Poor working conditions, insufficient space, reduced hours and work in shifts, transportation of students, delivery of books is some of the burdens on the education in central Kosovo, KIM radio reported.
However, the quality of children’s education depends mostly on the teachers, agree the participants in the education debate held at the Civic Energy Center in Gracanica (CEC).
Ivan Nikolic, a mathematics teacher at Elementary School in Gracanica pointed to an increasing trend of students leaving for Serbia.
One of the reasons to it, Nikolic sees in education as well.
“I think that fewer students enrol in secondary schools, and that after the primary school, an increasing number of students enrol in high school somewhere in central Serbia.”
However, the larger number of students who remain and study in the territory of Gracanica Municipality face poor working conditions.
Nikolic says that there are hardly any elementary conditions, the school works in three shifts, the classes are reduced from 45 to 40 minutes.
“The education system is good, but it is being implemented slowly. We work in difficult conditions, we work in several shifts, and shortening of classes to forty minutes has significantly affected work. Even though, it’s 5 minutes, that diminishes our work because we lose ten areas in the classroom during that period.”
Gordana Toskic Nicic, a biology teacher and former director of the Department of Education in Gracanica Municipality, says there are gaps in education and that it can always be better.
“The future is in these children we educate. It’s like medicine, mistakes are unacceptable,” Toskic said.
She stressed the need to create technical conditions for the education of children. She pointed to inadequate space, lack of a cabinet for work, but most of all to the transportation of students.
“I think the conditions are very low. I do not mean the quality of education itself, the teaching staff, but these technical conditions, such as going to school, returning from school. I think that these buses for children are not safe enough, they often break down, and that the time when they go to school is abnormal. How a child can function in the morning at half past seven. If he/she gets up at 5 am in the morning, and at half past six she/he already gets on the bus, travels an hour to school and very often arrives late, the first class already starts, they need to include in the lecture, they need to warm up if it is winter because the child got frozen at a bus stop, and not I don’t even know if there is heating in the buses,” says Gordana Tosic Nicic.
Director of the National Library based in Gracanica Brankica Kostic believes that nepotism in schools is one of the main problems in education. She stressed that there must be greater control when hiring educational staff.
“I believe that in order to improve the level of education and to provide as much as possible to our children, we need to have good communication between school and parents and social institutions, including the civil sector. We have to seriously enter into these changes of consciousness to believe in both and parents and children, but of course and to get rid of nepotism that has far-reaching consequences and takes its toll,” Kostic said.
The director of the Library, otherwise a professor of Literature, pointed to the constant problem with the distribution of books.
“We have been having a problem of books deliver for six years.”
Regardless of the problem with the distribution of books, Kostic said that the Library was well-supplied and that it had books in PDF format, and that there was great interest throughout the summer, especially for school-age children.
Schools in central Kosovo also have problems with distribution of books. Ivan Nikolic said that free textbooks for the third child and the socially disadvantaged have not yet arrived at Primary School in Gracanica.
Director of the Department of Education in the Municipality of Gracanica Brankica Nicic did not attend the debate, although she was invited by the organizers.