Education of Gjakova

Education of Gjakova
Gjakova has a long tradition of education since the beginning of civic life in it when the Khadim Suleiman Aga, build vakif, (1594-1595), apart from the inn, the public bathroom (hamam), several shops, a mosque, a school (mejtepe), a library. According to the Gjakova tradition the Hadim Aga library was so rich in books so it was said "who wants to see Ҫabe, (holy Muslim place in Saudi Arabia), let them visit the library of Hadim Aga".

Library had a reading room on the ground floor and the shelf with books upstairs. According to notes, the library was greater than the mosque itself.

Later the development of education in Gjakova was helped by Kurt pasha family members, some of whom built, mosques, schools (mejtepe) and madrasa.

This tradition gained new dimensions being enriched and deepened, in particular in the sensational years of the Albanian National Movement, in which Gjakova with its surroundings gave prominent support. 

According to some data, schools in Albanian language in the territory of Gjakova, were opened before 1840.

The existence of private schools and of Franceskan missionary teachers is known. In 1743 Gjon Nikollw  Kazazi doctor of Theology and philosophy and Bishop of the Diocese in Skopje opened a private school in his own house. The youngsters which would be following the regular studies in different papal collages in Italy were being prepared here.

While Kazazi was alive he was able to open religious schools in his Dioceze, by involving as teachers his previous students, graduated in the college of Holy Congregation like Zef Lumbeshin, Mati Krasniqin and Zefë Berishë Nikollën that worked as teachers in the missions of Gjakova, Janjeva, Zymi and others. Albanian students in these schools learned literacy in Albanian Christian doctrine, also in Albanian, designed by John Nicholas Kazaz published in the printing house of the Holy Propaganda.

Accurate records for the Albanian school, opened near the Catholic Church in Gjakova, are from 1851.

In this school teaching was given by Don Pjetër Doda, Don Filip Kanxhi, Don Tom Gusiqi, Patër Rozarja, Patër Gaudenci, Don Pjetër Zara, Don Ndrue Bytyqi, while as secular teachers following teachers were involved Pashko Logoreci and Mihill Kurti.  According to records all the teachers with or without religious garb operated under the principles of Albanian National Renaissance.

After the 30s in the XIX century, in the spirit of the Tanzimat reforms in Gjakova Turkish state schools were opened: primary schools (iptidaijet) lower gymnasiums (ruzhdi).

According to sallname in 1893 in Gjakova there were 15 primary schools (iptidaijet), with 1,101 school students and lower gymnasiums (ruzhdije) with 120 students.

Public school students learned from books, written in Turkish, not understood by the pupils from Gjakova, who spoke only Albanian. Therefore, their teachers, who were mainly from Gjakova, were secretly translating these texts in their native language, even though this was forbidden. 
They were able to do this because the influence of Ottoman Government Authority was very weak in Gjakove.

The Albanian intellectuals from Gjakova, that were educated in the most important educational centers of the Ottoman Empire, had a special role in the opening of schools in the Albanian language during the Albanian National Movement.
A particular role in enriching the educational tradition in the region of Gjakova and beyond was the opening of religious schools, initially schools (mejteps), later, the madrasas.


In 1707 the Big Madrasa was established which has become an important education center and also spiritual educational center in religious and national sense.  In this Madrasa thousands of young people attended their education studies coming from all over the Dugagjini Valleys, from Highlands, Has etc. This madrasa was founded by alim, charity of the Murat Bey, the son of Adam Pasha, who had served as mytesarif in the Sanjaks of, Elbasan Shkodra. This school worked under the program of the Istanbul Faculty of Theology "Fatih" - Istanbul. There was a big dormitory and a very rich library. Students of this madrasa of continued higher education in high schools in Istanbul and Alexandria. Teachers and students of the great Madrassa stood out for the assistance that they provided to the Albanian national movement, names like Ismail Efendi, Ali Efendi Hasan Efendi, close collaborator of Suleiman Vokshi during the League of Prizren and distinguished student of this Madrassa Haxhi Zeka, the founder of League of Peja. Some years later around (1815-1816) Tahir Efendi Boshnjaku established the small Madrassa. Its establishment came as a necessity, as big Madrasa failed to meet all the needs of Gjakova population thirsting for knowledge. Due to its fame, the lessons in this Medrassa were given to students from the Sanxhak, Yeni Pazar, Toplica, Plava and Bosnia as well

The intensification of the efforts to educate the population in their mother tongue was present from the early years of the twentieth century.

