The EU twinning project in education organized its first conference on “High Quality Education for the 21st century”. The conference was held on March 12th 2015 at the Economic high school “Hoche Kadri Prishtina”, in Prishtina. More participants than expected took part in the conference which was a very positive sign. The purpose of the conference was to raise some discussions on the quality of education. It provided Dr. Arsim Bajrami, Minister of Education, Science and Technology a forum to present his strategies on how high quality in education can be ensured. In addition, representatives from both Finland and Austria shared their examples of the education system.

The conference was opened by Dr. Bajrami together with Mr. Samuel Zbogar, EU Special Representative, Mrs. Anne Meskanen, Head of Mission, Embassy of Finland and Mr. Christian Geosists, from the Austrian Development Agency. Each of them emphasized the importance of the quality of education.

Dr. Bajrami’s key message in his opening speech was the importance of education in order to build a young country like Kosovo. Education is one of the highest national priorities Kosovo has at the moment, and there has been and will be more investments in schools so youngsters can start planning their carriers at an early point; also, teachers need to get high quality pre-and in-service training. In addition, Mr. Bajrami pointed out that a country can be strong only if the education is good, therefore the quality of education is vital.

Dr. Arsim Bajrami, Minister of Education, Science and Technology

Mr. Zbogar was of the same opinion and underlined the importance of openness for new ideas and for students to receive relevant information for the labour market. He also spoke about the greater autonomy that the new curriculum brings to schools.

In Mrs. Meskanen’s speech the emphasis was about every individual’s right for equal opportunities. Investing in education is the most important investments for a country. The quality of education is not in papers and reports, but it is what happens in the class rooms and what the pupils learn. Mrs. Meskanen brought also up sports which not only is her own passion, but an important part of education; young people learn key values such as honesty, teamwork, fair play, adherence for rules and how to deal with competition. Mr. Geosits was on the same line with Mrs. Meskanen and said that the quality assurance is delivered in the class rooms. However, individuals should and must be pushed in order to deliver results.

Mrs. Tracy Burns from the OECD held a speech on different trends that shape education. The trends she brought up were not directly about education, but there is a possibility that they have an impact on both teaching and learning. Especially the social media trend is a highly considerable trend in education, because it has changed the way people interact, but at the same time schools have not changed.

Twinning Project Leader Mr. Sampo Suihko, Deputy Mayor and Head of Education and Cultural Services, City of Espoo held his presentation trough a pre-recorded video which can be found under the link: http://twinningedu-ks.org/web/video-gallery/. In his presentation he spoke about the Finnish Education System, and particularly about the education in the city of Espoo, which among other things provides equal opportunities for each individual and is free of charge. The key words for the Finnish education system are quality, equity, efficiency, and internationalisation.

Another speech about the Finnish education system was held by Mrs. Marja Matero, who has been working as an expert in the Twinning project. Mrs. Matero spoke briefly about the Finnish experiences in developing the education. The basic idea of the Finnish education is equality and the high quality in all Finnish schools. There are only a few private schools, and most of the pre-university teaching is organized by municipalities. Mrs. Matero said that in curriculum work it is important to have a broad and open debate about what kind of expertise is required from the citizens. Therefore cooperation between schools, municipalities and representatives of the State is important. Universities and other representative’s stakeholders take also part in the discussions.
assurance is always in process.

The conference brought up some interesting questions, and discussions were lively. Leadership and management trainings, and teacher trainings are continuing as well as the work on the field on quality education. During these activities these issues will be brought up. The next Twinning conference has been planned to be organized in autumn 2015.

Mrs. Anne Meskanen, Head of Mission, Embassy of Finland

 

Dr. Bajrami together with Mr. Samuel Zbogar, EU Special Representative, Mrs. Anne Meskanen, Head of Mission, Embassy of Finland and Mr. Christian Geosists, from the Austrian Development Agency. Each of them emphasized the importance of the quality of education.