By Ilda Hoxha – September 12, 2022

The issue of school shifts in Tirana has not yet been resolved, although this was promised 5 years ago by Mayor Erion Veliaj. This year, the situation seems even more worrying, as parents tell Faktoje that their children have to stay in class until 19:00. A few days ago, even Prime Minister Edi Rama publicly admitted that some of the schools in Tirana still do not meet the standards because of the schools having to work in shifts. Mayor Veliaj, on the other hand, promised again, on the first day of school, that he will build new schools in the capital .

Five years ago, Mayor Erion Veliaj declared that there would be no more shifts in schools in Tirana.

“We will start 16 more schools to make sure that we finally put an end to school shifts in the city of Tirana“, Veliaj emphasized in September 2017.

But how is the situation this school year? Faktoje spoke with parents of children in several schools in Tirana, “Emin Duraku”, “Edith Durham” and “17 February” school in Qesaraka.

It seems that the situation this year is even more problematic, especially for the students of “Emin Duraku” school in the former Blloku area and “17 February” school in Qesaraka, since the children have to stay in class until 19:00.

“My child is in the second grade and has to be at school in the evening. Is it normal for a 7-year-old child to leave school at night?! The afternoon shift bothers me a lot, because there is nowhere I can leave my child in the morning. Both  my husband and I are at work”, says the girl’s mother worriedly. My son, on the other hand, she says, is in the 4th grade. She further adds that this is because the construction of the new school in the Fresk area is not yet completed.

The same concern is shared by the mother of two children at “Emin Duraku” school. “I have two children at ‘Emin Duraku’ school and they have currently moved to the premises of ‘Vasil Shanto’ school. My son finishes school at 18:10, while my daughter at 19:00. For me as a parent it is very difficult to manage to take them to school and pick them up afterwards. The only way I can do this is give up my job completely, and just take care of my children, because there is no one available to help me at such times. Seven o’clock in the afternoon is too late. Now that winter is starting, it will be a big problem for me as a parent, but also for the children”, says E.M., the mother of the two children.

In December 2019, the parents of “Emin Duraku” students requested the school reconstruction, since the building had suffered great damage due to the tragic earthquake of November 26.

Parents let us know that even at “Edith Durham” school, lessons will continue to be held in shifts. Grades 3-4-5 (9 to 11 years old) will have their classes in the afternoon, during 12:30-16:35.

Faktoje sent a request for information to the Municipality of Tirana on September 12th, asking, among other things, how many of the schools in the capital are working in shifts. We are expecting the municipality to respond within the deadline for the right to information.

Request for information sent to Tirana Municipality, September 12th, 2022

In March 2021, Prime Minister Edi Rama vowed that in the third term, there would be no school shifts.

“The third mandate will finally put an end to the two-shift schools caused by the lack of classrooms in Albania”, Rama emphasized a year ago.

However, in September this year, the head of the government admitted that some schools in Tirana still do not meet the standards, as they still have to work in shifts.

Meanwhile, on the first day of school, the mayor of Tirana, Erjon Veliaj , spoke again about 12 new schools in Tirana, but the shifts phenomenon is again back this year.

A year ago, Faktoje raised the concern of school shifts, a problem which seems likely to continue for several years.

Experts say that school shifts are not productive, because children are tired by the time they go home in the evening. Parents, on the other hand, have to work in the morning, so they cannot help them with their homework.

About 450,000 students, including 70,000 in kindergartens, 280,000 in the 9-year education and 100,000 in seconday schools, started school this Monday, and a good part of them are still doing this in shifts.