National Resource Centre for Civil Society in Albania Workshop: EU vision for knowledge and skills – opportunities for education and youth in Albania, 30 May 2024

On May 30, 2024, at the premises of the Musine Kokalari Library, Tirana, the workshop within the National Resource Centre for Civil Society was held. The theme for this workshop was “The EU’s vision for knowledge and skills – opportunities for education and youth  in Albania”, where EU integration experts Elda Zotaj and Nirvana Deliu were invited to discuss about the topic. The experts provided a detailed overview of the priorities in the fields of education and youth in the framework of the accession process and negotiations for Chapters 25 and 26. They emphasised that the EU integration process is focused on developments in the field of education, taking into account the youth policies of the European Union. Also, Zotaj during her presentation assessed the importance of the European Qualifications Framework for the approximation of educational standards and the upgrade of  the quality of education and professional training in the country.

Nirvana Deliu, Project Coordinator, European Movement in Albania, started off the workshop by providing detailed information on Chapters 25 and 26, providing a clear overview of the legislation within the EU and the main objectives of these chapters. She continued her presentation by focusing on the progress of the negotiations made for these chapters in Albania, mentioning the challenges and achievements so far, and noted that in order to achieve full harmonisation with EU standards, it is essential that the country improves its policies and practices in science, research and education. Deliu concluded her presentation by emphasising an important aspect, such as the involvement of non-state actors in the consultative process for negotiations, where she highlighted that this involvement, made possible through the Partnership Platform for European Integration, ensures a more transparent and comprehensive process, giving the opportunity to these actors to contribute to the smooth running of the process by their expertise and ideas.

Elda Zotaj, EU integration expert, discussed a number of important topics related to developments in education and youth policies in the context of European integration. She began by analysing the efforts to synchronise joint actions in the field of education and emphasised the importance of the Bologna Process, focusing on the innovations and challenges that this process presents to the regional countries. Zotaj emphasised that the “philosophy of lifelong learning” is a key component that has a very positive impact on the personal and professional development of individuals. Moving on to youth policies, Zotaj highlighted that the EU has a special focus on young people across Europe, which is clearly reflected in the EU Strategy on Youth. She explained that the European integration process has significantly influenced the steps taken by Albania to develop and improve its youth policies, putting the emphasis on the importance of harmonising a common qualification structure. In this context, Zotaj regarded the support and approach to professional education, which she described as an European vision for training and a better connection with the labour market. She elaborated also the Albanian context, explaining how these policies and approaches help to train human capacities and re-integrate them into the labour market. She concluded her presentation by highlighting that these elements are essential for the further development of educational and youth policies in Albania, contributing to a more successful and sustainable integration in the European Union.

Through this workshop, the experts made sure that the participants expanded their knowledge window with information given about Albania’s integration process, not only by informing them but also by discussing with them about the Albanian and European reality. The participants shared their opinions on the issues addressed, as well as their perspectives on the current journey of Albania accession and the role of youth in this process and what the future will hold for these target groups. The questions and discussions were extended around all the issues addressed during the workshop, thus deepening the information received.