Earlier today, a representative of pedagogues from the University of Tirana held a meeting with the Minister of Education, Besa Shahini, regarding their demands.
This evening, however, the deadline that teachers have set for the government to abolish the Decision by the Council of Ministers expires. The same deadline that accompanies the University Pact.
The meeting, which lasted 90 minutes, was simply referred to as "consultative" but "without any solution" according to Professor Mark Marku. He stated:
“We discussed the situation in the University system and held conversations about the demands that the Assembly of Tirana discussed in their meeting.
“There was no concrete attitude. In general terms, the Minister tried to turn the discussion into an ineffective discussion. We discussed a lot but did not agree on anything.
“We talked about problems but did not receive concrete answers. The Minister does not have the will to respond appropriately to the situation in which the university is stuck,” said Marku.
Marku said professors will wait until later this evening to hear a solution by the Minister, otherwise, they will assemble a meeting with Assemblies to decide on how to proceed further.
“We will wait until evening; if we do not have an answer, we will address ourselves to the academic body for a general strike,” stated Marku.
University instructors have warned of going on strike if their requirements are not met.
Meanwhile, after meeting with the pedagogical representative, Minister of Education, Besa Shahini, has come out in a statement to the media to express her stance public.
Shahini said the boycotts and ultimatums are not needed as the government is focused on Higher Education. She stated:
“I think that in order to move forward, the empowerment of the existing democratic structures in Universities is the best way to involve pedagogues in the discussion and to resolve some of the issues they've rightly underlined but the solution is not always there, but often within the University.
“I invited these pedagogues over to explain to them the University Pact. We shared different opinions, but we are nevertheless convinced that we share a common goal: improving education in Albania.
“They listened to me and I listened them even though we did not agree in the end. But I think this is normal.
“It was a meeting that served to remove a series of misunderstandings that some of the lecturers had for the University Pact. We will continue to listen to everyone, but we will also continue to lead.
“The majority of pedagogues and students are supportive of the University Pact. They are participants in the dialogue we have started and are bringing us suggestions on how to improve this document, which then will become a governmental contract between government, academic staff and students to advance the best ideas for Higher Education in Albania.
“During these meetings we are also designing infrastructural needs in concrete projects that will subsequently result in improved University infrastructures.
“I do not believe the boycott and ultimatums are the necessary tools in this period when all our attention is paid to Higher Education and we have started a genuine process of dialogue.”