Unleashing Change


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Unleashing Change - Voices of Kosovo’s Youth 2010 - 20 October 2010

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Unleashing Change

  1. 1. unite for children Report 3ROLF $QDOVLV 8QWLQJ WKH .QRW Unleashing Change7KH 3ROLWLFDO (FRQRP RI &RUUXSWLRQ DQG $FFRXQWDELOLW LQ .RVRYR Voices of Kosovo’s Youth 2010 -XQH 20 October 2010 RSULJKW ‹,.6™™™ ‹•™‡„ ‘”‰ ƒ‰‡
  2. 2. Copyright © UNICEFThe Author of this report is Kosovar Stability Intiative (IKS)ISBN 978-9951-600-00-2
  3. 3. Unleashing Change Voices of Kosovo’s Youth 2010 20 October 2010This report was produced with generous support from UNICEF, and with funds from Luxemburg Government The views and opinions expressed in this study do not necessarily reflect those of UNICEF.
  4. 4. CONTENTSFOREWORD ............................................................................................................................................. 2 ABBREVIATIONS AND ACRONYMS .................................................................................................. 3 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY ....................................................................................................................... 5 INTRODUCTION ..................................................................................................................................... 7 RECOMMENDATIONS........................................................................................................................... 9 METHODOLOGY .................................................................................................................................. 11 EDUCATING KOSOVO’S YOUTH: ANOTHER LOST GENERATION? ..................................... 13  THE LEGACY OF THE 1990S .................................................................................................................... 14  YOUTH SATISFACTION WITH EDUCATION IN KOSOVO ............................................................................ 16  LEARNING WITHOUT BOOKS OR COMPUTERS ......................................................................................... 17  LACKING THE BASICS ............................................................................................................................ 22  ATTITUDES TOWARDS EDUCATION: TO CONTINUE OR NOT CONTINUE ................................................... 27  BRIDGE TO THE FUTURE OR A STUMBLING BLOCK? ................................................................................ 30 NO JOBS, NO PERSPECTIVE.............................................................................................................. 33  UNEMPLOYMENT: YOUTHS’ GREATEST CONCERN ................................................................................ 34  EDUCATION DOES NOT PREPARE ONE FOR WORK ................................................................................... 38  PEOPLE I KNOW ..................................................................................................................................... 42  THE GOVERNMENT’S RESPONSE? ........................................................................................................... 44  TO LEAVE OR NOT TO LEAVE! ................................................................................................................ 45 ENCOURAGING YOUTH PARTICIPATION .................................................................................... 47  DEVELOPING A NEW GENERATION OF ACTIVE CITIZENS: PARTICIPATION IN THE FAMILY ....................... 47  YOUTHS’ EAGERNESS TO PARTICIPATE IN DECISION-MAKING PROCESSES .............................................. 49  TOO LITTLE, TOO LATE!?........................................................................................................................ 52  YOUTHS’ STRUGGLE TO MAKE THEIR VOICES HEARD ............................................................................. 54  TURNING PROMISES TO PRACTICES ........................................................................................................ 57 KOSOVAN YOUTH FACE THEIR FUTURE..................................................................................... 59  MY FUTURE LOOKS BRIGHT? .................................................................................................................. 59  KOSOVO THROUGH MY EYES .................................................................................................................. 61  MIGRATION: YOUTHS’ SAFETY VALVE................................................................................................... 62  ‘KOSOVO: THE YOUNG EUROPEANS’..................................................................................................... 65 AREAS FOR FURTHER RESEARCH ................................................................................................. 69 ANNEX I. ADDITIONAL GRAPHS RESULTING FROM THE KOSOVO-WIDE SURVEY ...... 70 ANNEX II. QUESTIONNAIRE FOR YOUTH AGES 10-14 .............................................................. 81 ANNEX III. QUESTIONNAIRE FOR YOUTH AGES 15-24 ............................................................. 96 ANNEX IV. FOCUS GROUP DISCUSSION GUIDE........................................................................ 109 ANNEX V. EU-FUNDED PROJECTS ................................................................................................ 112  TABLE 4. SUPPORTING THE EDUCATION SECTOR IN KOSOVO 2004-2009 ............................................ 112 www.iksweb.org 1
  5. 5. FOREWORDAbout one-fourth of the worlds population comprises of young people between the ages10 to 24. With 50% of its population under the age of 25 Kosovo is known for havingthe youngest population in Europe. However, young peoples participation in thedecision making processes in all areas remains a major challenge. The fact that theyoung largely feel excluded from public debates has prompted UNICEF to address theirparticipation by engaging different stakeholders and ministries in conceiving andimplementing better social inclusion policies, giving priority to young persons. Theparticipation of youth in decision making processes and the associated societal shiftscan form an integral part of shaping Kosovos future prospective. Yet, at central or locallevels, young peoples voices fade prior to reaching the right ear. Their mobilization andempowerment has to become a priority for Kosovan institutions, civil society andstakeholders to realise the full potential that a young population represents in Europeand beyond.The Voice of Kosovo Youth study you have in your hands reveals the views andexperiences of young people in Kosovo. The study explores young peoples challengesand hopes about the educational system, employment opportunities, future prospectsand the Kosovan society in general, highlighting the circumstances that impede theirparticipation in public life. Youth expressed their frustration about future prospects withregards to poor education and associated unemployment, including the unavailability ofstudy materials, unqualified teaching staff or the lack of up to date methodologies.However, they express their desire to be given the opportunities to contribute moreactively and shape Kosovos presence and future.UNICEF will continue to monitor and advocate for the rights of children and youth inall countries. The recommendations deduced from the empirical findings in the reportshould guide stakeholders and policy makers as they engage in the fight to build andmake an inclusive and vibrant society and in providing a better present and future for allyoung people in Kosovo.Johannes WedenigUNICEF Kosovo Head of Office,Prishtina, October 20102 www.iksweb.org
  6. 6. ABBREVIATIONS AND ACRONYMSADA Austrian Development AgencyALMP Active Labour Market ProgramAUK American University in KosovoCIDA Canadian International Development AgencyCYAC Central Youth Action CouncilEC European CommissionESOMAR European Society for Opinion and Market ResearchETF European Training FoundationEU European UnionFSDEK Finish Support to the Education Sector in Kosovo FSDEKGDP Gross Domestic ProductGTZ German Technical CooperationIKS Kosovar Stability Initiative (Iniciativa Kosovare per Stabilitet)ILO International Labour OfficeKEC Kosovo Education CentreKEDP Kosovo Education Development PlanKYEAP Kosovo Youth Employment Action PlanKYN Kosovo Youth NetworkLYAC Local Youth Action CouncilMEST Ministry for Education, Science and TechnologyMCYS Ministry of Culture, Youth and SportsMLSW Ministry of Labour and Social WelfareNGO Non-Governmental OrganisationOECD Organisation for Economic Co-operation and DevelopmentPEC Public Employment CentrePES Public Employment ServicesSDC Swiss Agency for Development and CooperationSIDA Swedish International Development AgencySOK Statistical Office of KosovoUNESCO United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural OrganisationUNDP United National Development Programmewww.iksweb.org 3
  7. 7. UNICEF United Nations Children’s FundUSAID United States Agency for International DevelopmentUSG United States GovernmentVET Vocational Education Training4 www.iksweb.org
  8. 8. EXECUTIVE SUMMARYApproximately half of Kosovo’s population is under age 25. Kosovo is thus theyoungest state in Europe both in terms of age and its newborn statehood. Educating,empowering and employing Kosovan youth remain key challenges for Kosovo in itsquest towards European integration. In 2001, UNICEF carried out a Young VoicesOpinion Poll to promote the participation of children and young people. It gave themthe opportunity to have their opinions and concerns heard and widely shared with theirfamilies, the government and public at large. The present report seeks to identify theproblems and issues that young people consider priorities.Kosovan youths’ concerns and hopes have changed little since UNICEF’s first YoungVoices Opinion Poll in 2001. Nearly a decade ago, 43 percent of youth believed thatKosovo would become a better place to live. They liked their country, and 87 percentwanted to continue living in Kosovo. They hoped for an improved standard of living,fewer social problems and a better political situation.In 2010, neither international assistance nor the declaration of independence hasbrightened future prospects for Kosovan youth. Kosovo must invest more in its youngpeople towards becoming a competitive economy within the larger European market.Investment must begin in the education sector. The legacy of the 1990s, outdatedteaching methodologies and poor infrastructure have left youth disenfranchised withKosovo’s education sector. The positive relationship between education andemployment mean that a strong education sector is crucial for reducing unemploymentand poverty towards greater social stability.Kosovo remains the poorest economy in South East Europe. Youth under age 25 havebeen among the most affected, with an estimated unemployment rate of 73 percent. In alabour market in which labour demand is already very low, 95.5 percent of youth haveno prior work experience. This affects long-term unemployment among youth; 81.8percent have been seeking a job for more than 12 months. Informalities and nepotism inhiring practices further disadvantage the unemployed. With such bleak prospects, someconsider migration the best way to improve their lives.Youth still have limited impact on decision-making processes for two reasons:institutions rarely feel obliged to respect youths’ right to participate, and young peopledo not consider participation a civic responsibility. Failing to involve youth in decision-making processes may easily contribute to future instability.In the eyes of young people, economic and social conditions serve as a yardstick formeasuring quality of life in Kosovo. Like previously surveyed youth, respondents hopedfor a better economic situation and standard of living in Kosovo. Kosovan Serb youthtended to be more uncertain about their futures than other youths.www.iksweb.org 5
