Social segregation – an issue in the Albanian schools

Albania has one of the highest levels of social segregation in schools out of the whole of the Western Balkans and Eastern Europe, according to a new UNESCO report entitled ‘All Means All’.

The report analyses 30 education systems from across the Western Balkans, the former Yugoslavia and the former Soviet Union. It was produced by the Global Education Monitoring Report at UNESCO, the European Agency for Special Needs and Inclusive Education, and the Network of Education Policy Centers and focuses on how children from minorities including ethnic, national, and sexual, fared at school.

It found that those with disabilities were likely to be completely excluded from mainstream education with little attempts to meaningfully include them.

10% of Albanian students said they felt like outsiders when they attended school. Failures to include mentions of minorities, LGBTI or those with disabilities in any curriculum meant that students did not feel represented.

By far the most vulnerable and marginalised group in all countries surveyed was Roma. Around 60% of roman, Ashkali, and Egyptian youth in the Balkans do not attend secondary school, the report found. It also noted that they were disproportionately diagnosed with intellectual disabilities.

While some efforts were being made across the region, the report found that all countries had instances of separate educational institutions for certain groups.

Infrastructure conditions are also unequal within countries. Potable water, adapted sanitation and hygiene are not ensured in remote rural schools of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Mongolia, the Republic of Moldova, Romania and Tajikistan. Inadequate sanitary conditions and lack of changing rooms can lead to harmful school experiences for girls. 

In Turkey, there was no mention of women’s rights and gender equality content was removed from the curriculum.

The report noted that the situation is being made worse by COVID-19 as those from economically unstable backgrounds or ethnic minorities were less likely to be able to continue with online learning.

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