I studied economics, so naturally the changes I would like to see in Kosovo are related to that field. I would like to change the existing curricula in the education system to update them and better connect them with labor market demands and economic needs. Such a change in the long run would positively effect the economic development of the country.
New knowledge has been produced and is constantly evolving, so the changes in the education system –– in Kosovo and beyond –– must be constantly evolving as well.
Technological advancement has brought about the information age and has enabled students to interact with other students from around the world and understand how learning processes are shaped beyond borders.
At the same time, this technological development has led to teachers not possessing up-to-date knowledge on the subjects they teach. It has also led to changes in teaching methods, creating the need for teachers to take on the role of critical trainers, who, in addition to teaching students, guide their career choices and encourage them to critically assess information.
Although in Kosovo there is not enough research on the public education system and its effectiveness, one thing is obvious –– this system is quite old and traditional. It does not meet the needs of students and does not orient the workforce towards the current demands of the labor market.
Of course, improving teaching standards and curricula will be challenging, especially due to the large difference between the public and private levels of education in Kosovo. For example, in public primary and secondary schools, the old education system is still oriented mainly towards the primary and secondary sectors of the economy (raw materials and basic manufacturing) while neglecting the training that would ready Kosovars for advanced service jobs in the tertiary sector, or, the “subjects of the future,” especially subjects related to information technology (IT) and communications.
In public schools, students up to the sixth grade are usually more focused on natural sciences and theoretical lessons, which are impossible to apply in practice. Of course, in some private schools there are courses that focus on training students in the field of IT or programming, but not everyone has access to such schools.
Another major problem that students face is the current grading system, which assesses students’ intelligence based on exam papers that ask highly specific questions. This is unfair for students who are good in their overall performance but not so good in specific questions.
The negative effects of this form of assessment and grading creates conditions where most students focus more on grades, either learning theory by heart or cheating, than on truly comprehending the material.
Furthermore, the education system in Kosovo focuses heavily on theory and hardly at all on practice. The best way to change this system is to add subjects related to technology or other professional subjects, where the possibility to do real-life practice is much greater. An updated education system would encourage youth self-employment, especially given the unemployment rate of youth after graduating.
It is imperative that the teaching curricula be oriented towards jobs in the tertiary sector which would bring new innovative ideas and create new centers for research and development. In this way, employment would be increased and new small local start-ups would be encouraged where young people could develop further and put their ideas into practice.
The education system in Kosovo must change. This system should give students an equal chance to thrive. Kosovo needs to abandon old and traditional ways of learning, as well as improve teaching standards so that young people can be employed when they finish their studies and fulfill their dreams and goals.
Feature Image: Arrita Katona / K2.0.