  9. 9. 6 www.iksweb.org
  10. 10. INTRODUCTIONGiven the high levels of youth unemployment, education is a key priority for Kosovo.1With approximately half the population under age 25,2 Kosovo is the youngest state inEurope both in terms of age and its newborn statehood. Together with natural resources,the newborn country’s youth have been identified as one of its two strengths.3 Kosovo’syoung labour force can be an asset amidst Europe’s aging population and is a crucialfactor in Kosovo’s hopes for European integration. Indeed, the European Commissionhas emphasised the importance of youth employment and empowerment in progressreports, as have the World Bank and USAID.Yet, despite Kosovan leaders’ vocal commitment to European integration, minimalattention has been given to youth. For example, in the Government’s 55-page strategyreflecting national priorities for 2008 thru 2011, youth are mentioned only eight times.4As the United Nations Development Programme noted in its 2006 Human DevelopmentReport, Kosovo youth had little impact on decision-making institutions for two reasons:first, institutions do not feel obliged to respect the rights of youth to participate, andsecond, young people do not consider their participation a civic responsibility.In 2001, UNICEF carried out a Young Voices Opinion Poll to promote the opinions,views and concerns of children and young people. The survey was conducted with 400children and young people between nine and seventeen years old. In 2004, UNICEFcarried out another youth opinion poll that focused on health education, employment,development, protection and participation in civil society. The survey was conductedwith 600 young people between nine and twenty-five years old. It also involved a seriesof focus group with youth.This present report seeks to assess opinions, views and concerns of young people andshare them with the government, key stakeholders and the public at large. It makescomparisons with the prior surveys on youth, where relevant. The data and findingspresented in this report will be used by UNICEF to establish baseline and progressindicators in order to inform the development of a comprehensive situation analysis ofyoung people; to monitor the impact of UNICEF programme interventions; and tostrengthen the monitoring and evaluation of the Kosovo Youth Action Plan.The 2010 Young Voices Opinion Poll, funded by UNICEF and carried out by the IKSteam involved mixed research methods, including a Kosovo-wide survey of 1,300respondents; in-depth interviews with youth across Kosovo; and 10 focus groups withyouth of diverse education levels, ethnicities and geographic areas. In-depth interviewswere also conducted with policy makers, practitioners, donors and other relevantstakeholders.In this resulting report, the first chapter deals with youths’ opinions and satisfactionwith Kosovo’s education system. Chapter two examines youths’ opinions regarding1 European Commission (EC), Kosovo-Fulfilling its European Perspective, Brussels, October 2009.2 U.S. Census Bureau, International Data Base, Population Pyramid Kosovo 2010. Kosovo’s total population is estimated to be1,815,048, out of which 864,170 (47.6 percent) are under age 24. At http://www.census.gov/ipc/www/idb/country.php.3 Republic of Kosovo, Medium Term Expenditure Framework 2009-2011, June 12, 2008. Prishtinë/Priština, p. 6.4 Government of Kosovo, Program of the Government of Republic of Kosovo 2008-2011, Prishtinë/Priština, April 2008.www.iksweb.org 7
  11. 11. employment opportunities in Kosovo; their readiness for the labour market; and linksbetween education and employment. Chapter three looks into youth participation indecision-making processes and the institutional provisions for youth involvement indecision-making. The fourth chapter focuses on youth perceptions of life in Kosovo andtheir satisfaction with life in general; measures their willingness to migrate; andpresents the views of Kosovan youth in relation to their future and Europeanintegration.8 www.iksweb.org
  12. 12. RECOMMENDATIONS Education  A comprehensive approach and efforts to the education system are evident. This, nonetheless, requires extensive investment over a considerable period of time. Current efforts must be complemented by strong leadership, including strategic government commitment and increased budget allocation for education sector.  Inter-ministerial coordination is crucial for synchronizing labour market demands with opportunities for the education sector to supply labour, particularly vocational training. MLSW should make identifying skills required by the labour market a priority. Subsequently, such needs should be reflected in MEST’s sector-wide strategic approach.  Promoting foreign exchange for private and public tertiary students and lecturers would accelerate education reform by introducing new methods employed in other countries of the region and Europe. Additionally, skills and knowledge gained during a semester abroad would contribute to furthering the quality of current teaching at the university level. Employment  The infusion of a young labour force is essential for filling the jobs left open by Europe’s ageing population. The Government of Kosovo can enter into bilateral agreements with interested EU countries in order to identify labour market demands and establish programs for providing labour. Short-term migration can be coordinated, controlled and regulated bilaterally. MLSW should take the lead in establishing such a program on behalf of the Government of Kosovo. The MSLW project was pioneering in this regard.  Compulsory internships, mandated as part of University level curricula could better prepare graduates for the labour market. AUK is an exceptional example in this regard. Opportunities for youth to intern with international organisations in Kosovo should be examined. MEST should explore additional opportunities for initiating internship agreements between universities in Kosovo and the region.  Web-portals where youth can upload their CVs and employers can announce vacancies can marry labour market demands with existing skills. This is a widely used, successful practice in other countries. It can help reduce informalities during selection and recruitment processes. Such a website could be accessible by youngsters throughout Kosovo. MLSW in close cooperation with businesses could initiate such a project. Participation  For the Prime Minister of Kosovo and the Government to prove their commitment to Kosovo’s ‘Young Europeans,’ the year 2011 should bewww.iksweb.org 9
  13. 13. declared a ‘Year for Youth.’ This should be translated into actions, including increasing budget lines towards facilitating youth participation and stimulating their activism. Such a national level decision should trickle down to affect the municipal level.  School principals should identify avenues for encouraging students’ participation and activism. They could identify youths’ interests and opinions regarding their future, via computer-based social networks, which are very popular among youth. Future Perspective  Initiatives for opening more EU information and cultural centres in other places outside of Prishtinë/Priština should be encouraged. As a matter of fact, both EU and Government of Kosovo should utilize this momentum of the positive attitudes of young Kosovans towards EU. In addition, to more centres, the government and EU could support draft the curricula and organize compulsory classes of EU integration (institutions and values) for the secondary school attendees, as part of the relevant subject of the social sciences.10 www.iksweb.org
  14. 14. METHODOLOGYThe findings presented here draw from mixed research methods involving bothquantitative and qualitative data. An initial literature review illustrated the dearth ofaccurate and current data available in order to respond to the research objectives, that ofassessing opinions, views and concerns of young people and share them with thegovernment, key stakeholders and the public at large. Therefore, IKS decided to usemultiple methods, data sources and researchers for triangulation, towards enhancing thereliability and validity of the research findings.A primary data source was the Kosovo-wide survey of 1,300 youth ages 10 to 24.Disproportionate, multi-stage random sampling was employed. The sample wasstratified by municipality, age and ethnicity. UBO Consulting was commissioned tocarry out the structured face-to-face interviews, which took place between March 29thand April 7th 2010. Two different surveys were employed to assess the views andconcerns of young people ages 10 to 14 and 15 to 24 years old, respectively. Theinterviews were administered in line with the ‘guidelines on Interviewing Children andYoung People’ issued by the European Society for Opinion and Marketing Research(ESOMAR)5 in 1999. According to these guidelines, all children were interviewed intheir own language and in their homes with permission from their parents or guardians.Though, the interviewer and child were alone during the interview to encourage thechild to answer all questions freely and candidly. All field researchers attended a one-day training led by a specialized psychologist.As Figure 1 illustrates, 900 Kosovo Albanians, 200 Kosovo Serbs, and 200 respondentsof other ethnicities including Turks, Gorani, Bosnians, Roma, Ashkali and Egyptianstook part. UBO Consulting controlled the data through 35 percent back-checking;entered the data into SPSS; and performed consistency controls. The data analysisinvolved both descriptive statistics and regression with a 95 percent confidence interval.Particular attention was paid to variables such as age, gender, region and ethnicity.The quantitative survey data was supplemented by in-depth interviews with youngpeople and ten focus group discussions with high school students, university students,job-seekers and employed youth. The focus groups were held in Prishtinë/Priština,Prizren, Gjakovë/Đakovica, Dragash/Dragaš, Mamuşa/Mamushë/Mamuša, Gračanica/Graçanicë and Mitrovicë/Mitrovica. In-depth interviews with youth as key informantswere a defining feature of the research methodology, as illustrated by the use ofquotations and anecdotes. The report was further enriched by interviews with more than50 policy-makers, international donors, youth organisations and youth centres. Theseinterviews assessed existing initiatives and programs targeting youth towardsempowerment, education, employment opportunities and participation in decision-making processes.Triangulation was used to identify converging themes and seemingly contradictoryfindings were investigated. IKS team analysed the quantitative and qualitative data andcompiled the findings in a report according to four chapters. IKS shared the preliminary5 The European Society for Opinion and Marketing Research (ESOMAR) is the world organisation for enabling better research intomarkets, consumers and societies. ESOMAR promotes the value of market and opinion research in illuminating real issues andbringing about effective decision-making on a global level. ESOMAR’s mission is to promote the highest standards in marketresearch for improving decision-making in the public and private sectors. For more information, see: www.esomar.org.www.iksweb.org 11
