chapter  4
30 Pages

The establishment of Albanian parallel education in Kosovo

The resurrection of the Albanian-language education system in private houses enabled, though belatedly, the start of the school year for Albanian pupils and students in January 1992. Acceptance of Serbian terms for education was a precondition for Albanians to access education facilities. The relocation of the education system by Albanians into private space ensured continuity of education in Albanian in Kosovo on Albanians’ own terms. The re-created Albanian education in houses, workshops and cellars came to be known in Albanian as arsimi paralel, or parallel education. It was the cause that galvanized the entire Albanian community in Kosovo into action, while triggering its unprecedented homogenization. Uniformity of national action was inspired not only by defiance to the Serbian policy; it was also reinforced by sanctions meted out to the members of the Albanian community who dissented from the national cause. Albanian parallel education in Kosovo emerged as an embodiment of the Albanians’ peaceful resistance, and an argument used to prove the existence of the Albanian independent state in Kosovo. The notions of resistance and statehood it symbolized contributed to its successful launch. However, the combination of these two notions also gave rise to an ambiguity that strained its functioning. This chapter describes the re-establishment of Albanian-language education in Kosovo, and provides an overview of the types of segregation in educational institutions in Kosovo. It goes on to analyse the sources of national solidarity, but also of internal pressure within the Albanian community. Finally, it looks at the mechanism of financing the parallel education system, and its ramifications.