Alarming levels of illiteracy in Kosovo

Alarming levels of illiteracy in Kosovo

IBNA Special Report

Pristina, September 8, 2014/Independent Balkan News Agency

By Elton Tota

Although we’re in 2014, illiteracy in Kosovo remains a very worrying phenomenon. Kosovo continues to face alarming figures of illiteracy. According to the official statistics of the Kosovo Agency of Statistics, there are 55 thousand people who are fully illiterate, who don’t know how to read and write. This comprises 3.2% of the general number of population and 3.9% of people above the age of ten. These figures are some of the highest in Europe.

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Today’s the International Literacy Day, which aims at arousing the conscience of the international opinion in relation to the problem of illiteracy, which unfortunately, is present in many societies.

But, Kosovo also faces the phenomenon of drop outs. Authorities say that the number of people who drop out of school is alarming, thus making the situation relating to schooling even more difficult. According to experts, the majority of those who drop out from school, do this for financial reasons and migration from rural areas to urban areas.

Expert of education, Dukagjin Popovci says that the majority of illiterates from the age of 10 to the age of 24, are male. “It’s worrying when you think that there are 5,178 registered illiterates from the age of 10 to the age of 24. If we analyze this figure, we will notice that boys dominate the number of illiterates from the age of 10 to the age of 19. This indicates conservationism in our families and also economic problems that these families face. Thus, boys must work in order to build their family and therefore remain illiterate. This is a young age not to know how to read and write, because these young people are expected to work and support their families”, says Popovci.

According to him, illiteracy in the country can only go by offering quality learning.

“This is the role of the state. Meanwhile, the holding of course for reading and writing can help in easing this problem, but in Kosovo, the problem of illiteracy doesn’t have such magnitude or nature as to have people prefer these courses”, says he.

Psychologist, Jeta Rexha links the issue of illiteracy in the country with the serious economic situation in the country.

“There are numerous causes for the drop outs and they’re related to each other. In Kosovo, the economic situation is serious. This situation is reflected by the high level of poverty (45% of poverty and 15% of extreme poverty) which makes it very hard for parents to send their children to school. The economic situation doesn’t provide opportunities for investments in the domain of education, both in the aspect of the quality and also in the aspect if infrastructure. Uncontrolled demographic movements from rural areas to urban areas, have made teaching more difficult, by over populating urban schools. Education system after the war has not had the necessary institutional treatment”, says Rexha.

Meanwhile, Arben Morina, spokesman of the Ministry of Education, says that the ministry takes these concerns very seriously.

“All findings that relate to the domain of education are taken very seriously by the Ministry of Education for this, the Strategic Plan for the Development of Education in Kosovo 2011-2016, aims at making the learning process the basis for the entire education system and a right and obligation toward the citizens”, says Morina. /ibna/