Pre-university education system.
Based on law on pre-university education the pre-University education system in Albania includes the following education levels:
- Preschool education [Arsimi Parashkollor] (KNSA 0, age 3-6 years): Pre-school education includes kindergartens and preparatory classes. The latter can be established as separated settings or as classes within the primary education schools. To be noted that nurseries which cover the age group 0-3 years is not included under the education system, but under the care system governed by the Ministry of Health and Social Protection and administered by the Municipalities.
- Basic education [Arsimi Bazë] (KNSA 1, age 6-10 years; (KNSA 2, age 11-14 years): Basic education lasts 9 years and it includes primary education [arsimi fillor] (KNSA 1, age 6-10 years) and lower secondary education [arsimi i mesëm i ulët] (KNSA 2, age 11-14 years). Primary education consists of five classes 1-5. Lower secondary education consists of four classes 6-9. Basic education is mandatory and should be attended full time.
- Upper secondary education [Arsimi i Mesëm i Lartë] (KNSA 3, age 15-18 years). The upper secondary education (KNSA 3) consists of 3 classes. The types of upper secondary education are the gymnasium (general higher secondary education), the vocational upper secondary education and oriented secondary education (artistic schools, sports schools, foreign language schools etc.). It usually includes the age group 15-18 years however students, who have reached the age of 21 and have not completed the gymnasium, are allowed to attend the gymnasium part-time or remotely.
Governing institutions of pre-university education system
The governing institutions in the area of pre-university education are presented below:
- The Ministry of Education and Sports (MES) [Ministria e Arsimit dhe Sportit]. MES responsibilities for pre-university education are: preparation of legal acts and bylaws in the educational system; implementation of the National Strategy of Education; quality evaluation of the educational service based on indicators; audit of legal implementations and the use of funds in educational institutions; drafting and implementing policies for the professional development of education employees and accreditation of training programs; providing professional support from specialized local or foreign institutions, for research and experimentation in the field of education; cooperation in the field of education with line ministries, local governance units and other governmental or non-governmental organizations, domestic or foreign; publication of the progress report in the pre-university education system for every academic year.
- Agency for Quality Assurance in Pre-University Education [Agjencia për Sigurimin e Cilësisë në Arsimin Parauniversitar]: Areas of responsibility of this institution include: guaranteeing and evaluating the performance of the public and private pre-university education system; curriculum development and professional development of employees in public and private pre-university education; quality assurance in public and private pre-university education. Functional responsibilities of this institution are: organizing the work for performance evaluation of pre-university education system (both public and private); organizing professional development and qualification of the education employees in both public and private pre-university education institutions; monitoring quality assurance and evaluation of public and private pre-university education institutions as well as their curricula; ensuring the development of the curricula in pre-university education system (public and private.
- General Directorate of Pre-university Education [Drejtoria e Përgjithshme e Arsimit Parauniversitar]: In February 2019, the Council of Ministers approved the creation of the General Directorate for Pre-University Education (GDPE). It is a structure dependent from Ministry of Education and Sports tasked with: monitoring evaluation and inspection, collection and processing of statistical data; implementation of curricula and standards; collection of technical assistance in schools, employment of teachers and coordination with local authorities.
- Center for School Leadership (CSL) [Shkolla e Drejtorëve të Arsimit Parauniversitar] was established as a result of the cooperation with the Albanian-American Development Foundation (AADF), to support the professional development of in-service and aspiring principals/vice principals of public or private pre-university educational institutions. It administers the Compulsory Training Program (CTP), the certification process and provides on-the-job continuous professional development training. In addition, the CSL in collaboration with other educational institutions in Albania is tasked to improve the school leadership policy and standards, and periodically assesses the needs for training and offers continuous professional development. Moreover, the CSL leads and develops scientific research related to the school’s principals’ professional development, as well as develops projects that support the quality of service delivery in the pre-university education institutions in Albania.
- Center for Educational Services [Qendra për Shërbime Arsimore]: CES is responsible for the development, administration and analysis of national and international test results. In particular, CES is responsible for the state matura, conducting national and international exams, state exams for regulated professions, and administers the state education database.
- National Pre-University Education Council [Këshilli Kombëtar i Arsimit Parauniversitar]: This institution is an advising organ of Minister of Education and Sports. It provides opinions on the drafting of national legal framework and strategies on pre-university education. It also may provide opinion on other specific issues by request of the Minister.
- National Council of Parents [Këshilli Kombëtar i Prindërve]: Based on pre-university education law this council is and advisory independent body representing parents at national level.
Vocational Education and Training
In terms of VET organization within the framework of this chapter it should be mentioned that VET schools are part of upper secondary education system in Albania.
Governing institutions of VET system
In terms of governing institutions of VET system the following can be mentioned:
- Ministry of Finance [Ministria e Financës]: Through its Directorate of Employment and Vocational Skills Policies, is responsible for the national policy designing the development of the legislative framework and supervision of its implementation. It shares competences with Ministry of Education and Sports only concerning organization of State Matura Exams for secondary VET students.
- National Agency for Vocational Education and Training and Qualifications (NAVETQ) [Agjencia Kombëtare për Arsim Profesional Trajnime dhe Kualifikime]: NAVETQ is a public institution, financed by the State budget, under the responsibility of the Ministry of Finance, established in 2006. NAVETQ is the institution responsible for the development and implementation of the Albanian Qualification Framework (AQF) and quality assurance in VET as defined in the respective sub-legal act. Its mission is to create a unified national system of vocational qualifications based on the AQF that supports the alignment of training programmes to the needs of the labour market. In order to do so, NAVETQ as an AQF implementing institution for VET, is responsible for the development and revision of the National Classification of Occupations (based on ISCO -08), the occupational standards, qualifications and assessment standards and national frame curricula for the levels 2-5 of the AQF, the accreditation of VET providers and organization of continuous professional development measures for VET teachers and instructors. NAVETQ shall also provide the Technical Secretariat for the future Sector Skills Committees.