  15. 15. findings in a workshop with key stakeholders in areas of education, employment andparticipation in decision-making and incorporated amendments and suggestions in thisreport.Figure 1. Sample Demographics Total sample size: n = 1300 Unit Percentage Frequencies Gender Male 50.7% 658 Female 49.3% 642 Age 10-14 years 34% 444 15-24 years 66% 856 Ethnicity Albanian 69.6% 900 Serb 15.5% 200 Other* 14.9% 200 Region Prishtinë/Priština 24% 313 Pejë/Peč 14% 182 Prizren 18% 230 Gjilan/Gnjilane 12% 167 Gjakovë/Đakovica 5% 61 Mitrovicë/Mitrovica 16% 208 Ferizaj/Uroševac 11% 139* ‘Other’ includes Roma, Ashkali, Egyptians, Gorani, Bosnians and Turks.12 www.iksweb.org
  16. 16. EDUCATING KOSOVO’S YOUTH: ANOTHER LOSTGENERATION? ‘Education is their bridge to the world.’ - Alyssa Milano, UNICEF Goodwill AmbassadorChildren from Kosovo painted this picture for the UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador,Alyssa Milano, who visited on Children’s Day in 2010. The open book represents thefoundation of education and knowledge, from which the red flowers (Kosovo’schildren) grow into the world. The painters, Kosovan youth, were born after 1999 andhave no memory of the conflict. They look towards a better future, eager to changeKosovo. For this, education is their ‘bridge to the world.’In 2010, approximately half of Kosovo’s population was under age 25, and around 54percent of them were enrolled in the education system.6 High hopes were placed oneducation as the backbone of economic development and progress but problemsremained.7 As the European Commission Progress report noted, Kosovo’s educationsystem continued to be affected by resource constraints, inadequate facilities (includingbasic sanitary services and potable water), poor quality teaching and low enrolment(lower than the regional average). The implementation of the Law on Education at themunicipal level had been hampered by inadequate financial and administrativecapacities in municipal education directories.8 Faced with all these challenges, willKosovo’s Young Europeans9 be able to realise their dreams and be catalysts for socialand economic change?This chapter first observes how the legacy of the 1990s affected the quality of educationin Kosovo. Following an overview of youth satisfaction with the education sector,issues with learning materials, teachers and classroom infrastructure are discussed.Finally, recommendations for improving the education sector are made.6 IKS calculation using data from the Statistical Office of Kosovo on total school enrolment (469,631 students) at all levels and theestimated number of youth under age 25 in Kosovo (865,170), according to the U.S. Census Bureau, International Data Base,Population Pyramid Kosovo 2010, http://www.census.gov/ipc/www/idb/country.php. The last census in Kosovo was held in 1981,so accurate population data is unavailable.7 Government of Kosovo, Program of the Government of Republic of Kosovo 2008-2011, Prishtinë/Priština, April 2008.8 European Commission, Kosovo under UNSCR 1244/99 2009 Progress Report, Brussels, October 2009.9 ‘Kosovo: The Young Europeans’ is the slogan of a government-sponsored promotional campaign for Kosovo launched on 26October 2009. The campaign aired on six stations in Europe and the United States, including CNN, BBC, Euronews, Bloombergand Eurosport, aiming at branding Kosovo as a new nation, focusing strongly on the power of young people.www.iksweb.org 13
  17. 17. The legacy of the 1990sIn 2008, the Government of Kosovo identified education as one of ‘the 4 E’s,’ thepriority sectors towards Kosovo’s development: Economy, Energy, Education andEurope. Nonetheless, the education system has remained one of Kosovo’s greatestweaknesses. For nearly twenty years Kosovo’s education system has been in a state ofemergency, providing only basic necessities. ‘Even nowadays we can’t talk aboutreforms,’ said Lida Kita, a European Training Foundation (ETF) expert on Kosovo’seducation system. ‘We still talk about priorities.’10 Insufficient education amongteachers, outdated teaching methodologies, lack of space, overcrowded schools, reducedclass hours and low salaries have hampered the quality of the education provided.Such problems have been due in part to the legacy left by decades of discrimination andthe destruction of schools during the conflict. About half a million young KosovanAlbanians were forced by the Serb authorities to leave the formal education system afterKosovo’s decision-making autonomy over education was abolished in 1989. This led tothe creation of an Albanian parallel education system.11 In 1991, secondary educationmoved almost entirely underground as only 6,000 official seats were made available for36,000 Albanian students finishing primary education.12 By 1992 Albanian studentswere entirely excluded from schools in Kosovo. Hundreds of Albanian head-teacherswere dismissed. All of the teachers at the University of Prishtinë/Priština who refused toteach according to the newly introduced curriculum, with Serbian as the sole languageof instruction, were ‘deemed to have resigned.’13 Most Kosovan Albanian staff andstudents were removed from the University of Prishtinë/Priština.14From 1989 to 1999 the Albanian parallel education system struggled to survive. In 1995386,511 students were enrolled15 in this system that suffered from dire limitations.Lessons were held in improvised classrooms in private houses and garages. Textbookproduction was prohibited in Kosovo so some materials were smuggled from Albania.Other books were produced illegally in Kosovo, but could not reflect new developmentsin science and technology.16 Dated curricula were applied by unqualified volunteerteachers. Insufficient infrastructure and Serb harassment meant that the number ofstudents attending school halved by 1996.17 Then, the 1998-1999 conflict destroyed halfof the schools; damaged about 17 percent of schools; and left most without runningwater and sanitary equipment.Although 110 schools had been rebuilt by 2010,18 many children still attended school inovercrowded classrooms in morning, afternoon and sometimes even evening shifts.Initially adopted as a necessity after the conflict, about 70 schools still taught three10 IKS interview with Lida Kita, European Training Foundation, 1 July 2010.11 In March 1990 Belgrade enacted ‘Temporary Measures’ which included ‘The Programme for the Attainment of Peace, Freedomand Prosperity in the Socialist Autonomous Province of Kosovo’, and the ‘Law on the Activities of Organs of the Republic inExceptional Circumstances’. The Temporary Measures led to the suspension of the Provincial Parliament, the removal of Kosovo’sautonomous control over education and the introduction of Serbian as the only official language of education (Sommers Buckland, Parallel Worlds: Rebuilding the Education System in Kosovo: UNESCO, 2004, p. 42).12 Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Thematic Review of National Policies for Education –Kosovo, June 2001.13 Alva et al., 2002, in Sommers Buckland, 2004.14 Bellamy, A., ‘Human Wrongs in Kosovo: 1974-99’, The International Journal of Human Rights, 2000, 4 (3), pp. 105-126.15 Bache, J. Taylor, A. ‘The Politics of Policy Resistance: Reconstruction Higher Education in Kosovo.’ Journal of Public Policy,2003, 23 (3), pp. 279-300.16 Sommers Buckland, Parallel Worlds: Rebuilding the Education System in Kosovo: UNESCO, 2004, p. 42.17 OECD, Thematic Review of National Policies for Education – Kosovo, June 2001.18 Data on MEST investments in school infrastructure from 2004 to 2010 were taken from the Department of Infrastructure andTechnical Services, MEST, September 2010.14 www.iksweb.org
