All children residing in the Republic of Albania that belong to the age group 6-16 years old have the right to attend basic education which is obligatory. Those that do not finish in time basic education may follow it on part time basis. Schools that offer this type of education are the following:
- 9 years integrated schools [shkolla 9 vjeçare]
- Institutes and Centers [Institute dhe Qendra] that offer lessons at basic education level for children with limited abilities
Basic education institutions are located in the whole territory of Albania.
Admission Requirements and Choice of School
Basic education [Arsimi bazë] starts at the age of six and has a duration of nine years. It is compound by two cycles initial education [Arsimi fillor] classes 1-5 and lower secondary education [Arsim i mesëm i ulët] classess 6-9. Citizens that are over 16 years old but did not complete education at normal schools can finish it in part-time schools.
Basic education including both cycles is provided also in special schools for students with limited abilities. Based on their state they can choose to follow education on special schools or in common ones. Both types of education are taught within the same school.
In regard to other provisions related to this type of school to ease accessibility children and staff who reside more than 5 km from respective education institution are provided with free of charge transportation. The costs for this and organization are competences of local governance units.
Registration of pupils in the first grade of public schools is organized during the two last weeks of June. In the first six days registration of pupils that belong to the area/neighbourhood where the school is located have primacy in legislation. When the distance of the residence of the pupil is even the parent chooses the school where the pupil shall be registered. In the following four days also pupils that belong to schools of other areas are entitled to register.
The documents for registration of pupils in the first grade of basic education include birth certificate of the child, statement of vaccination from the healthcare center, the report from the oculist, the address of the child, the statement that he/she has followed kindergarten on respective groups (optional). In specific cases where the parent wishes to register where the parent that wishes to register the child in the first grade but does not possess birth certificate or birth statement registration is still possible likewise with kindergarten.
In regard to public schools that offer basic and lower secondary education (9 years schools [shkollat 9 vjeçare] parents cannot choose on the school but in principle they should register the children at the school nearest to their residence. Nevertheless, this criteria is not strictly applied in reality. In private schools parents are free to choose which school suits best to their children.
It is very rear to expulse children from basic education or from lower secondary education. However, based on the law the pupil can repeat the class if he/she does not pass with successful results more than 70% of the subjects or if he/she fails to attend without a reason (i.e. medical report or other official justifications) over 20% of the hours of a specific subject. Nevertheless, in most cases of such issues they are mitigated between the teachers, the child and the parent and then the final decission is made. There is no right to appeal to any such decision and no case of going to court for any expulsion at this level is known so far.
As mentioned above school coverage covers all parts of the teritory of the Republic of Albania for the level of integrated primary and lower secondary school. In cases where children reside more than 5 km away from their school.
Age Levels and Grouping of Pupils
In basic education in both primary and lower secondary cycle is done in classes. Pupils in classes I-III (primary cycle) belong to the age group 6-9 years old while pupils in the second cycle belonging to classes IV-IX belong to the age group 10-16. Basic education is divided into III classes while lower secondary education is divided into 9 classes. From class I to IV there is one teacher teaching for all subjects. In classes IV-IX there are different teacher teaching the different subjects of the respective curricula. It may be nevertheless that a teacher who teaches math for instance at lower secondary level (classes IV to IX) teaches also physics for the same class in some cases.
Based on the respective guidance the number of pupils per class in basic education (i.e. classes I to IV) is no less than 10. There are two parallel classes where the no of pupils is 11-25 (i.e. two classes I or II or so on). There might be 3 or more parallel classes where the number of students per that class in the school is 26-40.
In lower secondary education (classes VI-IX) the minimum number of students to have a class is 10. There are two parallel classes where the number of students is between 11-25 and three parallel classe where the number of students is 26-40. Where the number of given classes exceeds 40 people for a given level (ex. class VI) additional classes are founded for that level.
Organisation of the School Year
According to the law on pre university education and its ammendments, the Duration and organization of the school year is done by Guidance of Minister of Education Sport and Youth. These guidances define the timing and structure of each level of pre-university education including also basic education and lower secondary education. School year usually starts in September and ends in June. The school is organized into semesers divided by summer and winter holiday. School year organization for each school year is done by respective order of Minister of Education, Sports and Youth.
Organisation of the School Day and Week
The school day at basic education starts at 8 a.m and finishes at about 13 P.M. Some times in crowded schools lessons take place with two shifts. The duration of a lesson hour is 45 minutes with 5 minutes breaks between hours. The
The information on the organisation of the school year (starting date as well as end of students' and teachers' school, dates of holidays) is annually updated by the National Units in the publication “Organisation of the school time in Europe. Primary and secondary education” (available on the Eurydice website).