Classroom in a Primary School in Prishtina

Kosovo School Year Starts Amid Turmoil Over Missing Textbooks

The collapse of government deal with the publishers over textbooks means the school year is starting in Kosovo this Friday with parents having to buy them privately.

After failing to reach an agreement with publishing houses, Kosovo’s Ministry of Education has decided to not purchase textbooks for the new school year but to instead reimburse parents for them on an online platform.

By August 31, according to Minister of Education Arberie Nagavci, who shared the update on Facebook, 81,000 people had received a reimbursement for their children’s textbooks.

“The total number of applications until now [August 31] is over 115,000 and the rest [of the reimbursements] will be done with the next group,” Nagavci wrote on Facebook, explaining that 75 applications had contained mistakes and that the “parents will be notified”.

Applications for reimbursement will be open throughout September. The government has allocated 13 million euros for the program. Students from first to fifth grade are entitled to 80 euros per student, and those from the sixth until ninth grade can get 30 euros, as they are using books from the previous school year.

The opposition has criticized the government for not being able to purchase the school textbooks, claiming that is the second year, during Albin Kurti’s government, that the school year has started with complications.

Avdullah Hoti, MP from the opposition Democratic League of Kosovo, LDK, and a former PM, wrote on Facebook on Thursday: “Last year the government was at war with the unions and lost many weeks of classes. This year the issue with the books will make it impossible for the school year to start properly”.

In 2022, more than 320,000 Kosovo pupils started school a month late, in October instead of September 1, due to a strike by teachers attempting to force the government to offer an additional pay rise at a time of high inflation.

Lumir Abdixhiku, head of the LDK, claimed that parents and legal guardians will face “unnecessary obstacles” that include “waiting in queues, going from one library to the other and applications for reimbursement”.

Kosovo media reported that publishing houses claimed that they had offered a cheaper price than the previous year for most books – or the same price as is currently on the market at the moment.

01/09/2023 - 14:37

01 September 2023 - 14:37

Prishtina Insight is a digital and print magazine published by BIRN Kosovo, an independent, non-governmental organisation. To find out more about the organization please visit the official website. Copyright © 2016 BIRN Kosovo.