Finland has supported the development of Kosovo's education sector since the beginning of the 21st century. The fifth Finnish led project, EU Twinning-project "Support Implementation of the Kosovo Ecucation Strategic Plan 2011−2016" has now worked for the equal education opportunities, improvement of the quality of education and for growing the capacity of education sector for more than one year . The main goal of the project is to support the implementation of the New Kosovo Curriculum Framework in schools and municipalities.
The Twinning-project, implemented by a Finnish educational institution Omnia together with an organization KulturKontakt Austria, works in a close cooperation with Kosovo Ministry of Education, Science and Technology. The EU-funded project has a budget of 4 million euros and it will run for 34 months.
The project aims to develop applicable practices for the schools to implement the new curricula. Thus EU has now provided laptops and projectors for the schools and at the moment the Twinning-project experts are holding trainings in information and communication technology (ICT) for teachers in 134 schools.
The Embassy of Finland visited Mihail Grameno-school in the municipality of Fushë Kosova, where a new ICT-device has been put into operation. Mr. Imad Kawani, an expert of the Twinning-project is now training the teachers for the use of the ICT in teaching.
The School Principal Ismet Gashi tells us, that there are more than 1700 pupils studying in this school. The number of the teachers is 70 and the administrative staff consists of him and one secretary. The pupils are studying in two shifts and usually there are close to 40 pupils in one classroom. Clearly there is a need for information technology to ease off the work load.
A training hold by Mr. Kawani starts with a group work of practicing how to connect a laptop and a projector. When the projectors are working, the training continues with the use of Windows 8 –operating system, Power Point, Word and Excel. In addition a guiding video for the use of these programs is saved in all of the computers, so that the teachers can also practice later.
In the training only three teachers out of 12 are men. This is typical in the Kosovar primary and elementary schools, when at the same time only one third of teachers in upper secondary schools and universities are women. Kawani commends that this particular group of teachers is quite advanced in ICT. Yesterday in another school he had to start the training from the very basics, how to turn on and off the computer.
Kosovars are pretty active users of internet, compared to the other countries in the region. One reason is the active communication with diaspora via internet. Nevertheless the utilisation rate of ICT for educational purposes is still low.
Selvide Ahmeti, Saranda Berisha and Ismete Shabani have all worked as teachers for more than 10 years, Shabani for more than 25 years. Ms. Berisha, the youngest of the three, tells that she uses ICT for teaching every day. She shows educational videos and cartoons for the children and plays music via internet. The problem is that the projectors have not been installed to the classrooms yet. Mrs. Ahmeti and Mrs. Shabani on the other hand only use ICT for scheduling and administration. Nevertheless all three of them seem excited to learn.
Providing ICT for the schools in Kosovo is crucial, because the text books are out of date, outmoded and don't embrace the learning. In addition it is hard to find any materials for the language minorities in their mother tongue. The extraordinary world of internet provides more options for the teachers and a chance to develop their teaching methods.
The Embassy of Finland has also supported smaller education projects through Local Fund for Cooperation. At the moment the Embassy is supporting a two-year project implemented by Kosovo Association for Promotion of Inclusive Education (KAPIE). The goal of the project is to improve the possibilities of disabled children to attend education. A project of the Ideas Partnership -organization aims to prevent the school drop-outs of girls as well as Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian children..
The Embassy has also embraced the importance of physical training and sports as part of the education by supporting a project Sport4Youth implemented by Sport sans frontières. In addition the Embassy is also trying to improve the connections between the vocational education and labour markets through supporting Active Labour Market Programme enforced by the UNDP.