Albanian axe hangs over a degree of error

March 29, 1996

Albanians whose degrees include dissertations on "socialist" subjects under Communist rule may have them cancelled under a review by the State Academic Qualifications Commission.

Subjects at risk are reported to include the dictatorship of the proletariat, class struggle, "violent collectivisation", the fight against religion and the writings of Communist ideologues - Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin and former Albanian leader Enver Hoxha.

But unlike those some other Central and East European countries, degrees in Albania did not bring with them an automatic right to such fringe benefits as extra living space or "creative leave".

The government has instructed the qualifications commission to allow former students to present new dissertations so as to win back their lost qualifications.

This suggests some interesting recycling. In many post-Communist countries, lecturers in "scientific atheism" switched overnight to teaching history of religion. Will Albanians manage to win back degrees with dissertations on "the errors of collectivisation" or "the crimes of Enver Hoxha"?

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