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An unfortunate interrelation in education: fewer pupils, fewer teachers, less quality

Oct 27, 2017

In 2016, 5,999 pupils attended classes in primary and high schools of the municipality of Deçan. In 2016 there were 2,400 fewer pupils in the whole municipality compared to the previous year.

Along with the decreasing number of students (2,701 less than in 2010), the number of teachers has decreased as well: out of 618 who used to teach six years earlier, there are only 570 teachers left today.

This has impacted the quality of learning, since many teachers are forced to teach subjects for which they do not have the required qualifications.

According to the director of the Directorate for Culture and Education (DCE), Qazim Maloku, the reasons for this are village-city migrations, family planning, and migrations outside the country.

“The demographic moving and family planning made the number of pupils decrease every day,” he says.

The Primary School “Jusuf Gërvalla” in Prapaqan is a concrete example of this.

The principal, Avdyl Shalla tells that in 2016, the school had almost50% fewer pupils than in the previous year.

“Out of the 780 pupils that we had in 2015, this year we have only 400 pupils in both parallels, here and in the Dubovik village.”

Here as well, the decreasing number of pupils has been followed by the decreasing number of teachers, whom, according to Shala, “are under pressure for all of them work full-time.”

However, he emphasizes that it is not the teachers or the schools that are to be blamed, and thinks schools should have quality coordinators that would supervise them closely.

Bekim Mushkolaj, principal of “Vëllezërit Frashëri” gymnasium in Deçan, thinks that if the education system were well-organized, the teachers should be sent to other schools in the area in order for each of them to teach the subject for which they are qualified.

“As a result of the lack of organization at the state level, teachers remain in the same school and they almost convert into an ‘all-subjects’ teacher,” he says.

Even the director of DCE, Maloku, agrees that this phenomenon has had a negative impact in the quality of education. He says that the lack of competition between pupils and teachers is a problem as well.

“This means to serve the meal and eat it either cooked or not,” Maloku says.

Dukagjin Pupovci, director of Kosova Education Center (KEC), thinks that the lack of professionalism, enthusiasm and knowledge poses a problem in the quality in all levels of education.

“To me, lack of responsibility, and often a lack of professional qualifications of teachers, school principals or even university professors, is a hindrance to education,” Pupovci ended.

Bekim Vishaj, vice-principal of “Vëllezërit Frashëri” gymnasium, also blames DCE-s for not taking measures when they become aware that these phenomena are present in schools.

“From the moment when the curriculum regulations for the new academic year start, it is the duty of the principal to send the DCE the report for each teacher and the subjects he/she teaches,” Vishaj says.

According to him, this happens because of the lack of norms. Teachers are given second-hand subjects.

DCE in defends itself by saying that they cannot do more if the financing formulae remains “teacher per pupil.”

“There have been many complaints against us with the pretention that we are employing people on a political basis. Or, there have been complaints that we are not firing people for several different reasons, but as long as the financing formulae does not change, DCE cannot do anything more,” he says.

According to him, the right financing formula would be “a teacher per grade” regardless of the number of students in that class. As the situation is nowadays, the municipality is obliged to pay teachers from its budget.

Liridona Berisha

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