Go Public! Addressing Albania's underfunded public education system

published 15 May 2024 updated 4 June 2024

Public education in Albania faces critical underfunding, compromising the state's capacity to deliver equitable, quality education. Education International’s affiliates in the country are rallying under the Go Public! Fund Education campaign, calling for substantial increases in government investment. This investment is crucial to improve educational infrastructure, enhance teacher compensation and, ultimately, elevate the quality of education to secure a brighter future for all students across the nation.

EI affiliates, the Federata Sindikale e Arsimit të Shqipërisë (Trade Union Federation of Education and Science of Albania - FSASH) and the Sindikata e Pavarur e Arsimit të Lartë Shqiptar (Independent Trade Union of Education of Albania - SPASH), convened for a workshop on March 29 in Tirana to strategize and advocate for substantial reforms in Albania's public education system. The workshop, part of the Go Public! Fund Education initiative, aimed to devise actionable strategies that would persuade policymakers to act decisively in favor of public education and teachers.

For SPASH President Nevrus Kaptelli, “the campaign 'Go Public! Fund Education!' holds immense promise for the development of social dialogue with education employers in Albania. By bridging communication gaps, promoting shared goals, strengthening institutional capacities, influencing policy and practice, and cultivating a culture of collaboration, FSASH and SPASH, with the support of Education International, are poised to usher in a new era of cooperation and partnership in the Albanian education sector.”

"The long-term objective of FSASH and SPASH within the framework of the 'Go Public! Fund Education!' project is to realize a vision of sustainable improvement in Albania's public education system. By prioritizing equity, quality, inclusivity, democratic governance, adequate funding, and continuous improvement, the unions aspire to create an education ecosystem that nurtures the talents, potential, and aspirations of every learner,” said FSASH President Isa Rekaj.

A barrier to growth and equity

The workshop revealed that Albania’s schools suffer from dilapidated infrastructures and inadequate resources, severely impeding effective learning. Additionally, the compensation for teachers remains unjustly low, leading to demoralization and a decline in the profession's attractiveness. This financial neglect not only undermines the quality of education, but also contributes to widening disparities in access and outcomes across different regions and communities.

A concerning trend in regions like Fier, where enrollment in private education surpasses that of public schools, highlights the growing disparities in Albania’s education system. This trend underscores the urgent need for reforms to make public education a more viable and attractive option for all families.

Participants stressed the urgent need for a comprehensive analysis of the budget allocated to education, with a focus on rectifying the current inadequacies that lead to such disparities.

The influential role of media in shaping public opinion and driving social change was also acknowledged, with discussions on leveraging both traditional and digital media platforms to raise awareness and shift the narrative about the importance of public funding in education.

Call to action: mobilizing support for public education

The workshop concluded with a renewed commitment by FSASH and SPASH, to support the Go Public! Fund Education campaign’s global call to action, advocating for education policies that ensure adequate funding and resources are allocated to public education. This collective effort reinforces the message that investing in education is investing in the future of the country.