a million citizens of Kosovo aged 6-29 attend some kind of formal education, from elementary school to PhD studies. Not surprisingly, education is one of the services consumed mostly in society, because welfare in society depends directly on the level of people’s education.
Around the world there are countries that are ???, despite the fact that educational level is not satisfactory, but they owe this state to natural resources or strategic position that they have. However, it is very difficult to find a poor country with well-educated people.

Therefore, when someone says that Kosovo has a quality education system, I say that Kosovo is the poorest country in Europe (except Moldova and Ukraine), i.e. all other countries are doing better in education. Another comparative factor is the UNDP human development index which ranked Kosovo by the end of the European table, again slightly better than Moldova, but worse than Ukraine.

Kosovo does not have many natural resources nor attractive geo-strategic position, however it has the youngest population in Europe and, at the same time, highest unemployment rate in Europe. This indicates that Kosovo should have a quality education system, which not only enables youth employment in the country, but abroad as well.

A young European nowadays, besides his/her mother tongue should also know at least two foreign languages, must have computer skills, be entrepreneurial and possess other skills that enable him/her to learn during life, like reading, writing, mathematical and technological knowledge.

Although Kosovars use Internet as much as citizens of some European Union countries, tests conducted with students in primary schools in Kosovo indicate serious problems with reading, writing and mathematics, which later transfers to the upper levels thus makes higher education level of those of those who finish school unsatisfactory.

In effect, despite the high unemployment, employers in Kosovo complain that they cannot find qualified staff and that they need to invest heavily in its development. And which serious investor will invest in a country where it cannot find skilled manpower?

The worst way to address evident problems in education is hiding problems. If we continue to say that we have exceeded Balkans and that we are aiming Europe, then we will remain where we are, because we will not take necessary steps to reach the other Balkan states.

Quality continues to be the main problem of education in Kosovo and we must understand that, while we advance in quality, others advance as well. Therefore, we must advance with fast steps in order that Kosovo is not an exception in the European integration process compared to other Balkan countries, as it was the case with the visa liberalization.