Pristina University talks fail to happen

July 30, 1999

Talks between the rectors of the universities of Pristina and Belgrade to discuss the terms for reopening Kosovo's university failed to take place last week, fuelling anxieties that students will have nowhere to study in October.

Belgrade says the university should employ Serb and Albanian professors, but in reality this would be almost impossible.

The few Serb students left are barred by the Belgrade government from moving to other Serbian universities, but are unlikely to want to study in Pristina.

Meanwhile, the British Council has commissioned Lynn Davies, professor of international education at Birmingham University, to review Kosovo's education system.Baroness Kennedy, chair of the council, held talks this week with Macedonia's president, prime minister and ministers to assess how the council could help regenerate the region.

Council official Anne Wozencraft said: "Macedonia is the key to the region and we want to expand our operations there. We have secured more funds to strengthen our operations in southeast Europe." Plans include good governance programmes and strengthening key universities, but Ms Wozencraft said they needed "even-handedness" between the communities.

This week an Association of European Universities working group, with representatives from World University Service Austria, Council of Europe, European Commission, Austrian ministry of education and National Unions of Students in Europe, met in Pristina to discuss options for the university and establish a basis for European support.

Helena Kennedy, page 9

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