By Ilda Hoxha – September 11, 2022

The new school year will start with used books for thousands students in the 9-year elementary education system. This concern was recently raised by the Freedom Party through teacher Miranda Rira. The same information is confirmed for Faktoje by parents of basic education students. They told us that they are wandering around the doors of bookstores, looking for new textbooks.

The Freedom Party, through teacher Miranda Rira, stated that the students were provided with old used books.

“This is an Albanian Language Book that is already destroyed. The text is completed with a pencil or pen and most of the pages contain not only notes, but also teacher’s comments and evaluations … So, if the minister talks about free education, I would tell her: What free education are you talking about? These old free books are completely useless. How can a 3rd grader learn with used books like that? Parents have no choice, but buy new ones.” Rira declared on September 9.

Screenshot, third grade Language test, denounced by Mrs. Rira

The reaction of the Freedom Party representative came two days after a statement of the Minister of Education and Sports, Evis Kushi, who posted the following:

“This school year demonstrates our commitment to provide free school books to all children in basic education fromthe first to the ninth grade . Beneficiaries of this Government support scheme includes also all students of special categories in the secondary education”, emphasized Kushi.

Screenshot of Minister Evis Kushi’s post

But, how is the situation with books on the eve of the start of the new school year? Faktoje talked to parents, who confirmed that they are wandering around the doors of bookstores to buy new books for their children, since they cannot use the textbooks they were given for free. According to the parents, the books are scribbled, damaged and it is difficult for the students to clear them all and reuse them.

“We are looking for new books for children in bookstores. We cannot use the old books, because they are already used. It is impossible for the child to erase what other students have written on it last year, and even if he does, the trace will still be there. This actually harms the child, because if he has the exercises already done for him, he will lazy and will not learn anything”, says the parent of a fourth-grade child in one of the public schools in Tirana.

Another parent adds: “The teacher has sent us a message, informing us that we can go to the school to get used textbooks for free. It’s up to you if you want to buy them new.”

Books given to students for free for the school year 2022-2023

The problem of used texts was raised as a concern by Faktoje in July. Faktoje reported that basic education students will again get used books, even though the 2021-2025 government program foresees the provision of new books for free. This was confirmed by parents of students in some 9-year schools in Tirana, and the General Directorate of Pre-University Education itself. Last year, which coincided with the general election, the government generously distributed free books to students up to the 9th grade. However, according to the official response from the General Directorate of Pre-University Education to Faktoje, the books that are distributed for free to basic education students will be reused for up to three years, depending on the condition of the texts, thus deviating from the 2019 Decision of the Council of Ministers which determines that students from grades 1- 5 must have new texts in use.

In August 2020 , Prime Minister Edi Rama announced that primary education classes from first to ninth would be provided with free books.

Based on the verification carried out, we decided to categorize the statement of the representative of the Freedom Party, Rira, as True.