John Turk revolution and the promises from the new Guvernors for more National rights the rise to the movement for education in Albanian Language  as the only way out of the century long darknes that had swept the country, and due to the inability of schooling in Albanian language. In this regard the city of Gjakova stood out.

According to the memoirs of Sali Morina, one of the luminaries of the educational sector in Gjakova during the First World War, in the years 1905-1906, a group of enthusiastic educators such is Osman Nikolic, Riza Thaqi, Haji Tahiri and others even under strict measures of prosecution of Ottoman Governance, organized courses in which Albanian Language was secretly taught.   Staged under tight government prosecution Ottoman courses, in which Albanian language taught. The attempts to open a Latin school in Gjakova and surrounding villages were also made by the national hero Bajram Curri even in 1911. A special merit for the contribution for the dissemination of books and media in Albanian language goes to the Bektashian Tekke as well.

More favorable conditions for establishment of schools in Gjakova were created during the World War I. After the entry of Austro – Hungarian army in the south, Serbian and Monte Negro armies were made to leave Gjakova and a part of the Dukagjini Valley. Thus with the initiation of Bajram Curri first Albanian schools were opened in Gjakova before the arrival of the Austro – Hungarian Army. First teachers in these schools were the once who took the initiative for its opening: Niman Ferizi, Sali Morina, Ferid Imami, Ibrahim Fehmiu, Qazim Bakalli, Ibrahim Kolci, Mon Osa, Isuf Puka Murat Gjakova, Engjëll Ndoca from Shkodra,  Latif Shaqiri etc.


Between the two world wars in Gjakova there was no Albanian school, any libraries or any cultural-artistic association Over 90 percent of the Albanian population were illiterate.

After the capitulation of Yugoslavia in 1941 in Gjakova three Albanian schools were opened, in which the old Gjakova teachers were working, as well as new teachers educated in Albania and the teachers from Albania.

In 1942 the "John Nikole Kazaz" High School was opened in Gjakova, the school building was built by the people of Gjakova. It opened two course classes for women.

Later, in Gjakova two four grade Albanian schools with over 500 students were established, a special school for girls, and teachers in these schools were Ndoc Dominica, Jozefa Ndoc and Emine of Haji Sheikh Dulës.

Albanian school teachers in the city of Gjakova helped in expanding the school network in the villages and in other areas of Kosova.

But an era and a cultural and educational rebirth started after the World War II, respectively on October 26 1946 when in Gjakova the High School of Gjakova started its work, a two-year high school, the first of its kind in Albanian Language at that level in the history of education in Kosova. 

The school was founded by a special decree of the educational authorities of the time, its aim was to produce teachers which was a hurried imperative of the time and which was conditioned by the large need for the preparation of the teaching staff. Students from many countries of the nation, who had completed the semi mature (elementary), became part of the first school of its kind. Graduates were then dispersed in all areas were Albanian language was spoken.

The opening of this school in the town of Gjakova, is considered as one of the most important education events for education of new generations, but also of the overall national culture. This school included Albanian youth from all regions. Whereas for the school everybody was involved, citizens, workers, craftsmen….
Mehmet Gjevori draftee of the Albanian ABC Book in Kosova and education inspector at the time, while he was alive said: “It is a great honor and a special merit for each citizen of Gjakova that have the right to be proud, because Gjakova is the first town that produced newly qualified teachers young men and women from Kosova, and from other areas as well”.

From 1953 proper Gymnasium “Hajdar Dushi” was established. From 1958 by the decision from “Education council”… This Institution has worked with “Proper Gymnasium”.

Later other secondary schools were opened such are economy, medicine and the technical center. While the progress in the field of education in Gjakova was made in 1967, when the Higher Pedagogical School opened, the only institution for higher education in the former Yugoslavia, where classes were held in Albanian Language. Now this former high school has been transformed into the Faculty of Education.

Gjakova since 2013 has become a university town, where studies are conducted in many branches. 
Today in the municipality of Gjakova there is also a large number of primary and secondary schools, in the public sector, as well as in the private sector. The education system is organized in the main schools and in the separate physical activity classes. During 2004 there was development respectively there has been an increase in the number of private institutions, especially at the preschool level, but also in primary and secondary education

Categories: Kultura

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