  18. 18. ‘shifts’ per day in 2007. Most others had two.19 Schools teaching in three shifts wereforced to shorten class hours to only 35 to 40 minutes per class, instead of 45 minutes.This has had consequences for the quality of education that youth receive. Milot a 22-year-old student recalled: We were a lot of students in high school. It was impossible for the teacher to deal with each of us individually. We could not do any presentations; write essays and learn many other things that are crucial to know in the modern world.20The number of schools with three shifts was reduced to 20 in 2010.21 Even so, otherscontinued to have two shifts. Shortened classes thus remained a reality in many Kosovoschools. Lack of space, an issue that continues to hinder the quality of education in themost crowded faculties of Prishtinë/Priština University, remains a problem.Since the end of 2001 and in accordance with the New Curriculum Framework,22 theKosovo education system has undergone reforms that introduced nine years ofcompulsory education as according to Bologna Process:23 five years of primary schoolfollowed by four years of lower secondary education. In addition to the first nine years,it includes either general secondary education that lasts four years and prepares studentsfor university, or vocational secondary education that typically lasts three years. Startingin 2011, higher secondary education also is expected to become mandatory. It’s crucialto mention as well, that the New Curriculum outlines a significant change in how theeducation and schooling is viewed, the shift from a content focus to a more learningoriented and competency based approach is emphasised and its implementation ispushed by in particular by the current Ministry of Education, Science and Technology(MEST) Minister.The post-independence legislation has been favourable for further reforms in education.It included a new structure for the education system; mainly a new institutional set upand further curriculum development. UNMIK has fully transferred all competencies inthe education sector to the Government of Kosovo. Further, the basis for transferringresponsibilities from national to municipal government authorities was established bythe 2008 Law on Education in Municipalities of the Republic of Kosovo24 and the Lawon Local Governance,25 in practical terms it means that the Directorate of Educationwithin municipality undertakes the selection of school directors and administrative staff.Nevertheless, for some of the observers of the education system this is clearly notenough. As one of the education experts put it, poor leadership at the national level hasmeant a lack of inter-ministerial coordination in pushing forward reforms: ‘The19 Lida Kita, HDR Country Analysis - Kosovo, ETF working paper, May 2008.20 IKS interview with Milot Rexhepi, student of political sciences, Prishtinë/Priština, 9 April 2010.21 MEST data and CHF International fieldwork. IKS email correspondence with Valbona Dushi, Partner Relations Manager, CHFInternational, 17 September 2010.22 UNMIK Department of Education and Science (DES), ‘The New Kosovo Curriculum Framework – Discussion white paper,’Prishtinë/Priština, September 2001.23 The Bologna Process is a European reform process aiming at establishing a European Higher Education Area (EHEA) by 2010.The Bologna Declaration of June 1999 has put in motion a series of reforms needed to make European Higher Education morecompatible and comparable, more competitive and more attractive for Europeans and for students and scholars from othercontinents. http://www.ehea.info24 Law on Education in the Municipalities, Law No. 03/L-068; Republic of Kosovo. 2008, Article 4.25 Law on Local Self Government, Law No. 03/L-040, Republic of Kosovo. 2008.www.iksweb.org 15
  19. 19. government needs to coordinate, and the inter-ministerial coordination should be asingle voice. There is a lot to be done in this respect.’26In 2008 and 2009, donors demonstrated an interest in supporting the development of theeducation system. The education sector-wide approach project (SWAP) was launched inMay 2010 by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MEST) andEuropean Commission Liaison Office (ECLO). The three million euro, EU-fundedproject aimed to contribute to enhancing the management and quality of the educationsystem. The project planned ‘to support the curriculum development and teachertraining development in Kosovo.’ It also sought to support MEST and MunicipalEducation Departments across Kosovo ‘to improve the systems of planning,implementation and evaluation in education at all levels of government.’27With financial support from the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA)through the Capacity Building and Education Reform Project (CBERP), MEST wasundertaking donor mapping at the time of writing this report ‘in order to feed thisinformation into MEST Strategic Planning.’28Numerous other donors have financed Kosovo’s education sector to date. The WorldBank (WB) is the longest standing supporter of Kosovo’s education sector, financingthe sector since 1999. EU-funded projects totalled 76.6 million euros for 2004 thru2009.29 The United States Government (USG) funded projects in education and theyouth sector roughly amounting to 19 million USD between 2000 and 2008. Further, theUSG has set aside an estimated 13 million USD for the fiscal year 2011 (October 1,2010 to September 30, 2011) for education and youth projects and schoolconstruction.30 The Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), DanishDanida, Austrian Development Agency (ADA), German GTZ, Swiss Agency forDevelopment and Cooperation (SDC), Norwegian Government, UNICEF and otherUnited Nations agencies also have contributed substantially, primarily in the form ofgrants.It now seems hopeful that donor coordination, which has been an issue until recently,will help in avoiding overlapping of projects by different donors. MEST, supported bySIDA will harmonize donors’ initiatives and will accommodate the financial and humanresources according to the needs and demands in the ground. Still, more needs to bedone in this aspect as many donors have pointed out the weak capacities of MEST andlimited number of staff.Youth satisfaction with education in KosovoMost Kosovan youth recognised the value of education. The reasons 15- to 24-year-oldrespondents to IKS’s survey most commonly cited for getting an education were to26 IKS interview with Dukagjin Pupovci, Director of Kosovo Education Center (KEC), 3 June 2010.27 ECLO Press Release, EU support measures to promote quality education in Kosovo, 27 May 2010,http://www.delprn.ec.europa.eu/?cid=2,103,873.28 IKS interview with Lovisa Ericson, SIDA Education Programme Officer, 17 June 2010; IKS e-mail correspondence with LovisaEricson, SIDA Education Programme Officer, 18 August, 2010.29 IKS interview with Sophie Beaumont, ECLO Education Program Manger, 9 June 2010; IKS e-mail correspondence with SophieBeaumont, 24 August 2010. For details see Table 4 in Annex V.30 IKS e-mail correspondence with Inez Andrews, USAID Senior Education and Youth Advisor, 30 July 2010.16 www.iksweb.org
  20. 20. ‘develop themselves’ and to make their families proud (84.2 percent agreed with eachstatement, respectively).When asked about their overall satisfaction with the quality of education, mostrespondents to the Kosovo-wide survey replied that they were ‘satisfied’: 89.4 percentof 10- to 14-year-olds, 74 percent of 15- to 19-year-olds, and 61.1 percent of 20- to 24-year-olds. As Graph 1.1 illustrates, overall satisfaction thus seemed to decrease with ageand the corresponding education levels of primary, secondary and tertiary education.Graph 1.1 Youths’ overall satisfaction with the quality of education, by ageA statistically significant relationship existed between ethnicity and overall satisfactionwith the quality of education.31 On average, Kosovo Albanians were more satisfied thanother ethnic groups. More specifically, Kosovo Serb respondents tended to be lesssatisfied than other youth with desks, chairs, and classroom equipment; hygiene; andheating.32Despite surveyed youths’ general satisfaction with the quality of education, morespecific survey questions and in-depth interviews indicated dissatisfaction withelements of the education system, as the following sections detail.Learning without books or computersThe current Kosovan Curriculum Framework, dating from 2001, promotes a schoolcurriculum that remains subject-based rather than skills-based.33 Thus the educationsystem has taught few if any skills that would assist youth in transitioning fromeducation to employment, such as problem-solving or teamwork. Indeed, more than half(52.8 percent) of the 15- to 24-year-old survey respondents considered school curriculaold and without practical application. Similarly, 63.7 percent felt that school was very31 It was statistically significant at the 5 percent level of significance (p 0.001).32 A statistically significant relationship existed at the 5 percent level of significance (p 0.001).33 UNMIK Department of Education and Science (DES), ‘The New Kosovo Curriculum Framework – Discussion white paper,’Prishtinë/Priština, September 2001.www.iksweb.org 17
  21. 21. theoretical and had little practical orientation. For example, Bert, a knowledge-hungry10-year-old from Prishtinë/Priština, explained: I can hardly wait to go to school. [But] sometimes I fall asleep during the classes because I already know what the teacher is explaining. The teacher then calls my mom and tells her that I am dreaming during the class hour. I can hardly wait to go to the fifth grade to learn physics. My father finds websites on the internet where I read about gravity and a lot of other things.34The outdated curriculum could be viewed in stark contrast to some of Kosovo’stechnologically advanced youth. Milan, a 21-year-old student of Art at the University ofMitrovicë/Mitrovica, said attending classes was not enough: I study graphic design, which is a recent thing and highly related to technology. My professors are old and their programs for this faculty most probably date from the ‘90s. I am lucky that I have internet, and I can do my own research. I am planning to go to Belgrade after graduation to attend some main courses that I could not do here.35For Bert and his classmates, a group of lively 10-year-olds, Kosovo’s education systemcould hardly keep up with their desire to learn. Seventy percent of their cohort used acomputer with internet at home.36 However, few schools seemed to utilize modernlearning methodologies.Although many schools were equipped with computer labs, not all students had theopportunity to use them. Drilon, a 17-year-old gymnasium student in Gjakovë/Đakovica, explained that his school was recently equipped with new computers: ‘Beforewe had Pentium 1, the weakest computers ever. We could hardly learn the easiestprograms such as Word, let alone go further. We don’t have internet yet, even though itis necessary.’37 Gentiana, an 18-year-old student of the Technical High School inPrizren, complained that the one computer in her school was shared by 30 students.38Teachers also lacked materials and aids towards more inclusive and varied teachingmethodologies. For example, teachers were encouraged during trainings organized byKosovo Education Centre (KEC), to use listening comprehension exercises. However,an English teacher explained that he did not have a tape recorder or any audio-visualaids to apply the modern teaching techniques he had learned.39Without textbooks at secondary vocational schools, students said that teacherscontinued to dictate lessons. They rarely taught critical thinking skills or assignedexercises to solve. ‘We learn only theory; there is no practice at all,’ complained Dona,an 18-year-old student. Her friend Burak agreed, ‘Instead of solving exercises we are34 IKS interview with Bert, Prishtinë/Priština, 9 April, 2010.35 IKS Focus Group with Kosovo Serb youth in Gračanica/Graçanicë, 12 May, 2010.36 IKS Young Voices Opinion Poll - Kosovo 2010.37 IKS Focus Group with students from gymnasium and professional schools in Gjakovë/Đakovica, 29 April, 2010.38 IKS Focus Group with Students from gymnasium and Professional Schools in Prizren, 28 April, 2010.39 USAID, Assessment of Basic Education/Pre-University Education in Kosovo, July 2009, p. 25.18 www.iksweb.org
