Government of Italy and UNDP embark on a new partnership to support higher education reform in Albania

Oct 20, 2016

Students of Tirana University

Albania’s Ministry of Education and Sports, UNDP and the Government of Italy signed a new project in support for the Higher Education Reform. The ceremony was attended by Albania’s Minister of Education and Sports Ms. Lindita Nikolla, Italy’s Ambassador to Albania Mr. Alberto Cutillo, UNDP Country Director Ms. Limya Eltayeb and the Director of the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation Mr. Andrea Senatori.
The project aims to establish an advanced - qualitative and competitive higher education system in the country that equips students with the adequate knowledge and relevant skills. The project is financially supported by the Government of Italy with a cost sharing contribution from the Government of Albania.
The Project has two main pillars:
•    Provide Legal / Policy Framework support to the Ministry for implementation of the Higher Education Reform. Interventions include preparation of secondary legislation, institutional strengthening as well as policy support
•    Service orientation and engagement with project beneficiaries through surveys, youth platforms, consultations and innovative user-feedback mechanisms

The Minister of Education and Sports Mrs. Lindita Nikolla, underlined: “The Albanian Government is very grateful for the support and assistance provided by the Government of Italy in several directions. We are grateful for their outstanding contribution in the area of higher education- especially for solutions and technical assistance provided through the university centres. Let me, at the same time  express my appreciation for UNDP which provided the preparatory assistance through legal expertise, which made it possible for us to address some of the challenges concerning the bylaws of the new law on higher education.”

The Ambassador of Italy to Albania Mr. Alberto Cutillo  said” Today's event marks the successful completion of an intensive joint work among Albania, Italy and UNDP to launch a facility to assist the Ministry of Education’s efforts in taking the higher education system and research in Albania to the European standards. I am confident that the Project will provide high quality assistance and expertise to the Ministry of Education, also thanks to UNDP Albania, which has a remarkable experience of pool-funding initiatives. “

UNDP Country Director Limya Eltayeb outlined UNDP’s vision for the creation of a functional skills development system in the country. Ms.Eltayeb emphasised : “The ultimate objective of our efforts should be the creation of a graduate work force with adequate skills that facilitate a smooth entry into the labour market”.

Albania’s higher education underwent dynamic changes especially after 2007 when the sector was liberalized. The reform of Higher Education is top priority for the Government of Albania.  The Higher Education reforms aims to  increase the quality of education through improvements in teaching standards and conditions; 2) increase  the quantity and quality of personnel; 3) improve infrastructure; 4) update curricula and quality control as per European standards; 5) coherence of strategies, curricula and education programmes with the private sector to better respond to the labour market needs; 6) expansion of post-secondary education according to specific needs and regional developments; 7) strengthening institutional capacities and increasing the autonomy and self-governance of higher education institutions.
The Project will last until the end of 2017 and will be implemented in partnership with the Ministry of Education and Sports.