The profession of political science scholars in Albania. Experiment and uncertainty about the future
Professions vs degrees: the balance. And future of “trendy” studies in Albania
Research Paper (postgraduate) 2014 13 Pages
This paper addresses the misbalanced rapport between the “trendy” university supply during the last decade in Albania (political science and international relations) and the real demand of the labor market. The massive stride towards these professions was made without having quality counseling information on their perspectives and employment opportunities. Public and university institutions preferred the quantity and appearance of the studies, considering the quality supply and the studies’ content as secondary. Part of this study are tests carried out on 4-5 generations of “trendy” sciences alumni, who have completed their studies and have been facing the labor market for several years. The conclusions of this test, which was carried out for the first time in Albania, constitute valuable information for the public, universities, youth and their families.
Considering the above-mentioned phenomenon as a transition phenomenon taking place in the majority of former communist countries, this study puts forward experiences and makes comparisons and concrete suggestions for the Albanian case. Its thesis supports the slogan: “professions, no diplomas”, and suggests pursuing studies in technology, information technology, natural sciences, service sector domains etc.Through the current balance and successful models applied in any other country similar to Albania, this study emphasizes the responsibility for a long-term career orientation program for the youth in making their profession choice, and a university system moving towards the long-term labor market needs in the country. It concludes by stating that this process requires an essential reformation of the public information system, an active and public partnership between university institutions and potential actors in the labor market, as well as periodic public reports that analyze the developments, expectations, suggestions and tendencies in the future decades.
Keywords – university supply, labor market, university counseling, political science
Trying to create a new identity and to comply with the requirements and needs for time university education system in Albania was involved in a deep legal, structural and programmatic reform. Part of new developments was the slaughter of the traditional myth of the communist era that some professions are a privilege only to a minority of citizens, such as legal sciences, philosophy or diplomacy. Breaking the myth was associated with liberalization and massive of these professions and consequently, a quantitative overproduction of full-time or part-time degrees, while the need for lawyers and experts remains vital at all levels of government and public life in Albania.
Part of this quick opening and unprogrammed process also became the new professions, such as political science and international relations. Previously unknown, considered luxuries only for a minority estimated as worth cards for social status and provided as investment with quick profits on the career ladder, these professions became trendy and demand for thousands of youth throughout the country. Because in Albania still had not such branches of study, a relative number of youth benefited from the opportunity to apply to universities in other countries, while in 2000 opened the first branch of Political Science at the University of Tirana.
With about 35 students that year’s rate ended a training gap in the Albanian education system over a century. Last Albanians who studied Political Science were those who studied in the Ottoman, Austro-Hungarian, French and Italian universities in the period before the creation of the state or before World War II. Another generation of young men was sent to the BRSS and the countries of the former east communist, where the studies were based mainly in Marxist-Leninist philosophy, i.e. ideological studies. Such studies were applied after 1952 in Albania in the University of Tirana within the faculty of law and political science.
During the 90s part time studies in political science were part of the integral program of Philosophy and Sociology at the University of Tirana, while in 2000 was officially legalized the particular branch of Political Science. After a few years the section became a department and it continues to have this status even now (2014). During 14 years of research in this branch are graduated 11 generations of students, initially with the 4 years system and then with the new three-year system followed by master studies.
With the establishment of the structure in UT began the period of private projects, which, in 2005-2006 had a significant quantitative development by transforming Political Sciences and International Relations at one of the most preferred and frequented branches by youth generations. Struggling to find an exact number of all students who graduated in Albania since 2000 in Political Science is difficult. MASH doesn’t have complete data, universities have nonpublic information, other sources of study or qualifications are completely out of the informative system. Some students have changed several universities during their studies; others have changed the branches of study or have chosen to continue their studies abroad, etc.
A rough calculation that is based on free quotes in public universities and the data gathered in the confidential ways by other public universities and the Ministry of Education and Sports shows that over the years have studied or continue to study in Political Science more than 2500 students, a relatively high figure for Albania. About 800 others appear to be part of studies in International Relations and two times more part of studies in the subdivisions of Political Science, primarily in Public Relations, Political Journalism, Economics or Regional Politics.
The number of people investing in these areas is higher if we calculate the youth participating in the private and public vocational training, mainly from the Political Academy and Diplomatic Academy, national, party, private or interstate, a large part of which is unknown from the state and is part of the speculative business of transition in the field of education and vocational training. According to MASH “in the sector of private universities dominate programs that include Social Sciences, Economics and Justice, including programs like: law, economics, business, management, political science, sociology, psychology, journalism, international relations and some other programs. This group makes about 63-64 % of the total number of students that study in private universities. The branches of technical sciences and information technology occupy 8.6 %; health, which includes: nursing, pharmacy, dentistry, laboratories and technicians, occupy about 23 %; education sciences occupy 1.5 % , while tourism and services account for about 4 % " ( Tafaj, 2013).
Public universities which have decided quotas in Political Science are University of Tirana and the University "Alexander Moisiu" in Durres, whereas in universities or private universities quotas are determined by non-financial offers and marketing practices. Quotas to public universities remain almost the same during the academic year, and in other public universities the practices of transferring and recruitment of students continue publicly during the whole academic year. On both sides of the growth curve and magnitude has reached its maximum and is currently significantly declining. Consequently, in some of the universities or nonpublic universities mentioned above have already happened closure processes of studies in political science, of any profile in master or merging them with other branches, to enable operation of academic years and of studying classrooms.
According to official data from the Ministry of Education and Sports in Albania Political Sciences are a licensed branch to be applied in at least 15 universities or non-public universities. The mos important public universities for this are those of Tirana and Durres, followed by some private universities, which have combined studies in Political Sciences with other branches or sub-branches, such as public communication, international relations or political administration. As indicated by the illustrative table, Political Sciences have an experience of over 10 years, but their top were recorded at the end of the second decade of transition. The first private university that won the right of studies in the field of Political Sciences was University of New York in Tirana, followed by ZKM, Vitrina, Kristal, UET, etc..