CHE5: Macedonia recognizes Albanian-Language University

Harold F. Schiffman haroldfs at
Wed Aug 4 14:25:39 UTC 2004

>>From the Chronicle of Higher Education issue dated February 13, 2004

Macedonia Recognizes Albanian-Language U.

Macedonia has recognized a nine-year-old private university that teaches
in the Albanian language, in a step intended to remove a major source of
conflict between the country's two main ethnic groups.

The decision, made last month by the parliament of the former Yugoslav
republic, means that Tetovo University can operate legally for the first
time since it opened amid protests and clashes with the police in 1995.
Tetovo, the main town of the ethnic Albanians who make up about a quarter
of Macedonia's population of two million, is located 25 miles west of the
capital, Skopje.

The decision follows years of intensive international efforts to prevent
Macedonia from being dragged into civil war, a fate that beset Croatia,
Bosnia, and Serbia after the breakup of Yugoslavia in 1991.

One of the ethnic Albanians' grievances was the government's de facto ban
on higher education in the Albanian language. Although some small
teacher-training programs provide instruction in Albanian, Macedonia's two
public universities -- in Skopje and Bitola -- teach almost exclusively in
the Macedonian language. The two languages are not related.

When ethnic-Albanian leaders established Tetovo University as a private
institution at the end of 1994, the authorities sent the police to try to
shut it down, claiming it was part of moves to divide the country along
ethnic lines. The institution's founding rector, Fadil Sulejmani, a
professor of Albanian literature at Pristina University, in neighboring
Kosovo, served 10 months in jail.
Section: International
Volume 50, Issue 23, Page A43

Copyright  2004 by The Chronicle of Higher Education

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