Albania, Kosovo Plan Joint Children’s Textbook for 2022
A school gate in Tirana, Albania in March 2020. Photo: EPA-EFE / MALTON DIBRA
Albania and Kosovo plan to produce a reading and spelling book for use by beginner-level students in both countries from next year to coincide with the 110th anniversary of the declaration of independence of Albania.
“Next year, on the occasion of the 110th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, we will be offering first graders in Albania as well as in Kosovo a new common beginner’s book, unified for all students,” Evis Kushi, Albanian Minister of Education and Sport, declared November 28 to be Albania’s independence day.
“The beginner’s book not only taught us to read and write, but also made us more aware of the value of the Albanian language, of the love for our country, our people and our culture,” Kushi added. .
Albania and Kosovo initially decided to produce the common textbook in 2012, and Nevrus Kaptelli, head of the Independent Education Union of Albania, told BIRN he “is definitely overdue”.
“Today our States should have had all their textbooks and [educational] joint programs, ”Kaptelli said.
But some education experts have questioned whether this would improve the quality of education.
Rigels Xhemollari, an education and youth expert with the Albania-based Qendresa Qytetare (Citizen Resistance) organization, told BIRN that the initiative is “a patriotic and pathetic card to cover up the government’s failures in the field of education … [and] hundreds of education agreements between the two governments left on paper … [as well as] the failure of Albanian textbooks filled with grammatical and ethical errors ”.
Mirlind Behluli, researcher at the Kosovo-based EdGuard Institute, told BIRN: “Albania and Kosovo should create lasting mechanisms for the implementation of signed agreements, because in the past there have been gaps in their proper implementation ”.
But he said he believed the textbook initiative was a good step towards “accelerating Albanian integration and improving the quality of education”.
He said the two governments should establish joint commissions to ensure that the manual “takes into account all the cultural and societal specificities of the Albanians on both sides of the border”.