Preschool education is the costliest, and arguably the most important, of the new functions that have been recently decentralized to local governments in Albania. PLGP experts visited the Municipality of Finiq, one of the new municipalities created by the territorial reform, and home to a large Greek minority. Our experts met with the Mayor and the staff of the Finiq Municipality to discuss the administrative, legislative and financial challenges this LGU faces regarding preschools and the prospects of eventual changes to the current system of allocation of funding from the national government.
The Mayor presented the municipality’s efforts to improve the current conditions of preschools in Finiq, while emphasizing the inefficiency of the current system of funding the transport of pupils from remote areas to preschools. By law, pupils transport is still controlled and should be done by the Ministry of Education’s regional agencies. In some cases, pupils are transported almost 30 km from home to school, which highlights the fact that pupil transportation is one of the major challenges this remote LGU is facing from an educational, financial, and safety perspective.
The Mayor thanked USAID for its efforts to improve preschool education finance in Albania, emphasizing: “USAID is the only one who visited Finiq to discuss the problems we are facing with preschools, considering this a crucial element for informed policy-making and reforms”.
At the request of the Ministry of Education, USAID’s Planning and Local Governance Project (PLGP) will prepare 5 case studies on preschool finance reform in Albania to help improving the Government of Albania’s understanding of the challenges it needs to address and the possible options going forward. Over the coming weeks, our experts will continue discussions with representatives from other selected municipalities in Albania to identify the financial consequences of the eventual changes in the preschool finance system.
PLGP will work to reduce legislative and financial gaps and ensure that the transfer of this important responsibility to the local level is accompanied by an adequate financing system.