COVID-19 initiates innovation in the education sector

Prishtina, October 23, 2020 – In addition to stagnating the development of economic activities, the COVID-19 pandemic has also caused major disruptions in the education system in Kosovo, which may affect the labor market as a key part of the economy in the near future. The digitalization of this sector, the various challenges in teaching and learning, as well as the overall impact of the pandemic on different levels of education were some of the topics of discussion during the virtual forum organized by the American Chamber of Commerce in Kosovo, regarding education in the face of the pandemic.

Gjeni Shporta, Country Representative at the American Councils for International Education, and Member of AmCham Board of Governors, as well as moderator of this forum, highlighted the importance of education as a fundamental human right, adding that any situation that leads to the collapse of education will stagnate the advancement of mankind, therefore this issue must be treated with added caution.

Visar Jasiqi, Chief Development Officer at RIT Kosovo, shared the experience of this institution during this time, thus emphasizing that within its emergency plan, RIT was committed in not only retrain the academic staff for lecturing virtually, but also in organizing workshops for students, so that they could adapt to the new learning procedures more easily. Jasiqi stated that the use of various digital platforms has greatly facilitated the process of distance teaching, learning, and testing. According to him, a positive benefit from this situation has been the opportunity to change the education process through the widespread use of technology, hence offering new opportunities for Kosovo to attract students from other countries.

Vildane Kelmendi, Program Director at Cacttus Education stated that this institution has taken all the necessary measures for lecturing remotely, through digital platforms which enable the recording of lectures, thus creating the opportunity for students to access them at any time. Kelmendi stressed that as a result of the temporary closure of jobs and public spaces, a positive increase in commitment to education has been noticed, leading to higher results for students. Further, she stated that following the alleviation of anti-pandemic measures in Cacttus Education, the teaching processes are being held in a combined manner, fully compliant to the guidelines from health institutions for the preservation of collective health and overall well-being.

Shemsedin Vehapi, Vice Rector of AAB College, stressed that given the number of students and educational programs this college offers, the pandemic has spurred the transformation of classical educational processes into digital ones, as well as the incorporation of innovation. He also stated that some of the measures taken to ensure the continuity of learning have been made possible thanks to prior developments of technology and the utilization of the existing internal platform at AAB. Vehapi added that higher level education is more easily adaptable to such challenges, stating that the greatest difficulties have been encountered by the lower levels of education, since according to him, dynamic interaction within the classroom is extremely important, although rendered near impossible by distance learning.

Ilirjana Imami, High School Principal at the American School of Kosovo (ASK) stated that although this period has been challenging, ASK had already been in the process of integrating technology into teaching since long ago. Imami also stated that transforming the classical teaching process into a remote one has brought the need to reform the methods of teaching and testing so that students are able to develop their critical thinking and are able to apply the knowledge acquired during their lessons in day to day life. She added that plans have already been drawn for situations such as this pandemic, and learning processes are continuing to adapt to the new reality.