Kosovo’s Road to Quality Public Education

University of Pristina's National Library

Though Kosovo Albanians enjoyed access to Albanian-language education at all levels beginning in 1968, the Serbian government under Slobodan Milosevic instituted new regulations that were perceived to encroach on these educational privileges. As a result, Kosovo Albanians set up a parallel Albanian-language private school system in the 1990s. After the end of the war in 1999, the new government in Kosovo had the difficult task of rebuilding an educational system that had been greatly damaged during the course of the previous decade. Though major strides have been made, some problems still remain.

Even at the University of Pristina, which has the reputation as being the most prestigious institution of higher education in Kosovo, many current students are dissatisfied. Located near the center of Kosovo, the University of Pristina is both the oldest and largest university in Kosovo. Composed of nearly 45,000 students, the university has students from across all parts of Kosovo and constitutes a critical part of Pristina’s population (estimated around 210,000).

I live in a dormitory because I could not afford to live in a private apartment. The price is cheap, but the conditions are bad — just like the education we receive.
— University of Pristina Student, Albanian, Female, 19

In addition to complaints about conditions on campus, absent professors, and the poor quality of education, students are also concerned about their prospects for employment after they graduate. Youth unemployment has been a chronic problem for Kosovo’s young population.

The labor market is not stable and salaries are very low. You usually have to use political connections or corruption to get a job, and it’s not like the education I’m receiving makes me feel properly qualified for a job anyway.
— University of Pristina Student, Albanian, 21

The university has been plagued with a number of scandals in recent years involving allegations of corrupt faculty and falsified credentials, and students have frequently organized protests. The university and its faculty will need to work to fully regain the trust and support of the student body.