Education for the future - common needs

It is very difficult to speak about the unity of educational policies or the joint development of competences through education for the future in a reality in which there are two independent educational systems, which are almost denying the right to existence of one another, although neither of them is offering an alternative to members of the other community (and other non-Serb / non-Albanian communities) best practices for acquiring knowledge. The differences between these two educational systems are clearly visible at different levels, starting with the quality of knowledge they offer, as well as the availability of resources for teaching improvement. However, what connects them is the need for change that would improve the quality of knowledge and put the needs of students in the forefront, all for the sake of gaining the competences necessary for development. What disturbs both systems are discrimination, segregation and politicization that negatively affect the quality of education provided to those who are yet to shape this world. In the last decades, the whole society, together with schooling, is undergoing changes that could be described as a devastation of universal values, which as a result have a lower quality of knowledge that students acquire in schools. Neither good schools and inspirational teachers, nor the suitable learning resources are available to all the children. And there are more and more children whose needs to learn, master the necessary skills and understand the world they live in, cannot be satisfied by education. The unemployment rate in Kosovo is 29%, which is the highest rate in the Balkans. Unemployment is closely linked to the current educational system. The labor market and education policy represent two sides of the same coin. And in Kosovo, this coin is nobody's fortune. And we, the Serbs and Albanians, just like those two sides of the coin, are turning our backs on each other, without any initiative to depoliticize the most important area that shapes our future, offer concrete solutions to the many problems that education faces and prepare future generations for the challenges of the future labor market. If, for a moment, we leave all political games aside, the focus of education should be directed towards students' needs, their development and acquisition of knowledge necessary for further development, both of students themselves and of society as a whole. Where can we start? Although the issue is very sensitive to the majority of citizens, from both Serbian and Albanian communities, it causes turbulent and negative reactions, learning the language of the environment, i.e. the introduction of the Serbian and Albanian languages, as optional subjects, both in Albanian and in the Serbian curriculum, through all levels of education, could be the starting point - overcoming obstacles on the path to reconciliation, but the starting point for a much more practical need - competitiveness in the labor market and reduction of the extremely high unemployment rate. In the past few years, various initiatives have been identified, primarily by civil society organizations, as well as by the Office of the Language Commissioner, regarding the raising awareness of the importance of knowing the language of the environment. Research results that tell us that only 5% of Serbs in Kosovo speak Albanian and Serbian is spoken by 18% Albanians, with a note that 94% of young Albanians do not speak Serbian (only 27% of which would like to learn), are a clear indication that non-formal education that has been available to us so far, through language courses and coexistence, is not effective enough and we need to set new foundations for future knowledge through formal education. Why both of our communities must get involved, and what will we get? Knowing one or more languages in modern times is an essential competence, both for professional achievement and for everyday life. However, knowledge of the English language, which has been in the first place for decades when it comes to the selection of a foreign language, is not enough for a certain number of occupations. This is particularly expressed in the domain of foreign trade that is directed to countries outside the Anglo-Saxon speaking region and in which knowledge of the local language increases market competitiveness. This is especially important for the Albanian community, which naturally finds that space in the countries of the region, countries where the Serbian language is a basis and the common language of all South Slavic / Balkan peoples. The Serbian community, on the other hand, finds its labor market in Kosovo itself - the lack of trained interpreters in Kosovo's institutions, but also in the wider labor market, gives great opportunities for employment, but it requires knowledge, first of all. Knowledge of the Albanian language. Re-learning of the Serbian and Albanian languages through the formal education system would also open a large number of job positions in the education system, where in each of over 3,000 schools from both systems, at least two professors would be needed. And, for us to be able to reach this point, it is necessary, again, through the formal education, to encourage the education of staff who could educate further. The first step towards this is the reopening of the Department of Albanology at the University of Kosovska Mitrovica, i.e. opening of the Department of Srbism, i.e. Balkanism at the University of Pristina. And that is just a start. The re-learning of the Serbian and Albanian languages through the formal education system requires a serious commitment of all relevant factors that can influence the most effective implementation of this very important segment of education policies. It is up to us to insist that the formulation and definition of educational policies that include mutual learning of Albanian and Serbian should begin as soon as possible. Because it has been high time for a while. We are late. Quality education is a matter of keeping up with the developed world we belong to, and a response to the needs that surround us. In Kosovo, our basic need is to understand each other, in order to accept each other and move forward. Modern attitudes and tendencies in Europe in relation to foreign language learning policies contain within themselves the notion of multilingualism as one of the basic principles of the policy of European unity and equality. Language should be our bridge that will make it easier for us to cross over all the misunderstandings. The value of our cultures is that they do not exclude but require the recognition of diversity and its appreciation in order to benefit the society and communities. And it is in the common interest of all in Kosovo to take full advantage of the potential of education as a driver of the overall well-being - economic development, job creation and social justice, and, in that way, through the acquisition of knowledge and continuous improvement, promote all the diversity of our common identity.

Ky projekt mbështetet nga Misioni i Kombeve të Bashkuara në Kosovë (UNMIK) dhe zbatohet nga New Social Initiative. Mendimet e shprehura në të pasqyrojnë pikëpamjet e autorit dhe jo domosdoshmërisht ato të Kombeve të Bashkuara, të UNMIK-ut a të New Social Initiative.

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