  22. 22. dictated lessons; there are no books.’40 An 18-year-old girl from the Technical HighSchool in Prizren explained further: We don’t have books. We are divided in two groups because we are 29 students in the class and 15 students have a lesson for one hour and the other 14 hold a lesson the second hour. Architecture as a branch needs space. We are not at all satisfied with the teaching methods; the professor talks and we write.41The same concerns were shared by other students attending professional schools inPrizren. A senior student at the Economy and Law High School complained thatstudents’ appeals for books had been ignored: In my branch we have books for only half of the courses. In the other half we use the notes that teachers dictate. We have had this problem for four years. We complained, but nothing has happened. One professor has drafted his own book, which has been licensed by the Ministry of Education, whereas the others don’t even care. They take notes from the internet or God knows where.42The situation with books seemed worse for minorities. The medicine branch at AtaturkHigh School in Mamuşa/Mamushë/Mamuša opened four years ago, but of the 14courses, only two had books, a student said. His friend who studied science at the samehigh school agreed, ‘It is the same situation for us. The teachers dictate and we write.This is the situation for most of our courses. We have no books. We have books only forTurkish and English courses.’43In April 2009 the National Council for Curriculum and Textbooks was established toreview and approve a new Curriculum Framework. The curriculum was to align Kosovowith European education standards. The revised curriculum aimed to promote abalanced approach in teaching and learning ‘with regard to providing students withvalid and updated knowledge while also helping them develop valuable skills.’44 Still,as students comments indicate the extent to which these reforms will be implementedremains to be seen. According to Dukagjin Pupovci, Director of KEC, ‘Preparingteachers is the key; if teachers are not prepared to implement the new methods, thecurricula serve no purpose.’45Teachers educated before the 1990s only received two and sometimes three years ofeducation at what used to be the Higher Pedagogical Institute. About 70 percent of theteachers presently in primary schools had two years of this pre-service training.46Further teacher training has been divided into pre-service and in-service training toreach both new generations of teachers and those currently serving. From 2001 to 2009approximately 11,000 of the 24,824 active teachers in Kosovo attended teacher trainingprograms.47 MEST officials are fully aware of the need for massive teacher training inorder to ensure teachers have capacities for implementing the new curricula. In addition,40 IKS Focus Group with Turkish students from Ataturk High School in Mamuşa/Mamushë/Mamuša, 6 May, 2010.41 IKS Focus Group with students from gymnasium and professional schools in Prizren, 28 April, 2010.42 Ibid.43 IKS Focus Group with students of Ataturk High School in Mamuşa/Mamushë/Mamuša, 6 May, 2010.44 MEST,‘Curriculum Framework for pre-school, primary, secondary and post-secondary education’ Second Draft,Prishtinë/Priština, April 2010, p. 12.45 IKS interview with Dukagjin Pupovci, Director of Kosovo Education Center (KEC), 3 June, 2010.46 IKS interview and email correspondence with Ardita Hima, KEC, Prishtinë/Priština, August 2010.47 IKS email correspondence with Nehat Mustafa, Political Advisor to the Minister of MEST, 23 July, 2010.www.iksweb.org 19
  23. 23. MEST in close cooperation with University of Prishtinë/Priština have taken necessaryarrangements to start re-training all teachers who have a former 2 years of HigherPedagogical Institute pre-service training enabling them to upgrade their qualification toa four year degree. The program is scheduled to start by the end of October 2010 giventhat University has made all necessary preparations.The Canadian Agency for International Development (CIDA) was the first to invest inteacher training programs in Kosovo. Other donors followed, such as UNICEF, KosovoEducation Development Fund (KEDP), Finish Support to the Education Sector inKosovo (FSDEK), KEC and MEST itself. KEC alone has trained more than 10,000teachers to date in in-service teacher training. Pre-Service teacher training is providedby Faculty of Education in the University of Prishtinë/Priština, in-service teachertraining was offered by many different organizations to date, and has not been regulatedby law. MEST is in the process of completing the legislation regarding teacher training,which entails that only MEST accredited institutions can provide teacher training inKosovo.Despite efforts by both MEST and international donors to improve teachers’ knowledgeand methodology, problems remained. While 80.8 percent of 10- to 14-year-olds and64.8 percent of 15- to 24-year-olds were generally content with their teachers, morespecific survey questions, interviews and focus groups revealed areas of dissatisfaction.More than 66 percent of 10- to 14-year-olds and 62.5 percent of 15- to 24-year-oldsconsidered teachers’ behaviour towards students overly authoritative and strict. Thusonly marginally fewer students seemed more satisfied with teachers than in the 2004UNICEF Kosovo-wide survey, when 72 percent of respondents said teachers had veryauthoritative behaviour.48During interviews, students detailed their experiences with poor teaching at all levels.An 18-year-old explained, ‘in case you ask the wrong question, the teachers tell us to“shut up” and “sit down.”’ University students described similar experiences. A 22-year-old from the Faculty of Architecture commented: I am not at all satisfied with the quality of education. The profession I have chosen needs a lot of work and dedication and requires the professor to be very prepared and up to date. Unfortunately in my faculty the professors are communists, come drunk to classes and harass girls.49Similarly, Drin, a lively 16-year-old, said: Teachers are very conservative and not professional in their work. They are not at all close to students; sometimes they have even beaten us. Due to the low salaries they have, teaching has been a second job for them. I remember teachers not coming to classes because they were working somewhere else privately.50Deniza, a young woman from Gjakovë/Đakovica, summarized her experienced: ‘Theteacher enters the classroom, explains what he/she has to explain, asks whether we48 UNICEF, Youth in Kosovo, June 2004, p. 27.49 IKS interview with a 22-year-old student of Architecture in Univeristy of Prishtinë/Priština, Prishtinë/Priština, 5 April, 2010.50 IKS interview with Drin, student, Prishtinë/Priština, 7 April, 2010.20 www.iksweb.org
  24. 24. understood and leaves the classroom. Nothing interesting.’51 Overall, more than 15percent of the 10- to 14-year-olds and 19 percent of 15- to 24-year-olds said they were‘undecided’ as to whether their teachers were qualified to teach their subjects. Anotheryouth reflected: One thing that concerns me regarding the education system in Kosovo is the mixture of new methods with old ones. Most of the old teachers pretend to be teaching us according to the new reforms, but what they really do is confuse us. I felt so ashamed when I came to the faculty. [W]hen I was asked to write an essay or do a presentation, I had no idea of what an essay was, let alone writing one. Recently, new, young staff is coming in, and I hope that things will improve. We had the opportunity to learn from the new staff who were educated abroad and who try to prepare us for the labour market.52The difference between ‘younger’ and ‘older’53 teachers’ approaches was a commontheme among youth. As a law student at Prishtinë/Priština University commented, ‘Theyoung professors are enthusiastic and try to make the class hour attractive. Theirknowledge and approach is modern. Whereas the old professors are very conservativeand work with outdated methods, regardless of their attempts to reform.’54Young Kosovo Serbs in Gračanica/Graçanicë also complained about the teachingmethodologies employed.55 ‘There are still old professors, and it is hard to tell theprofessor to use new technology’ said Miloš, a student of English literature at theUniversity of Mitrovicë/Mitrovica.56 Kosovo Serb youth said that the Bologna processwas functional on paper, but that its implementation remained an issue. Teachers eithercontinued with their old methods or improvised something in between. Ivana, a studentof medicine at the University of Mitrovicë/Mitrovica explained: There are cases when a professor has understood the Bologna system and the way it functions. What happens then is that in one faculty you have one course being lectured according to the Bologna system and other courses continuing with the old methods.57While such problems may reflect ongoing transitions as part of the current educationalreform process, the quality of teachers’ lessons and approach must be tackled at theirroot.The Faculty of Education at the University of Prishtinë/Priština, where futuregenerations of teachers are schooled, was established in 2002 by MEST and theUniversity of Prishtinë/Priština. However, it struggles to recruit and adequately preparenew teachers. Teachers’ salaries remain low, despite the 30 to 40 percent increase in51 IKS Focus Group with students from the gymnasium and professional schools in Gjakovë/Đakovica, 29 April, 2010.52 IKS interview with Milot Rexhepi, student of political sciences, Prishtinë/Priština, 9 April, 2010.53 Answers are based on students’ perceptions of ‘old’ and ‘young.’ They likely based definitions on age and the time period inwhich teachers were educated.54 IKS interview with Hereza Sefaj, student of Law at Prishtinë/Priština University, Prishtinë/Priština, 6 April, 2010.55 The schools in Serb communities are under the authority of the Ministry of Education in Belgrade. Kosovo Serb students areeducated according to the curricula of Republic of Serbia and do not receive any instruction in the Albanian language. See: OSCE,Kosovo Non-Majority communities within the Primary and Secondary Educational Systems, April 2009.56 IKS Focus Group with Kosovo Serb youth in Gračanica/Graçanicë, 12 May, 2010.57 Ibid.www.iksweb.org 21
