Tuesday, May 8, 2007

More than Half of Kosovo Population Wants to Leave & Children in Kosovo

A report by UNDP on youth issues comes as no surprise when they report that more than half of the young population of Kosovo wish to emigrate.  Start out with very low wages and high unemployment rates (unofficially 70%, officially 50% depending on your sources) and then add into the equation high levels of corruption and nepotism and the result is youths losing hope that they have a good future in store in Kosovo.  If you consider that nearly half of the population also falls into the category of youths (15-29 years of age) the Kosovo government faces a serious problem that youths do not want to participate or even live in Kosovo.  And ethnicity doesn't matter, the problem is across the board for everyone.
In a sign that things are improving for Kosovo youths in the area of education, the University of Iowa has signed a three-year memorandum of understanding in the areas of archeology, geographic information systems, and human osteology.  In addition to this new exchange between the US and Kosovo, there also is the American University of Kosovo which is linked to Rochester Institute of Technology.

When people ask me what I think about bringing their children to Kosovo...I find it difficult to answer the question.  There are certainly factors that need to be considered such as the pollution and access to quality health care.  In addition, there have been serious outbreaks of meningitis which is something to consider since it effects children the most.  Plus there are few parks for children to play in and the local children have a tendency to be turned out onto the streets to play.  However, with that said, I know of several expats who brought their children from infants to elementary age to come live in Kosovo to keep the family together.  Many have a stay-at-home parent so I don't know if there are any actual organized daycares in Kosovo.  I have seen private advertisements from internationals who are looking for a babysitter/care provider for their children so there may not be any daycare centers available outside the schools.

For those that are planning on bringing their children, there are some international schools targeted towards education of expatriate children.  Below you can find some of the international elementary and secondary schools in Kosovo offering education in English.
  • One of the most "famous" is the American School of Kosovo which offers education between the ages of 4-18 under NAAS (Northwest Association of Accredited Schools).  Tuition is approximately 4200 Euros a year.
  • The International Learning Group runs a school in Sunny Hill, targeted to expatriate children.  Classes from pre-school to grade 6 are offered by ILG. 
  • Employing native English speaking teachers, Quality Schools International operates a non-profit education center through age 13 in the Dragodan neighborhood.
  • Located a bit out of Pristina on the way to Gracanica, the Gulistan Education Center or International School of Pristina is found.  While ISP has no website, more information is available by email or telephone (038 516791/2/3).