The importance of the policy dimension in the ARISE: Action for Reducing Inequalities in Education, as well as the Policy Coalitions (PC) established in AL, BA, MK, SR and TR. In this article, the Policy Coalition (PC) established in Kosovo within the ARISE project will be presented.
The Policy Coalition was formed through an application process that ran in June 2021 moderated by the Kosova Education Center (KEC), ARISE project coordinator.
Based on the analysis from national policy reports and policy briefs on equity and education conducted within the project, Roma, Ashkali, Egyptian communities, people with special needs or low SES background are recognized as vulnerable groups that are at risk of discrimination, exclusion and poverty in Kosovo. Risk of vulnerability is especially higher for people from rural areas, women, children, unemployed and ethnic minorities. Even though legal framework is in place, sufficient implementation of existing policies is lacking. Urgent issues that arose during the analysis are: limited financial and human capital, lacking monitoring mechanisms, parental engagement and teacher professional development.
In order to tackle these issues, KEC opened the Call for national Policy coalition addressed to experienced stakeholders, from policy and practice. Finally, the Call resulted in gathering about 15 representatives from different levels of government (national, local), CSOs and schools.
As discovered in the national report, the right to education and development of a child’s full potential is one of the fundamental rights and as such is guaranteed by the Constitution of Kosovo. To this end, Kosovo’s legal framework envisions and supports a comprehensive approach, which combats dropouts from compulsory education and ensures equal access to education regardless of ethnicity, gender, race, economic status etc. However, despite the fact that such measures are rooted in the constitutional and legal framework, there is a large gap between policy development and policy implementation.
Several challenges were identified that hinder the implementation of policies:
- Lack of accountability and monitoring mechanisms to ensure proper implementation of policies at national, local and school level;
- Low budget for education and inefficient allocation of resources;
- Lack of professional services (psychological and pedagogue) at school level in supporting students’ ability to learn, succeed academically, socially and emotionally;
- Dysfunction of school governing bodies, namely steering council, parents’ and students’ councils;
- Lack of teacher professional development programs to acknowledge student identities and different ways they learn best.
Setting the Goal
The kick-off meeting of the National Policy Coalition of the ARISE Project was held on in November 2021 with the aim of introducing the ARISE project, presenting the findings from the National Report on reducing inequalities in education, and outlining the role of the National Coalition. In this meeting, representatives from Ministry of Education, Science, Technology and Innovation – MESTI, local organizations and interested parties formed the National Coalition of the ARISE project. At the same meeting, key objectives were identified on different levels:
O1. Enhancing capacities of teachers to enable inclusive environment in schools
O2. Fostering the monitoring and mentoring mechanisms to support implementation of policies at the local level
O3. Advancing school environments to support inclusion (School values, attitudes and behavior)
O4. Empowering the school mechanisms (School governing board, parent council and student council)
O5. Supporting schools to use planning tools / advance SDP that includes addressing of low SES needs
O6. Increasing capacities for advocacy towards national and local institutions
Main Policy goal set, with the intent to address the identified key issues is:
Ensuring coordination of the existing mechanisms at the local level to address the need of low SES children.
Members of the National Policy Coalition decided to further promote the conclusions of the National Report and to remain steadfast in their commitment to advocating for them as well as to work on key issues identified within the Policy Coalition and set policy goal.
Participating in addressing issues on policy level is an important way to help build a more peaceful, and equitable society. My motivation and the mission of the NOPM organization is to encourage public engagement in decision-making procedures, the upholding of human rights, and the democratization of society, as well as to foster peace and combat ethnic discrimination.
Besime Tusha, Network of Peace Movement, Executive Director
Students from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds are among those potentially most vulnerable to dropout and non-enrollment. Consequently, our organization must advocate for these students by initiating various initiatives related to educational equity, educational policy, and poverty.
Regjë Mulaj, Vision-02, Executive Director