  25. 25. 2009. With salaries ranging from 230 to 260 Euros per month,58 teachers are underpaidcompared to other professions. Thus, a profession that was prestigious during the yearsof the parallel system has become less attractive.Students still choosing to attend the Faculty of Education were not satisfied with theeducation they received. ‘A teacher who was supposed to lecture once a week, lecturedonly once a month and nobody would hold him responsible,’ explained Valdet, a 24-year-old student who left the Faculty of Education to register in Banking and Finance ata private university. ‘Professors do as they like, without taking into account students’needs. Recently, we had to wait six hours to enter the exam,’ complained Edona, a 20-year-old student at the Faculty of Education who planned to transfer into the EconomicsFaculty. Students complained that some of the teachers had been teaching for more than30 years and were too old to adapt to new methods.59Students were not the only ones disappointed in the Faculty of Education. According tothe President of the Board of the Kosovo Accreditation Agency, Ferdije Zhushi Etemi: The Faculty of Education is not preferred for good or excellent students. The whole concept of the Faculty of Education is wrong. There are too few and unqualified staff. There are teachers who are 72 years old. The concept of education is not implemented at all. There is a lack of methodology, strategy and didactics. Only two people in the administration have educational backgrounds; the others come from other disciplines.60Similar concerns were voiced by MEST. Kushtrim Bajrami, Director of the Departmentfor International Cooperation, Coordination of Development and European Integration,agreed, ‘The academic staff of the Education Faulty needs to be better.’61Lacking the BasicsIn addition to teachers, ‘The reform process depends substantially on the physical spaceof schools,’ according to MEST.62 Despite investments made by MEST andinternational donors, school infrastructure has remained a problem. Although MEST ischarged with policy development and monitoring the system, it has noted that ‘theschool infrastructure for the successful implementation of [new teaching] programs isstill lacking.’63 Insufficient infrastructure can impact the quality of education.In IKS’s Kosovo-wide survey, school infrastructure was among the issues with whichyoung people were least satisfied.58 ETF, Mapping Policies and Practices for the Preparation of Teachers for Inclusive Education in Contexts of Social and CulturalDiversity, Country Report for Kosovo (under UNSCR 1244/99) working document, 2010.59 IKS Focus Group with university and college students in Prizren, 28 April, 2010.60 IKS Interview with Ferdije Zhushi Etemi, President of the Board of the Kosovo Accreditation Agency, Prishtinë/Priština, 22 June,2010.61 IKS interview with Kushtrim Bajrami, Director of the Department for International Cooperation, Coordination of Developmentand European Integration, MEST, Prishtinë/Priština, 9 June, 2010.62 MEST, Infrastruktura e Objekteve Arsimore [Infrastructure of School Buildings], at http://www.masht-gov.net/advCms/#id=57.63 MEST, Department for Development of Pre-University Education, second round of workshops with teachers in pre-universityeducation, held in six municipalities (Podujevë/Podujevo, Mitrovicë/Mitrovica, Ferizaj/Uroševac, Suharekë/Suva Reka,Kaçanik/Kačanik and Skenderaj/Srbica), 16 July, 2010.22 www.iksweb.org
  26. 26. Graph 1.2 Percentage of surveyed youth dissatisfied with school infrastructure64As Graph 1.2 illustrates, approximately 25 percent of the respondents said they weredissatisfied with the classrooms, labs, and sports equipment in their schools. About 16percent were dissatisfied with hygiene and about 15 percent with classroom equipment.About 12 percent were dissatisfied with their schools’ heating systems. Youth fromFerizaj/Uroševac and Gjilan/Gnjilane were more likely to express concern regardinginfrastructure issues than students from other regions.According to survey respondents, many schools also lacked basic equipment andservices, such as laboratories, libraries, sport facilities, computers and healthcare. Somelaboratories had been transformed into classrooms to hold other classes for themultitude of students.65 Libraries were poorly equipped and sports facilities consistedmainly of cement squares outdoors with little to no sports equipment. They could not beused during the winter. As Dona, an 18-year-old student from Mamuşa/Mamushë/Mamuša, commented, ‘There are no laboratories for chemistry, physics, etc.There is no gym for physical education. When it’s raining we can’t go outside.’6664 For youth age 15-24-year-old, only the answers of respondents who were attending school have been calculated.65 Kosovar Stability Initiative - IKS, Mitrovicë/Mitrovica: One City, Two Realities, December 2009.66 IKS Focus Group with Turkish students, Ataturk High School in Mamuşa/Mamushë/Mamuša, 6 May, 2010.www.iksweb.org 23
  27. 27. Graph 1.3 Availability of school facilities for youth ages 10-14As Graph 1.3 illustrates, 38 percent of surveyed 10- to 14-year-olds had no healthcare atschool, 33.2 percent had no laboratories, 20.5 percent had no internet, 13 percent had nosport facilities, 11.6 percent had no library and 7.9 percent had no computers. Comparedto other regions, Ferizaj/Uroševac and Gjilan/Gnjilane seemed to have the leastadequate school facilities. The regions where the most students said their schools lackedhealthcare were Ferizaj/Uroševac and Prizren.Graph 1.4 Availability of school facilities for youth ages 15-24 attending schoolThe survey suggested that 15- to 24-year-old respondents had less access than 10- to 14-year-olds to laboratories, computers, internet and libraries. As Graph 1.4 illustrates,more than 36 percent of the 15- to 24-year-old respondents attending school said therewere no laboratories in their school, 18.9 percent had no computers and 28.8 percenthad no internet. Further, 26.8 percent had no healthcare at school, 12.8 percent had nolibrary and 9.7 percent did not have sports facilities.24 www.iksweb.org
  28. 28. More Albanian respondents said they attended schools without healthcare (41.7 percent)than Serb (30.9 percent) or other respondents (25 percent). More Albanian (36.2percent) and other respondents (30.4 percent) lacked laboratories compared to Serb(19.1 percent) respondents. However, more Serb respondents did not have internet (26.5percent) than Albanians (20.4 percent) and other ethnic groups (14.3 percent). Slightlymore Serb respondents were without libraries (14.7 percent) than Albanians (12.5percent) or other minorities (1.8 percent). Nine percent of Albanian respondents did nothave computers at school, whereas 4.4 percent of Serb and 5.4 percent of youth of otherethnicities did.Youth attending schools in particular regions seemed to have less access to laboratoriesthan others, as Graph 1.5 illustrates. About 57 percent of 15- to 24-year-old respondentsin Ferizaj/Uroševac, 41.8 percent in Pejë/Peć and 36.2 percent in Gjilan/Gnjilane saidthey did not have laboratories in their secondary schools.Graph 1.5 Percentage of 15-24-year-olds without laboratories in at school, by regionMore than 61 percent of 15- to 24-year-old respondents in Ferizaj/Uroševac, 50.7percent in Gjilan/Gnjilane and 43.7 percent in Prizren said they did not have healthcareat school. Overall, the regions of Ferizaj/Uroševac and Gjilan/Gnjilane seemed to havethe least adequate infrastructure in schools.67In addition, classroom space has been a serious issue for youth. More than 58 percent ofthe 10- to 14-year-old respondents and 50.3 percent of the 15- to 24-year-olds statedthat there were too many students in their classrooms. Again, differences appeared toexist by region, as illustrated by Graph 1.6. In Ferizaj/Uroševac, Pejë/Peć and Prizren,67 In Ferizaj/Uroševac, 38.6 percent of respondents did not have computers at school; 47.7 percent did not have internet; 29.5percent had no library and 29.9 had not sports facilities. In Gjilan/Gnjilane, 40.6 percent had no internet; 17.4 percent had no libraryat school; and 37.7 percent had no sports facilities.www.iksweb.org 25
  29. 29. the lack of classroom space was noted by similarly high percentages of respondents ineach age group. In Gjakovë/Đakovica and Mitrovicë/Mitrovica, nevertheless,differences in classroom sizes seemed to exist between the two age groups. The regionof Gjakovë/Đakovica had the highest number of respondents ages 10 to 14 stating thatclassrooms were over-crowded (89.5 percent).Graph 1.6 Percentage of youth who said their classroom was over-crowded, by region and ageA statistically significant relationship existed at the five percent significance levelbetween ethnicity and whether youth felt schools were overcrowded.68 On average,Kosovo Albanians of all ages were more likely than Kosovo Serb youth to feel that theirschools were overcrowded.In 2008/2009, the average number of students per classroom was 23 for primary and 30for secondary schools.69 This is considerably higher than in other countries in the regionsuch as Slovenia (18.5 and 20.4, respectively), Hungary (21.1 and 22.6) and the OECDaverage (21.6 and 23.7).70 Rural-urban migration has decreased classroom sizes in somerural schools. However, the number of students per class in some schools remainedhigh. The number of overcrowded classrooms exceeded the number of under-crowdedclassrooms.68 p 0.00169 Statistical Office of Kosovo, Educational Statistics 2008/09, July 2010.70 OECD, Education at a Glance 2010: OECD Indicators for 2008, 2010.26 www.iksweb.org
  30. 30. As a senior student from Prizren Medical High School explained: ‘We are about 45students in one class; it has been very difficult these four years to learn in such acrowded environment.’ Another student from Prizren Economics and Law High Schoolexplained: ‘The maximum number of students in my class was supposed to be 32, butwe were 46. We could not find chairs to sit. Every day we had to fight over chairs. Nowwe are 35, as some [students] left school; they had enough.’71MEST has sought to provide additional educational space. While 800 damaged and 61destroyed schools have mostly been repaired and rebuilt, the pre-war total of 1,220schools has not been reached.72 In any case, considering Kosovo’s large youthpopulation and the expansion of mandatory schooling to 13 years in 2010,73 the spacerequired has grown faster than MEST’s construction efforts. With a total of 985 primaryand 108 secondary schools in 2010, Kosovo still faced severe shortages in classroomspace.74Despite the aforementioned infrastructural deficiencies, MEST’s budget was reducedsignificantly from 56.5 million in 2008 to 36 million in 2010. This affected the budgetfor capital outlays; the Ministry’s budget for school construction declined from 38.5million in 2008 to 24.5 million in 2010. Despite the increase in teachers’ salaries, theoperational budget from which teachers’ salaries and school maintenance are paiddecreased from 17.6 million in 2008 to 6 million in 2009. While the budget increased to11.5 million in 2010, it remained less than in 2008. Budget cuts call into question thegovernment’s dedication to improving education in Kosovo. They dually place at riskyouths’ opportunities for the future.75Attitudes towards education: To continue or not continueMany youth recognized the value of education, as evidenced by both the Kosovo-widesurvey and in-depth interviews. ‘My future depends on the education I receive. I willcontinue my studies until the last grade even though I still have not decided what tostudy,’ said Drin, a 16-year-old high school student from Prishtinë/Priština.76 For 18-year-old Gentiana, ‘School is everything; without school one has no job security, anddoes not know what to expect in the future.’77 Nineteen-year-old Hana agreed, ‘Schoolis a necessity, like bread.’78 Tellingly, youth of Kosovo is aware where their prioritieslie.While the number of youth enrolled in mandatory primary and lower secondaryeducation has fluctuated slightly from year to year, the number of students enrolled inupper secondary education has increased steadily, as illustrated in Table 1.1.71 IKS Focus Group with students from gymnasium and professional schools in Prizren, 28 April, 2010.72 European Commission Damage Assessment Kosovo, Building Assessment Kosovo, International Management Group, April 2004.73 MEST, ‘Curriculum Framework for pre-school, primary, secondary and post-secondary education,’ Second Draft,Prishtinë/Priština, April 2010.74 MEST, Educational Statistics 2009/10.75 Ministry of Economics and Finance, Central Budget Tables for 2008 and 2009, Budget of the Republic of Kosova for 2010,January 2010.76 IKS interview with Drin, student, Prishtinë/Priština, 7 April, 2010.77 IKS Focus Group with students from gymnasium and professional schools in Prizren, 28 April, 2010.78 IKS Focus Group with high school students in Dragash/Dragaš , 5 May, 2010.www.iksweb.org 27
