President of Republic rejects the new bill on higher education in Albania

President of Republic rejects the new bill on higher education in Albania

Tirana, 14 August 2015/ Independent Balkan News Agency

By Edison Kurani

With a ten page argumentation which describes many details, the Albanian president has explained today his decision to reject the bill on higher education which the left wing majority sent to him for decreeing.

Bujar Nishani, former minister in the governments of former right wing prime minister Sali Berisha, announced today that he doesn’t decree the bill and sends it back to parliament to be reviewed by the left wing.

The arguments given by Mr. Nishani, he underlines 6 main ones, which according to him obliged him to reject the bill drafted by prime minister’s Edi Rama government.

Above all, this bill is against the Constitution, because “it doesn’t guarantee the autonomy of the institutions of higher education and academic freedom enshrined by the Constitution”. Therefore, Nishani says that “with the aim of guaranteeing the right of higher education recognized by the Constitution and European Convention of Human Rights and academic freedom and university autonomy recognized by the Constitution, I have concluded that this bill must be sent back to Parliament for revision”.

The president lists his six arguments, where among others, he stresses that universities must guarantee their financial, organizational autonomy, academic freedom and autonomy in electing the staff.

According to Nishani, this bill threatens the right for higher education due to the criterion relating to the payment of different fees, but which can be unaffordable for the average Albanian.

Minister Nikolla reacts: Disappointing!

Minister of Education, Lindita Nikolla reacted for IBNA in relation to the decree by saying that she’s “very disappointed with the stance of the President of Republic and his political deafness toward the detailed arguments offered by the Committee for the Reform in Higher Education and Scientific Research, carried out with notable Albanian experts, regardless of political persuasions”.

Nikolla says that she’s also disappointed about the fact that according to her, the president “ignored the professional product of an all inclusive process of hearings and consults”.

Nikolla adds: “I’m disappointed about the fact that the president takes sides with the political minority and very small minority of professors who were against of the Bill on Higher Education”.

The government has officially declared that its bill obtained the support of the General Department of Education of the European Commission and a large number of notable European experts.

With today’s decree, president Bujar Nishani sends the bill back to parliament for revision.

However, the impact of the of this refusal is zero, because the same as in other occasions when Nishani has rejected its bills, the majority has sent them to parliament to be passed again, giving the bills legal effect after the second voting, without the need to send to the president again for decreeing.

Earlier this week, the president also rejected the bill on tourism. The majority said that it would to vote it again in parliament and the bill is expected to take effect in a matter of weeks. /ibna/