Albania: Report on the Struggle against neoliberal Reforms of Universities

Report on the Struggle against neoliberal Reforms of Universities in Albania

The following report was sent to the global ISM fb page on behalf of 'Per Universitetin' (translated: 'for the university'), an education movement in Albania.

First off, some information on who we are.
Per Universitetin is a movement composed of students, professors and other people who are eager and devoted to work for a free and emancipatory higher education. Our mission is to protect and to empower public education in Albania. We have seen that public universities are being damaged by the policies that intend to turn the university into a corportate entity and the student into a client. Differently from many youth groups in our country we are totally free and independent as we have not accepted funding from many actors, that is why till now we have operated on a fully volunteer basis.
There is a group of organizers who is responsible for organizing the activities of the movement, planning the strategy, coordinating the work with other agents of society (like workers, miners ect). The organizer group is composed mostly of students, but there are also several professors and some people from outside the university involved.

During the last three years we have organized student meetings, manifestations and protests against several reforms due to take place in higher education in Albania. Recently we held a student public meeting in front of the prime minister office.

We are protesting against new neo-liberal reforms, concretely trying to ...

  1. cut down the public funds for public universities in Albania,
  2. make the public funds available for private universities (which are completely uncontrolled),
  3. establish an administrative board in each university, which will be responsible for the policy of the university, the budget ect.

I am sending you some of the photos from our last manifestation (June 2, 2014) in front of the prime minister office. We would like to make them public so students in other countries can understand that the phenomenon of privatization of public universities is an international one.

So far we haven't experienced any form of violent repression, but I think that in the future there will be some efforts to damage our activities (we have experienced that 2 years ago during our activities with another group, protesting for the same reasons). Our activities are mostly concentrated in the capital (Tirana), but our members and activists come from all the cities in the country. Starting from October (the beginning of the new academic year) we will undertake some campaings in order to create small groups in other cities and continue with our struggle.

We hope we can create a good relationship with the international student movement.

Greetings from Albania.
Alban - representativ of the movement