  31. 31. Table 1. Number of Kosovan students enrolled in education, 2004 to 2010 School year 2004/05 2005/06 2006/07 2007/08 2008/09 2009/10 Primary lower secondary 327,207 322,180 324,618 326,911 322,975 311,744 Upper secondary 60,760 74,781 88,691 90,207 96,172 104,053Source: MEST Education Statistics, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010.Students attending upper secondary education choose between the traditionalgymnasium and vocational school. In the 2008/09 academic year, 41,692 studentsattended gymnasia, the majority of them girls. The same year, 55,073 students wereenrolled in vocational schools with the majority being male.79 Traditionally, gymnasiahave been a pre-requisite for university.80 Although more students have enrolled invocational education training (VET), it has been considered an option for lowperforming students. Many students not accepted into their gymnasium of choice attendvocational school instead.81 Apart from a bad image, there are additional problems withVET education in Kosovo.Vocational schools have been meant to prepare students for the labour market, incontrast to gymnasiums that offered more theoretical education. VET’s are supposed tohave a more practical approach to education, as well as offer business internships. InKosovo, arguably, vocational schools have not been aligned with labour marketdemands. Few such institutions partnered with businesses, and this undermined thepurpose of vocational education. Students completing vocational education could notattend post-secondary vocational education, as it did not exist in Kosovo.82 Thusstudents had to either enter the job market or transfer to the university. More practicaltertiary vocational education like a technical college or university could offer manyyouth additional opportunities.Increased rates of enrolment in higher education have been influenced by shiftinggender roles. Traditionally, the transition rate from obligatory lower secondary school tooptional upper secondary education has been higher for boys than girls. However, girls’rates of continuing education have increased in recent years. While 75.6 percent of girlstransitioned to higher education in the 2004/05 academic year, 80.4 percent continuedon in 2008/09.In some areas of Kosovo, girls remained disadvantaged in accessing upper secondaryeducation. More girls abandoned elementary school in Ferizaj/Uroševac, Malishevë/ 83Mališevo and Dragash/Dragaš than in other municipalities. For example, Anjezaattended primary school in her village in Dragash/Dragaš. Though, only four of thetwelve girls from her class continued on to secondary school. ‘The other girls stay athome because of their families’ mentalities,’ she said. The lack of public transport fromDragash/Dragaš’s villages to the high school caused concern for some parents who79 Statistical Office of Kosovo, Educational Statistics 2008/09, July 2010, pp. 52-53.80 UNICEF – IKS stakeholders’ workshop, Prishtinë/Priština, 13 July, 2010.81 European Training Foundation, ETF Country Plan- Kosovo 2009, p. 5.82 MEST, ‘Curriculum Framework for pre-school, primary, secondary and post-secondary education’ Second Draft,Prishtinë/Priština, April 2010.83 Statistical Office of Kosovo, Educational Statistics 2008/09, July 2010, pp. 38, 64-65.28 www.iksweb.org
  32. 32. worried whether their children, particularly girls, would be safe travelling to and fromschool.84Other youth agreed that poor transportation inhibited many girls from continuing theireducation after primary school, particularly young woman in villages. Hana, an 18-year-old student in Gjakovë/Đakovica explained, ‘Girls from villages decide not to continuesecondary school when they are in the ninth grade mainly because there is notransportation during the wintertime or evening. Parents are afraid to send their girls toschool.85In Mamuşa/Mamushë/Mamuša, some girls did not want to further their education. Forexample, Ahmet explained how her older sister had finished elementary education, butdid not want to attend high school.86 Some of Ahmet’s friends and acquaintances inMamuşa/Mamushë/Mamuša said their parents took them out of school. Still, after oneyear they had convinced their parents to permit them to continue. Seda explained, ‘Mydad did not allow me to come to school. He said, “What will you be if you go to school?Stay at home.”’ Her friend Sibel had a similar experience: ‘My mother did not allow meto go to school. She said that girls don’t go to school. Later my friend came andconvinced my mother to send me to school. My father did not say anything. He wantedme to continue.’87 The focus group participants explained that starting a family wasvery important for girls in Mamuşa/Mamushë/Mamuša. Staying at home and notattending school was considered a sign that girls were prepared for marriage. ‘The yearthat I stayed at home people came to ask me to marry, but I did not want to,’ Sedacontinued. ‘My mother wanted me to get married, but I always refused and told her thatI wanted to go to school. Now that I am in school nobody mentions marriageanymore.’88Attitudes towards education are slowly changing in Mamuşa/Mamushë/Mamuša. This isdue in part to the fact that education has become more accessible. Ali explained, ‘Whenthere was no high school in Mamuşa/Mamushë/Mamuša people had to go to Prizren.Even the number of boys who attended school was not very high. Only five to six boyswould attend school in Prizren.’ His friend Burak agreed: ‘With the opening of the highschool many things changed; the mentality of people changed. More girls go to schoolnowadays.’89In addition to geographical location and access, ethnicity also appeared to be adetermining factor influencing whether youth continued their education after primaryschool. Roma and Romani girls in particular faced challenges in continuing theireducation. According to SOK, Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian (RAE) girls have the lowestlevel of education in Kosovo.84 IKS Focus Group with high school students in Dragash/Dragaš , 5 May, 2010.85 IKS Focus Group with students from gymnasium and professional schools in Gjakovë/Đakovica, 29 April, 2010.86 IKS Focus Group with students of Ataturk High School in Mamuşa/Mamushë/Mamuša, 6 May, 2010.87 Ibid.88 Ibid.89 Ibid.www.iksweb.org 29
  33. 33. Table 2. Number of Kosovan students enrolled in education by ethnicity, 2008/2009 Primary Lower Upper secondary Ethnicity secondary Total Female Total Female Albanian 306,427 147,191 94,572 42,456 Bosnian 3312 1641 1025 419 Roma 1519 685 75 25 Ashkali 3412 1554 203 43 Egyptian 1670 750 89 23 Turk 1618 808 746 348 Goran 960 444 41 6 Source: SOK Education Statistics, 2008/2009Only two of the four girls participating in IKS’s focus group in a Roma neighbourhoodof Mitrovicë/Mitrovica had completed elementary education. One girl had dropped outat various stages. One girl had never attended school; she relied on her friend to writeher name on the participants’ list. The girls explained that they quit schooling becausetheir families felt girls did not need to be educated and because many Roma girls marryat an early age.Adelina did not want to tell her age. She had always wanted to go to school and hadattended upper secondary school after finishing lower secondary school in the Serblanguage. However, she quit after only three months because she was the only Romachild in her class. Roma boys tended to drop out of school because they had to work tohelp support their large families.90Clearly, improved free public transportation for youth to and from school could enablemore young women and men to continue their education. Awareness-raising campaignsmay help address conservative attitudes and encourage youth in general to continuetheir education.Bridge to the future or a stumbling block?In order for education to be a ‘bridge to the world’ for Kosovo’s youth, an effectiveeducational system that enables graduates to continue their studies further or smoothlytransition into the labour market is required. Yet, more than a decade after the conflict,institutions barely provided basic educational infrastructure and continued to face a hostof quality and infrastructural challenges. While educational reforms pertaining tocurricula development and teacher training were underway, much work remained for theeffects to be felt by the average student. Needless to say, education reforms aremeasured in generations and not in individual academic years. This has beenparticularly true considering the challenging task of rebuilding post-war Kosovo’sdevastated education sector. Despite the understandably extensive financial andtemporal commitments required to reconstruct this sector, its present state does not bodewell for the future of Kosovo’s youth. Kosovo’s education sector may well be describedmore as a stumbling block than a bridge to the world.90 IKS Focus Group with Roma youth community in Mitrovicë/Mitrovica, 21 May, 2010.30 www.iksweb.org
