Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Ministry of Education in Montenegro refuses to allow school textbooks from Albania and Kosova


The quality of education to which Albanian children in Montenegro have access has not improved and has even declined in some places. Segregation of Albanian communities has increased, further harming equal access to education.
In a recent declaration that demonstrates the cleavages in society, the Ministry of Education has rebuffed numerous pleas from Albanian educators in Montenegro to consider importing licensed textbooks from Albania and Kosova in efforts to broaden the historical and cultural realization of Albanian students that have been saturated with the Slavic point of view from primary school all the way through high school.
The ramifications of cultural and historical bias in the classroom has had its negative effects, where Albanian students only spend 2.7% of their curriculum on Albanian history and 97.3% on the history of other nations, including heavy emphasis on the Slavs. This problem is further damaging to the quality of Slavic tests that do exist in the classrooms today; according to the Ministry of Education and Science (MOE) in Montenegro, textbooks in use are still those produced for the previous Yugoslav curricula, thus making most of the content obsolete and discriminatory against minorities and women, and they have not picked up on political changes within the country. Furthermore, many of the textbooks are badly written, as if produced by writers who have little understanding of how teachers teach or how children learn, or in many cases how learning takes place through the process of accretion.

Many of the writers have no regard to the language competence of the child – the books are, therefore, not only dense in factual data but also incomprehensible in many places. Even adults have difficulty in understanding texts which the children dutifully learn by rote and reproduce on demand.

There is no involvement of teachers in the production of textbooks. For example, there is no process of a team collaboration with a writer, or being set up as a team with a commission to produce a textbook.

For those Albanian students wishing to enroll in secondary institutions, the problems are complicated even more. The organisation of entrance exams and the appointment of the authors of these exams make it impossible to do the entrance exam in Albanian, as all entrance exams have been in the Montenegrin language only.

An example for improvement in this sector can perhaps be taken out of the pages of the Hungarian Ministry of Education and Vojvodina, where the low number of pupils makes domestic textbooks in Hungarian an illusion, but this is why this problem can only be solved by imported textbooks. Minister Knezevic has promised to license imported textbooks for vocational schools from Hungary, the content of which corresponds to the Serbian syllabus to a great extent. In February the Executive Board formed a work group that deals with the import of foreign textbooks. In great part due to the help of the Hungarian Ministry of Education, the work group looked into and analysed 400 textbooks from Hungary in various educational branches, and after a great deal of professional work a request for the licensing and legal use of 83 titles in Hungarian classes of vocational schools was addressed to the Serbian Ministry in December. At the same time, on the initiative of the Education Committee, a request for the licensing of textbooks published by the Hungarian Apáczai Publisher for first-year classes of elementary schools was forwarded to the Ministry as well.

cc. World Bank Team Lead in Montenegro, Nina Arnhold
EU Commissioner for Education, Jan Figel
Open Society Institute chairman, George Soros

16 comments:

Nik Gjurashaj said...

Education reform is a disaster in Montenegro. The aforementioned article hits upon the problems right on the nose.

Just because Montenego takes credit for reconstructing some middle schools in Tuz does not do away with the reality that Albanain students are being robbed of their identity.

It is through the schools that human beings receive a majority of their political socialization, and when the schoolls are corrupt (as their politicians) then a new breed is developed -- Slavic style.

Anonymous said...

Its funny because when I studied at "25 Maj" in Tuz I would encounter names in our textbooks such as Zoran, Slavko, Slavin, Darko, etc., all Slavic and none Albanian.

Moreover, the history/geography texts were all biased towards the Slav point of view. I was amazed at their views of Montenegrin/Yugoslav history. They claim to this day that Shkodra is thiers', this a fact in the history books.

And this article mentions the acceptance exams. Try getting accepted to the University of Beograd Law School as an Albanian -- almost impossible. You have to understand written and spoken Serbian almost perfectly, and the tests are designed to thwart anyone who is not a national.

I am sure this is the case in other larger universities throughout the former Yugoslavia. This is why I attended Prishtina and then Boston U., and my sister Tirana -- its the only chance we had in advancing our studies.

Mark Juncaj said...

Can someone please explain to me why the Tuz high school is named "25 Maj"?

What is the significance of this date (May 25th)?

