Debates take place in the Albanian parliament over the education of Greek minority

Debates take place in the Albanian parliament over the education of Greek minority

The Socialist Movement for Integration, the second biggest party of the governing coalition, holds a hearing session with the Minister of Education and Sport, Lindita Nikolli. We’ll read the insights of Vangjel Tavo MP and speaker of Parliament, Ilir Meta

Tirana, February 14, 2014/Independent Balkan News Agency

Socialist Movement for Integration MP, Vangjel Tavo has demanded explanations on Thursday’s parliamentary proceedings (photo) from the Minister of Education and Sport, Lindita Nikolla in relation to the lack of school texts in the Greek language for the schools of this minority community.

The problem in question has been inherited throughout the years and a solution to this issue is considered to be very important for students and parents of this community.

Minister Nikolli has admitted the problems relating to these text schools, while guaranteeing that for the next academic year, minority schools “will see a change as far as the quality of texts and improvement of teaching is concerned”.

Focusing on the education of the Greek minority, Nikolli said that minority schools in Gjirokastra and Saranda will not only see a change in terms of the text books, but also in terms of new perspectives, without offering any details on these “perspectives”.

Missing books

The problem of the lack of school texts for Greek minority schools in Albania has been pointed out in the past 3-4 years.

Until 2005-2006, school texts for the Greek minority in Albania used to be published free of charge by the State Institute of Greek Aid, with the approval of the Albanian state.

But, the last government stopped this process. Mr. Tavo took a stance on this: “The decision of the previous government was against the law for the liberalization of the drafting, printing and distribution of school texts. All this unlawful procedure has been carried out with a special decision of the Council of Ministers”.

According to Mr. Tavo, “this marked the start of discrimination of minority students in this domain, as the teachers and parents of these students are not entitled to choose the best text books like other parents in every other school in the country are entitled to”.

The situation seems to be more problematic in high schools. Organizations which protect the Greek minority say that out of 35 school texts, none has reached students. No school texts have reached even the Language High School of Gjirokaster or the former Pedagogical High School, where students must write down their lessons.

During this hearing session with Nikolli, Vangjel Tavo MP who comes from the Greek minority, also raised a concern about the request of the association of minority teachers in relation to the guideline of last December, “For the holding of A-Level exams”.

According to this guideline, Greek language is withdrawn as an optional subject.

These associations have proposed the contrary, in order for children of the Greek minority to have their mother tongue as a mandatory exam. Bringing to parliament the concerns of these associations, Mr. Tavo demanded from minister Nikolli to take these demands into account.

Tavo said that if the demands for text books for the minority schools are fulfilled, then this would show the engagement of the current majority to respect human rights on minorities and the standards required on this aspect, for the integration of Albania in the European Union.

History and Geography must be rewritten?

Another problem that Greek minorities are facing is the content of history and geography texts. According to them, some of the topics are unacceptable.

Albanian and Greek governments have often promised that they would appoint joint commissions for the revision of these texts, but so far, nothing has been done.

Meta considers these “outrageous problems”

The speaker of Parliament, Mr. Ilir Meta has taken his stance during this hearing session. Mr. Meta expressed his concern by saying that “these are outrageous facts and a problem for democracy, human rights, society, transparency and corruption”.

“We must all learn these facts, -said Mr. Meta, -in order not to tolerate them. Such situation is unacceptable for a country that aspires to become an EU member”, said Meta. /ibna/