IBNA Interview with the chairwoman of the Women’s Democracy Network Albania, Blerta Balilaj

IBNA Interview with the chairwoman of the Women’s Democracy Network Albania, Blerta Balilaj

“Albanian education has problems with ethics and communication”

Women’s Democracy Network is a network dedicated to women. The chairwoman of WDN in Albania is Blerta Balilaj. In an interview for IBNA, Balilaj says that Albanian education has problems with ethics and communication. She says that one of the main problems that are being encountered relates to the personnel of educational directorates. Above all, they are not aware of their professional tasks.

By Edison Kurani

IBNA: You have held trainings in the regional educational directorates in the country. Based on your expertise, what are the biggest problems of the system?

Balilaj: We have examined and identified problems that the system has today. Not only the heads of DAR/ZA, but school principles too need knowledge and need to benefit the necessary trainings. The problems are numerous, in spite of the good work being done by the Ministry of Education and Science and other institutions to increase the quality of learning. But without a good educational leadership, all reforms in the educational system would be failed. We will continue our work to increase the quality of teaching in schools.

We have identified problems that need to be addressed immediately. Some of them relate to the creation and the functioning of school commissions and the involvement of parents in the educational and teaching process. There are also problems in the appointment and removals of directors and in the procedures for the appointment of people in the educational system. The appraisal of the achievements of a school is another acute problem.


IBNA: What are the standards that the head of an educational institution must meet and how are they achieved?

Balilaj: Directors must manage their educational institution and know how to draft and implement projects for the improvement of the quality and infrastructure of a school. The director must not only be a leader, but also a manager. All directors must be good teachers, first of all, as they must be experts of the levels of the learning process. For instance, the directors must know the annual learning program that they are submitted by the teachers the same as them.

Above all, someone who works in the educational system, must be trained based on the profile that he covers and not receive mere credits to have them in the file.

IBNA: What are schools lacking the most in terms of technological development?

Balilaj: There’s a lack of true IT people. Also, IT labs are not efficient and there are almost no open classes in Albanian schools. What’s more, school texts leave much to desire. Licensing of IT teachers is also necessary. Imagine, there are still teachers who don’t even have an e-mail address.

IBNA: A worrying phenomenon relates to violence in Albanian schools. Has this problem been in your focus?

Balilaj: We see different cases being reported on a daily basis on the media relating to violence exerted by teachers in schools. But we have also identified other problems that must be addressed by all instances. Many questions came up: Are teachers and school principles the only ones to be blamed? Where is the problem, on the family or the school? Which one is more damaging for children, physical violence or psychological violence? What are the main causes? Is violence only exerted by teachers against pupils or mainly exerted by pupils against teachers or pupils against pupils? A need naturally arises to train teachers, school principles and heads of educational directorates in order to include social projects on the role of the psychiatrist as part of the support, because they do not have knowledge on how to handle many problems in schools.

IBNA: What do these numerous problems include?

Balilaj: Consequences of the consumption of drugs, alcohol and tobacco by students, especially when they are teenagers. This is why we must implement programs for their prevention. Bullying is another problem, therefore there’s a need to protect children and teenagers from this frequent and dangerous phenomenon in our schools. /balkaneu.com/