  34. 34. While some of the challenges identified through IKS’s research have already begun tobe addressed, the education reform process is still far from producing the desiredresults. Reform efforts have been stretched thin in an expansive sector that requiresongoing investment over a considerable period of time. Current efforts must becomplemented by serious and strategic government commitment, demonstrated toincreasing budget allocation.Additionally, inter-ministerial coordination is crucial. Labour supply, particularly invocational education training, must be synchronized with labour market demands.MLSW should make identifying skills needed in the labour market a priority andsubsequently liaise with MEST to ensure that these needs are reflected in theeducation sector.Finally, as it will be elaborated in the next chapter, promoting foreign educationalexchange for private and public tertiary students and lecturers would accelerateeducation reforms by introducing new methods employed in other countries of theregion and Europe. Additionally, skills and knowledge gained during a semesterabroad would contribute to furthering the quality of current teaching at the universitylevel.www.iksweb.org 31
  35. 35. 32 www.iksweb.org
  36. 36. NO JOBS, NO PERSPECTIVE ‘I think it is very difficult for a young person to find a job, regardless of how qualified he or she is. In Kosovo nothing works without knowing the right people.’ - Drin, 16-year-old student from Gjakovë/ĐakovicaUnemployment is a structural problem with a long history in Kosovo. Even during theheight of Kosovo’s industrialization in the late 1980s, unemployment wavered around36 percent.91 It steeply increased as the Serbian authorities dismissed en masse Albanianworkers from the state-run factories in the early 1990s.92 The factories fell into disrepairand many suffered further destruction during the war. The sluggish post-conflictprivatisation process has since resulted in few new jobs, far from enough toaccommodate the increasing population.In 2009, unemployment continued to plague 45.4 percent of Kosovo’s population.Youth have been among the most affected. The young, working population aged 15 to24 comprised 20 percent of Kosovo’s labour force (48.1 percent) and 73 percent ofthem were unemployed. Such high unemployment rates are unsustainable. Not only ishigh youth unemployment positively related to social instability and higher crime rates,but it also means that youth lack reasons for remaining in Kosovo. As the World Bankhas concluded, ‘Kosovo’s difficult labour market conditions have been especially severefor youth, with obvious implications for social stability.93‘Unemployment in Kosovo is destroying youth,’ said Milot, a 22-year-old studentattending a private university in Prishtinë/Priština.94 His concern was echoed widely byyoung people throughout Kosovo. While youth ages 15 to 24 comprised nearly 20percent of Kosovo’s labour force, they represented 40 percent of the country’sunemployed.95 With a youth unemployment rate of approximately 73 percent, higheramong young women (81.8 percent), Kosovo possessed both the highest unemploymentrate and the highest youth unemployment rate in the region.Finding employment has been particularly difficult for youth because 95.5 percent ofthem have no prior work experience. In a labour market in which labour demand hasbeen very low, insufficient work experience has been a key factor influencing long-termunemployment among youth.96 Long-term unemployment, seeking a job for more than12 months, affected 81.7 percent of Kosovo’s youth in 2009.97Kosovo’s economic growth spurted double-digits after the conflict due to internationalaid and remittances.98 Though, it has decreased to less than five percent since 2005,91 World Bank, Kosovo, Unlocking Growth Potential: Strategies, Policies, Actions, April 2010, p. 12.92 Malcolm, N., Kosovo: A Short History, 1998, p. 429.93 World Bank, Interim Strategy Note for Republic of Kosovo for the period FY10-11, December 2009, p.14.94 IKS interview with Milot Rexhepi, student of political sciences, Prishtinë/Priština, 9 April, 2010.95 World Bank, Kosovo, Youth in Jeopardy: Being Young Unemployed, and Poor in Kosovo, September, 2008, p. iv.96 Ibid, p. 12.97 Statistical Office of Kosovo (SOK), Series 5: Social Statistics, Results of the Labour Force Survey 2009, Prishtinë/Priština, July2010, p.5.98 World Bank, Kosovo, Unlocking Growth Potential: Strategies, Policies, Action, April 2010, p. v.www.iksweb.org 33
  37. 37. further aggravating the labour market. In addition, Kosovo’s economic growth has notbeen reflected in the labour market, which has been characterized by low labour demandand stagnation. With a per capita Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of €1,760, Kosovo hasremained the poorest state in the Western Balkans. In 2010, micro-businesses in low-skilled occupations and low value-added sectors still comprised 90 percent of the weakprivate sector.99 They could neither absorb the backlog of unemployed persons noremploy the steady stream of 25,000 to 40,000 new graduates entering the labour marketevery year.100 In order to decrease the unemployed rate, real GDP growth would have tobe more than six percent for at least a decade, not the 0.9 percent average that existedbetween 2002 and 2007.101This chapter aims at placing youth unemployment at the heart of debate about the futureof Kosovo. It analyses young people’s preoccupation with unemployment and the waysthey find to adapt to it. Further, it considers the impact education has on employmentand the challenges young people face in transiting from education into the labourmarket. The chapter also evaluates youth career strategies and the government responseto high rates of unemployment among youth. At the heart of this chapter lies the corethesis that young people are as much preoccupied with unemployment as adults.Unemployment: Youths’ Greatest ConcernAmong the new entrants to the labour market was Selda, a 21-year-old Turkish studentwho was lucky to have found a job as a translator. ‘Unemployment is a big concern inKosovo,’ she said. ‘All these youth wander up and down the streets; I think that noincentive to work has remained in them.’102 The bleak economic situation has taken itstoll on both youth and their adult counterparts. For years, young people had watchedtheir parents and family members struggle to make ends meet. They were sensitized tounemployment at an early age. Ten-year-old Bert already understood the value ofplanning ahead: ‘Of course school is good for my future, without school I will be on thestreet.’103Like Bert, most surveyed youth ages 10 to 14 identified unemployment (47.3 percent ofrespondents) and poverty (28.2 percent) as the greatest threats facing Kosovo. Incomparison, few youth mentioned other potential threats like corruption (7.4 percent),drug abuse (6.1 percent), organised crime (5.4 percent) and environmental pollution (5.6percent).99 Ibid, p. ix.100 Medium Term Expenditure Framework 2009-2011, 12 June 2008, p.6.101 World Bank, Kosovo, Youth in Jeopardy: Being Young Unemployed, and Poor in Kosovo, September, 2008, p. 2.102 IKS interview with Selda Sylejmani, student, Prishtinë/Priština, 8 April, 2010.103 IKS interview with Bert, Prishtinë/Priština, 9 April, 2010.34 www.iksweb.org
  38. 38. Graph 2.1 Greatest threats facing Kosovo for surveyed 10-14-year-oldsYouth ages 15 to 24 felt similarly; 47.8 percent of respondents named unemployment asthe main threat to Kosovo and 24.5 percent identified poverty. Indeed unemploymentand poverty are related; unemployed people in Kosovo face a higher risk of poverty orextreme poverty.104The risk of being unemployed and extremely poor was particularly high for Roma inKosovo. ‘I started working when I was 13 years old,’ said 22-year-old Armend, wholived in the newly-built Roma Mahalla in south Mitrovicë/Mitrovica.105 ‘First I workedas a loader, and then I did whatever job was out there. Now I dig trenches. I would liketo have a permanent job, maybe as an auto mechanic.’ Armend’s friends and neighboursfaced similar issues. Senad, who dropped out of school after the fifth grade, believedthat ‘poverty and unemployment are the main problems. We need to make our ownliving, and we work wherever we can.’106 His friend Artan explained that dropping outof school to work is typical for Roma boys: ‘Difficult conditions and poverty obligeRoma children to work. Senad, for example, works as a taxi driver. It is difficult tomaintain his family, so he had to drop out of school and start to work. Poverty forcesyoung people to drop out of school.’107Regardless of whether youth were still enrolled in school, already working or seekingwork, they were concerned by unemployment. As Graph 2.1 illustrates, 56.3 percent ofsurveyed youth ages 15 to 24 said they were ‘very preoccupied’ with unemployment,while 31.1 percent were ‘preoccupied.’104 World Bank, Kosovo, Youth in Jeopardy: Being Young Unemployed, and Poor in Kosovo, September, 2008, p. vii.105 IKS Focus Group with Roma youth in Mitrovicë/Mitrovica, 21 May, 2010.106 Ibid.107 Ibid.www.iksweb.org 35
  39. 39. Graph 2.2 Extent to which 15-24-year-olds were preoccupied with unemploymentA statistically significant relationship existed between ethnicity and preoccupation withunemployment. Albanian youth and youth from other minorities tended to be morepreoccupied with unemployment than their Serbian counterparts.108 Whereas 60.2percent of Albanian respondents and 72.4 percent of other minorities stated that theywere ‘very preoccupied’ with unemployment, only 23.3 percent of the Serbian youthstated the same.Even so, in a focus group held with Serb youth in Gračanica/Graçanicë, unemploymentsurfaced as a great concern. Alexander, a student at the University of Mitrovicë/Mitrovica explained: ‘Many generations have been educated in the last ten years, butthey have worked nowhere. They have looked for jobs and they have found nothing.’His colleague Bujana argued that a reason for not finding a job is because they don’tlook for one, especially in Prishtinë/Priština: ‘We have to keep in mind that when youngpeople graduate they do not even think about applying for jobs in Prishtinë/Priština,mainly because, the Serb community is not fully integrated in the larger Kosovosociety.’ Ivan, a 24 year old graduate from the University of Mitrovicë/Mitrovica arguedthat ‘youth who have a university degree would not look for jobs in any Kosovaninstitution because the salaries are very low,’ compared to what the Serbian governmentoffers. According to a recent study on local reforms in Kosovo, public employees in theSerb parallel system receive relatively high salaries: the gross monthly income of €892is much above the typical Serbian salaries of €508.109 When asked if they would want togo work in Serbia, the participants replied that the same situation would await themthere.108 Albanian youth (p = 0.001), Serb (p = 0.01), other minorities (p = 0.011).109 Most of the public employees are financed by three agencies of the Serbian government: Ministry of Education, the HealthInsurance Fund and the Ministry of Kosovo and Metohija. György Hajnal and Gábor Péteri, Local reform in Kosovo: final report/Forum 2015 (ed.) Prishtinë/Priština, Forum 2015, 2010, pp.77-78.36 www.iksweb.org