The Harvard College Albanian Students Association is writing to express its solidarity with university students in Albania who are protesting in order to improve a broken education system. In a letter addressed to the Parliament, the Prime Minister, the Minister of Education and all public universities, the students’ demands are:
- Increasing the budget by 5% of GDP in order to allow the study fee to be halved for each level of study, improvement of teaching and infrastructure, and boarding.
- Transparency with the budget from the Ministry of Education, Sports and Youth and HEIs; publication of all online expenses.
- Increase from 10% to 50% of the total student vote to elect the candidates for the dean, rector and each faculty to have a student representative in the academic senate.
- Review of Academic Titles and Verification of Plagiarisms of PhDs and Textbooks.
- Based on Article 99 on Student Counseling, Higher Education Law, point 2, we require the HEI Management Board to have an equal number of votes and to add a representative to this board by students.
- Provision of all students with the Student Card within the academic year 2018-2019 (to be followed by the respective municipalities)
- Building a European-language library with an online university book, free for students in Albanian.
- Evaluation of performance in teaching and research of pedagogues
The mission of Harvard College is to “educate the citizens and citizen-leaders of society, through commitment to the transformative power of a liberal arts and sciences education.” Among other things, a Harvard education is characterized by affordability and quality. In this context, we believe that Albanian students also deserve an affordable educational journey that is “intellectually, socially, and personally transformative.”
This is a time for structural change and accountability. Those involved and those complicit in the degradation of the education system must be held accountable. We also condemn any efforts by political parties and the government to undermine the students’ concerns and demands.
Therefore, it is incumbent on the government and all public universities to ensure that the voices of students are heard and that their demands are met.
The Harvard College Albanian Students Association Board
59 Shepard Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
Meriton Ibrahimi, Co-President
Deni Hoxha, Co-President
Daiana Lilo, Vice President
Drin Krasniqi, Treasurer
Frances Papandile, Publicity Chair
Irla Belli, Social Chair