The draft of the Kosovo Law on Higher Education classifies the University of North Mitrovica as a public Kosovo institution of higher education. The votes of at least four deputies representing the Serb community in the Kosovo Assembly are required in order for this law to be adopted. This draft, which was proposed in November of last year, was discussed in early March in the assembly education committee in Pristina, in which Srpska Lista MP, Verica Ceranic is also a member.
The University of Pristina with temporary headquarters in North Mitrovica is the only higher education institution in the Serbian language in Kosovo and it functions within the Serbian system. Most faculties of this institution were relocated to North Mitrovica in 2001.
The government in Pristina considers this institution illegal, and the new draft Law on Higher Education seeks to classify this higher education institution as an „autonomous public institution of higher education established by law no. 03/068 on education in the municipalities of the Republic of Kosovo and law no. 03 / L-040 on Local Self-Government“.
The draft law further stipulates that the statute, organization, and internal procedures of this institution function „in accordance with the central legislative framework of the Republic of Kosovo“.
Kosovo Minister of Education, Shuqyri Bytyqi told KTV that this draft law envisages a number of changes on which the quality of higher education, both public and private, will depend on.
Bytyqi added that he „will not give up on the University of North Mitrovica because it is unreasonable that an institution in Kosovo continues to function according to the Serbian curriculum“.
Due to the boycott of the MPs of Srpska Lista, however, the Kosovo Assembly cannot decide on the draft law on the higher education in the first reading, KTV reported.
The President of the Committee for Education within the Kosovo Assembly, Ismail Kurteshi told KTV that the committee passed this draft law to the Parliament a month ago, but that “this and many other laws remain on the sidelines due to the depravity of Serbian MPs.”
Kurteshi added that Serb MPs „are not ready to put the University of North Mitrovica under the administration of Kosovo institutions“.
Over 7,000 students at the University of Pristina with temporary headquarters in North Mitrovica
According to the official information of the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Serbia which KoSSev received earlier this month, the University of Pristina with temporary headquarters in North Mitrovica has 7,354 students, as well as 829 teachers and 335 non-teaching staff.
Pristina’s plan on the integration of „the University of North Mitrovica“ exists since 2015
The Government of Kosovo adopted a document on „Procedure for Applying for Posts in the Institutions of the Republic of Kosovo for Members of Minority Communities with Degrees Issued by the University of North Mitrovica“ in 2015, which, as they explained at the time, was „a temporary-interim measure of integration by which the diplomas received by the citizens of the Republic of Kosovo will become valid for the purpose of applying for jobs in public institutions, and in the expectation of full integration of the University of North Mitrovica within the Kosovo legal framework.“The aim of this document was the integration of the University of Pristina with temporary headquarters in North Mitrovica into the Kosovo system of higher education.
The Student Parliament of the Faculty of Philosophy of the University of Pristina with a temporary headquarters in North Mitrovica then denied these allegations and condemned the statements of „political representatives of provisional institutions in Pristina who are announcing the integration of the University into the education system of the non-existent Republic of Kosovo“.