EDIT NIKOLLI

The new academic year was scheduled to start on 2 November. However, just three days before its commencement, the government announced that all students would start online university classes, until further order. Despite this, many faculties of Tirana University, even these days, get crowded with students, which would have partly been avoided, had the highly necessary university portal, particularly during this pandemic time, been operative for thousands of students attending the six faculties of Tirana University.  A good many students protested outside of the Ministry of Education as the decision to return to online classes is penalizing them.


Despite the decision taken by the government a few days ago aiming to contain the coronavirus, the first day of the new academic year did not see students in the auditoriums, or online. Instead, today, numerous students were seen queuing in the faculties, while other groups of students were protesting outside the Ministry of Education.

Faculty of History-Philology, University of Tirana

Students protesting outside the Ministry of Education, Sports and Youth – 02.11.2020

This is another academic year during which the students have to deal with an out-of-order University Portal, which was supposed to provide students with a range of online services such as, registration for exams, grades’ announcement, registration for resit exams or registration for rescheduled improvement exams, as well as grade average and credits calculation, etc. Nevertheless, even during this pandemic year with a rigorous protocol for social distancing in place, the portal is out of order.

The University Portal out of order

As long as it was operative, each of the students used a personal code to log in to the portal from where they could manage their respective studies, classes and subjects related data. During this pandemic year, this was a necessary means, but yet inaccessible. In addition to issues and irregularities in exams or registrations, a student is required to pay a fee of 200 ALL for a grades’ list apart from having to wait a few days before receiving it. Even to receive an exam grade, a student has to wait for the lecturer or queue outside the faculty secretariat. This poses a two-fold risk and consequence, both for students as well as for the staff.

E.M, a second year master student in the Faculty of Philology gave “Faktoje” this statement:

“During my bachelor studies period, I used the portal, where I had the possibility to obtain various pieces of information about exams and grades as well as about other university announcements. Now, in the higher university years, we have recourse to the secretary for these activities, where we have to queue which is not quite favorable for us students who also work.”

However, in the other public universities, this online service is accessible, such as in the University of Shkodra, the Agricultural University of Tirana, the University of Elbasan and the University of Vlora.

Online portal at the University of Social Sciences in Shkodra

Beyond the inaccessible portal issue, on the first day of the academic year, a number of students talk about the existence of other issues as well, now that the government postponed the return to the auditorium.

They demand reduced tuition fees and reimbursed dormitory rents and fees. Meanwhile, students from families in need, feel that distance learning penalizes them, as they have no opportunity to buy digital devices, or as they live in areas which are not covered by the internet. Students also demand free internet packages.

Even in previous “Faktoje” articles regarding the online classes functioning in faculties, it turns out that a good number of students did not have the possibility to attend online classes and to participate in online lectures for a variety of reasons such as lacking internet at home or high price internet on mobile phones.

Students protesting outside the Ministry of Education, Sports and Youth – 02.11.2020

Students of vocational schools, such as the “Culinary School”, also feel penalized, and they state:

“How do I learn cooking online?!”

Also, medical students wrote on their banners:

“We do not want online surgery in the future.”

Students protesting outside the Ministry of Education, Sports and Youth – 02.11.2020

According to education expert Ndriçim Mehmeti, the closure of auditoriums is not the solution.

“We have noticed poor online classes’ participation even during the previous year. Professors have stated that out of 150 students, only 15 have participated in online lectures. Therefore, there is a variety of reasons that make us doubt that this year won’t just be difficult, but it will also be a failure. In addition, considering the countries in the region and in Europe, such as Germany, Austria, Portugal, Serbia and France, despite the quarantine, schools continue to function normally. Albanian students seem to have the same wish, continue studying at the university, they do not wish for its closure!”