Student protests in Albania also highlight women's struggles

"We have a patriarchal society in which women are highly oppressed already, and when you add the high cost for studies, women become the biggest victims of this law." Female student activists fight for better conditions in Albania's student protests. 

Editorial Team
Editorial Team NewsMavens, Europe
Student protests in Albania also highlight women's struggles - NewsMavens
Student protests 2018 in Tirana. Protesters in front of the Ministry of Education and Youth, Wikimedia Commons

Why this story matters:

“You are millionaires, with villas and cars. I won’t pay for you anymore – and nor will my family!” Students in Albania remain vocal in their opposition to the country's government. 

Students in Albania have been protesting social inequalities and the high expenses of education since last December and the protests look set to continue into 2019. Their demands include cuts in student fees and more support for public universities, and less for private ones. 

Because so much of the protests are focused on the high cost of education, women have been among the loudest voices raised in protest. According to a student interviewed for the article recommended below, the reason is simple:

 “Higher fees for studies affect girls most, because if the fees rise, in a family of two kids, with a boy and a girl, the boy will always will get the advantage,” she adds.

The protests have had some effect, as there has been a cabinet reshuffle in December that resulted in the dismissal of Linda Nikolla, the education minister, and several other ministers as well, were dismissed. However the students are calling for Prime Minister Edi Rama's dismissal as well.

Rama is feeling the heat as he did agree to rescind the decision to increase higher education fees. But his critics say that his efforts to appease the protesters remain insufficient and unclear.

Details from the story:

  • Student protests in Albania have successfully pressured the current government by calling for cuts in student fees, increases in the state budget for public universities and less state support for private ones.
  • Their ultimate goal is to bring about the abolishment of the Law on Higher Education that came into force in June 2015.
  • 50 staff members at the Faculty of Social Sciences have signed a declaration in support of the students.
  • One reason students funding private institutions is that private universities receive state benefits in research, and high-achieving students at private universities receive scholarships funded by the state budget. However, conditions at public universities continue to remain poor.
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