And does it have any relevance to today's Montenegro or to the Albanians who make up almost 100% of the population in Tuz?

What can I/We/They do to change this aweful name??

Anonymous said...

25 maj - Naim Frashëri - Shkrimtar shqiptar ka lindur???????

Mark Juncaj said...

Ha, ha ha ha .... your funny, I don't think the Yugoslavs named the school after him. But true, he was born on that date.

Anonymous said...

May 25th is significant for the Slavs because it marks the birth date of their former communist dictator-leader, Josip Broz Tito.

Anonymous said...

So what significance does a former dictator's birthday have on higher learning? Shouldn't that be placed in history books and not on school buildings?

It would have made more sense to name the school after his birth name, not birth date, that is just absurd!

As with all teh monuments and names of former communist era dictators throughout easter Europe and Russia, these names should be toppled (ie, Leningrad to St. Petersburg; Titograd to Podgorica, etc.).

Why doesn't anyone take the damn initiative to change the name of teh school to something that means something, like "William Jefferson Clinton High School" or "Scenderbeg Academy"?

Anonymous said...

"Scanderbeg Academy" ... I like that one (although Slavs might interpret it as a military school training future KLA fighters, or worse yet Al-Qaeda...hahaha).

Nik Gjurashaj said...

I've been thinking about the name of "25 Maj" since this post appeared yesterday. I agree it needs to be changed to something more contemporary and practical.

Scenderbeg High School is a good name, one that cannot be argued.

Here in the US, 45% of the high schools are named after historical figures -- the elementary school I went to was named Thomas Jefferson, the middle school was Lincoln, the high school was Adlai Stevenson -- all US Presidents and one governor.

In the S'west of the USA, there are now schools named after Indian tribes and Latino heros.

Given that Albanians are the largest ethnic minority in Montenegro, why not give them an Albanian name hero for their high school?

Slavko said...

OK, what's wrong with naming it "Josip Broz Tito High School"?

He was/is a hero to all of us, and you (Albanians). I heard many Malsors hung his picture on their walls up until recently.

Anonymous said...

Correction: Tito was born May 7, 1892.

Slavko said...

Reasons why Tito was good for Albanians:

1. One of the first acts of Josip Broz Tito, who was half Croatian and half Slovenian, was to pass a law March 6, 1945 prohibiting Serbs who were expelled from Kosovo from returning to their homelands.

2. Tito kept the borders to Albania open from 1945 to 1948, allowing another 115,000 Albanians to move into Kosovo. From the Albanian-controlled provincial government of Kosovo, the Albanian immigrants in Kosovo received cash subsidies, welfare and child support payments equal to twice the average Yugoslav wage - the bulk of it financed by the Republic of Serbia.

3. The decision to allow the "Albanianization" of Kosovo was made by three Politburo members: Tito, Bakaric and Kardelj (all Croatians and Slovenians).

4. After the war, Tito's communist government passed several laws 1945-1947, forbidding Serbs to return to Kosovo, in effect giving their land to Albanians. Moreover, in his dream of a Balkan federation encompassing Yugoslavia, Bulgaria and Albania, Tito allowed many Albanians from Albania to settle on Kosovo. This process continued well into the seventies, and to this day, there is an unknown number of non-Yugoslav citizens living on Kosovo.

Anonymous said...

"25. maj" was "The Day of Youth" in the former Yugoslavia.
And Tito decided to clebrate his birthday on that date (although he was born on 7th), because "Tito loves the young", "Tito is always young in his heart", etc., but actually - in order to make sure that all the youth is well indoctrinatd with the comunist ideology.

Anonymous said...

Ahhhhhh .... I knew there was a catch. Tito's youthful aspirations -- a tool for his communist agenda.

The beauty of a by-gone ideology...

Anonymous said...

I come from New Zealand and we have many foreign students from Asia in our schools and universities. They all have to learn and sit their exams in English, our official language. Since moving to Montenegro I have made considerable efforts to learn Serbian/Montenegrin. I view it as normal that I should have to speak the language of the country I live in and I see it as an addition to my education that I speak more than one language. As an outsider I think it would be valuable for the youth of this region to speak each others' languages and intermingle in schools and universities in order to understand each others' values and put aside the nationalist beliefs of their parents that I find so prevalent here.

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