After just having returned from Kosovo, I am allowed to point out to one of the country’s major problems: the education situation and the brain drain. This country has one of Europe’s youngest population – this is evident if one just walks the streets. However, what they need now urgently is education. The country does what it can deliver, and the new Ministry of Education in the busy center of the capital Prishtine may be a visible sign for this ministry’s prominence. There is still a lack in long-term secondary education, especially vocational training. Otherwise the country’s workforce will not be as able as they could be to welcome substantial foreign investment, what is urgently needed, and furthermore the brain drain will not dry out. This does not hinder the impression that many very well educated people have returned (or have come for the first time in their life permanently to Kosovo).
In this context, I had given the first courses already in 2005 in Kosovo on Public-Private Partnerships, also in education (see also [in English] http://www.libertas-institut.com/de/Mittel-Osteuropa/PPP_Workshop_01.08.05-Pristina_en.pdf, [in Albanian] http://www.libertas-institut.com/de/Mittel-Osteuropa/PPP_Workshop_01.08.05-Pristina_alb.pdf, or see a newspaper dossier in „Express“, in Albanian: http://www.libertas-institut.com/de/Mittel-Osteuropa/Kosovo%20Express%2017.8.05.pdf). Until now, there has been no possibility in the country to realize this principle. PPP as a principle is perfect, if the state does not have the investment and operation funds, but private capital would be available. However, one has to take care of several criteria and risks, but in general education institutions are in many countries possible and recognized.
Also in Kosovo the Ministry of Education is very interested, and banking institutions confirm that there is not yet any PPP financing in Kosovo. The project in discussion is, among others, a vocational school for hotel & catering professions (cooks, waiters, hotel personnel etc.). This does not mean that owls are carried to Athens, as everybody in Kosovo knows how to roast meat, how to cook vegetables etc. It is just the overall hospitality effort which will be strengthened, and the side effect will be to provide some young people with serious professional perspectives. 7 years after the first government workshops on PPP, it is now time that something is done. The educational system of Kosovo will after all be happy, and the involved people as well.Hans-Jürgen Zahorka Chief Editor, European Union Foreign Affairs Journal