We pay for the "escape" of excellence

2023-07-01 12:44:00, Editorial CNA

We pay for the "escape" of excellence

The application by the government of the three-year blockade of the awarding of diplomas to students graduating from the University of Medicine, a project-idea announced about a year ago by Prime Minister Edi Rama, has returned to the scene of the debate. During a meeting with the rectors of the universities, in October 2022, among other things, Prime Minister Rama articulated in a fair lecture: "The diploma of doctors will not be given directly as soon as they finish school", and in the elaboration he continued: "Newly graduated doctors , they must, first, within a certain period, serve in office for several years in Albania and after receiving the diploma, they can emigrate to other countries, if the latter is their goal".

Until October of a year ago, the application of the blockade of diplomas, as a strategy to stop the flight of doctors, mainly to Germany, was an idea. That, however, caused a clash between profile students and the Ministry of Education. Opposing reactions in favor of the student part also came from some organizations that argued that the blockade violated the freedom and right of young cadres to choose to serve where they saw fit. Whether inside or outside the country.

However, after some modest student protests and their follow-up without any reaction from the government and the ministry, everything returned to the usual normality. Students in auditoriums and bureaucrats in over-comfortable offices. The "truce" lasted until a few days ago, when, in response to the return of the idea put forward by Rama, the Minister of Education Evis Kushi, during the first consultative meeting with students of the Faculty of Medicine, with the aim of "their employment and contribution to and after the end of the studies, for a certain period of time", Rama announced the return of the project-idea to law, even specifying the start of its implementation.

According to what Minister Kushi articulated: "Starting from next year, each of the students of the general medicine program will sign an agreement, in advance, with the University of Medicine and the two ministries, that of Health Education, where they agree after the studies I will stay for a minimum of three years contributing to Albania, to society, to the motherland. That it is also patriotic apart from others. If there are those who do not agree with this alternative, the real price, the real cost can be proposed, so they pay the fee...".

This was said to the students at the most recent meeting, June 16, 2023, by minister Kushi, who, although she tried to entice them with the slogan of the sacrifice they must make in the name of "patriotism", did not manage to stop the disagreement. Four days later, (June 20), after the objections inside the auditoriums, the students openly protested in front of the department headed by Kushi. Reason? Total disagreement with the government's strategy, which with the three-year blocking of diplomas aims to "prevent the "hemorrhage" of the "escape" of doctors".

Signing a preliminary agreement, mandatory agreement that after studies they will perform three years of service in the homeland, those who violate the agreement will pay the fee of the real cost of studies. These are the three pillars on which the government builds its "strategy", even though it knows that it is not the right one to stop the hemorrhaging that has reached scandalous proportions. Because it has been tried and failed. It has been applied for and failed with students of excellence scholarships that we pay with our funds.

The drawers of the offices of the "Excellence Fund", a dedicated structure under the Ministry of Education, are filled with such contracts and agreements signed by the parties. They are contractual agreements that within the text contain points of rights and obligations between the student who has been granted an excellence scholarship and the two ministries. The same as those that Minister Khushi communicates must be signed by newly graduated medical students.

The practice with students of excellence (the "Fund of Excellence" program, created in 2007, aimed at creating an academic elite that would contribute to Albania) is depressing because it has not stopped the flow of educated brains through universities anymore. prestigious in the world. We emphasize that, in addition to other points in the contracts between the ministries and the students of excellence, there is also one that obliges them to return to their homeland to serve for a period of 3 years, in order to contribute to the repayment of the funding.

The return of excellent students becomes a mandatory alternative due to the fact that the financing of study rights for them is many times greater than the fee for a study right for the University of Medicine. The tuition fee for an "excellent", studying in one of the 15 best universities in the world (as determined by excellence), starts with around 60 thousand to 120 thousand euros per year. That they would have halal if it was a contribution to serve in Albania, which is crushed and made "Arab wool", and which needs them so much.

To return not in the name of "patriotism", as Minister Kushi articulates, but because their scholarships are financed by the funds of the Albanian state budget, to which we contribute with our taxes.

What should compel the "disobedient fugitives" of excellence should be the government. Specifically, the Ministry of Kushi, which until today has allowed the contingent of 500 excellence students, for whom 25 million euros have been spent during the 15 years of the program's operation, to stay peacefully abroad even though they have not fulfilled the obligation to return heavy debt that burdens the wallets of all Albanians.

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