National Employment and Skills Agency [Agjencia Kombëtare për Punësim dhe Aftësi] is a public institution, financed by the State budget, under the responsibility of the MFE . NAES has been given a new / extended responsibility with the VET Law which is to support the management of all public VET providers (VET schools and VTCs) to improve their service provision through regular monitoring and management by results. In addition, NAES has been responsible to conduct the Skills Needs Analysis since 2010 on a two-year basis.
In terms of organization of higher education please refer to chapter 7 of this national description for more details. In this section we are only briefly mentioning the types of programmes offered by higher education institutions in Albania.
- First cycle programme
- Short cycle programme
- Second cycle programme
- Third cycle programme
Governing institutions of the Higher Education System
Based on the law on higher education, the following authorities are responsible for higher education policies in Albania:
- Ministry of Education and Sport (MES) [Ministria e Arsimit dhe Sportit] is responsible for drafting policies in the area of higher education and scientific research and for approving respective strategic plans in this regards.
- The Council of Higher Education and Scientific Research [Këshilli i Arsimit të Lartë dhe Kërkimit Shkencor] is an advisory body for the policies of higher education and scientific research, subordinated to the minister responsible for education.
- Conference of Rectors [Konferenca e Rektorëve]: The Conference of Rectors is a collegial, independent body, composed of the heads of higher education institutions. The Conference of Rectors is responsible to carry out activities of coordination and development of higher education and scientific research and gives recommendations related to higher education issues of national interest. It maintains links with peer associations for the promotion of university exchanges that help the advancement of higher education and scientific research. The Conference of Rectors operates on the basis of the statute approved by two-thirds of its members.
- Agency for Quality Assurance in Higher Education [Agjencia për Sigurimin e Cilësisë në Arsimin e Lartë]: The Agency is responsible for quality assurance in higher education, monitors and evaluates the quality of the institution and the programs offered. AQHE supports its activity in the Higher Education Quality Code, which is updated with European Quality Standards and Guidelines (ESG).
- Accreditation Board:The Accreditation Board is established at the Agency for Quality Assurance in Higher Education. The Board is a collegial decision-making body and independent in its activity. The Accreditation Board consists of foreign and domestic experts, personalities in the field of higher education and quality assurance and the mandate of its members is 4 years. The main responsibility of the Accreditation Board is to make the final decision on the accreditation of higher education institutions and the study programs they offer. Also, the Accreditation Board approves, at the request of the HEIs, the realization of the external evaluation by one of the member agencies of ENQA.
- Education Service Center [Qendra për Shërbime Arsimore]: CES has as its responsibility the provision of services in the field of higher education and the provision of public access to data on higher education. The object of activity of CES is the provision of services to citizens, HEIs, other institutions and third parties. Some of the services provided in higher education by CES are: diploma recognition level 5-7, the secretariat for the recognition of stiencific degrees and academic titles, registration of the forms of diploma, issuing the matriculation number for the students, issuing the official register HEIs for regarding students data, organization of state exams for regulated professions.
- National Agency for Higher Education Financing (NAHEF) [Agjencia Kombëtare për Financimin e Arsimit të Lartë]: The main responsibility of this institution is distributing public funds for: supporting the activity of public institutions of higher education, with regards to teaching, scientific research and participation in academic and administrative management issues; supporting with scholarships excellent students, students in study programs in priority fields and students in need; guaranteeing the student loan scheme.
- National Agency for Scientific Research and Innovation [Agjencia Kombwtare pwr Kwrkim Shkencor dhe Inovacion]: The main responsibility of NASRI is to distribute funds for scientific research programs, based on the projects submitted by higher education institutions and scientific research institutions in the fields of natural sciences, engineering and technology, medicine, agriculture, social and humanities. NASRI identifies the priority areas of scientific research, technology and innovation, as well as evaluates at the national level the programs and projects in the aforementioned areas
- Albanian Academic Network [Rrjeti Akademik Shqiptar] (RASh): This institution is a structure established after the higher education reform of 2015 and its activity directly affects the implementation of policies related to scientific research and cooperation between higher education institutions. RASH was created by decision no. 88, dated 14.2.2018 of the Council of Ministers "On the establishment of the Inter-institutional Center of the Albanian Academic Network (RASH)" and aims to: development and promotion of research-development and innovation projects in the field of information and communication technology (ICT) for education and science; the creation of the infrastructure for the establishment of a joint interdisciplinary research and development center (ICT) by the participating HEIs or third parties; coordinating the participation of local researchers in the European research project GÉANT and other projects in the field of information and communication technology (ICT), an integral part of the European framework program for research, development and innovation; development of software programs and provision of relevant services for the ministry responsible for education, dependent agencies for higher education and scientific research, institutions of higher education, scientific research and innovation and for the entire membership of RASH.
This type of education is merely offered at pre-university education level. According to the Law on pre-university education in home conditions (home education) shall be provided in exceptional cases including blood feud, illnesses or other circumstances that obstacle children from attending school. Home education can be provided for the entire forms of initial education or for some of them.
Students taking compulsory education at home undergo the same exams as students in primary education and follow similar assessment forms. In order to complete nine years obligatory education they should complete the respective final exams [provimet e lirimit].