Albanian academy still lacks power of the purse

September 26, 2003

Albania is to begin the academic year with a new higher education act. But the legislation fails to give universities the right to manage their own money, seen by many academics as one of the major constraints on their freedom.

The act was drafted by the government to incorporate in a single piece of legislation the various changes introduced since the fall of communism.

But academics saw an opportunity to get a stronger grip on funding and opposition MPs took up their case. Parliamentary debates on the bill became so contentious that, realising that they would be defeated, the opposition parties boycotted the vote. The bill passed with the votes of the ruling socialist party alone.

Albania's state universities are funded from the state budget, which gives each university an annual sum with strict constraints on how it is spent.

Only a small percentage is left for universities to spend as they please.

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