Public versus Private Kindergartens

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Pristina municipality does not have free places in the public kindergarten for half the children born the past year.

10 600 children were born in the year 2012 in Prishtina and one of the main issues of the parents is the registration of their children in the kindergartens. The monthly price for a public kindergarten is 50 Euros, while in the private kindergartens it differs from 80 to150 euros per month. There is a tremendous competition for these places which are extremely disproportionatein their number of children.

A parent interviewed by “Life in Kosovo” said that he had a lot of troubles finding a place for his child since there were cases were 30 places were free and in which 300 thousand children were applying. One of the ways to get accepted is by having relatives in the kindergartens.  However, the heads of the kindergartens are categorical regarding the assumption that children are accepted in the kindergartens because they know someone working in the building. They say that there is no truth to that, but interventions from parents are present.

HalimHalili, director of the Municipal Directorate of Education of Pristina; says that the problem relies on the fact that half of the population is not registered – there are only 200 thousand registered, but in fact the numbers are approximately 400 thousand. The problems addressed were about children waiting too long to get accepted, the unavailability of free places and the higher prices in the private kindergartens. Halili in response to this, said: “we do know what people of Pristina undergo but the problem is that there is not enough budget to build new kindergartens. However, we have already worked on two kindergartens “Ajvalia” and “Mat” but because of the limited budget it is impossible to pay the staff, therefore we cannot put them in function.”

MeritaShala, a babyhoodexpert, added: “this is not only the issue of the Ministry of Education. It is a part of the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Work and Social Welfare. There should be cooperations between all these departments so that this problem could be solved.” Moreover, she added that the private kindergartens that have not license should be closed immediately because they do not have the appropriate conditions of a kindergarten, i.e. enough garden space.

Defrim Gashi, director of Education Inspection MEST, regarding the licenses said that “the time it takes for a kindergarten to get a license is not that long;it will take them at least one year to get analyzed because there are several standards that kindergartens should accomplish.”

Jehona Xhaferi, kindergarten trainer of teachers, confessed that she has sent her child to a private kindergarten. “I have applied in a public kindergarten, but I was not sure whether my child would be accepted. I was lucky because I knew the head of one private kindergarten and I was aware of the conditions there. My daughter immediately adapted to this new place, so I knew that was the right one.” She also adds that the problem is not only with the free spaces but with the standards of these kindergartens, and she insiststhat the standards must be accomplished so that children would grow properly.

Merita Shala explained a study in babyhood done in Kosovo by Yale University which showed that the number of accepted children is really low, and the prices are one of the highest in the region; while the standard of living in Kosovo is lower in comparison to the other regions.

In conclusion, the number of kindergartens in Prishtina is really low compared to the number of children. The chances of getting accepted are much higher if you know someone in one kindergarten. There is a problem with the standards and the license of some private kindergartens. In order for these problems to be solved there should be more collaboration between all the departments.