Italian 4m euro-fund to support UNICEF to improve resilience, skills for life, and employability of young people in Albania

“Addressing the multiple vulnerabilities of out-of-school children is critical to tackle factors pushing children out of education. Thanks to the generous support of the Italian Government, the program will run for a period of three years and will substantially contribute to identify, refer, and respond better to the needs of out-of-school children and drop out students,” has said UNICEF Representative in Albania Roberto De Bernardi.

Mr. De Bernardi made that comment as is the name of the 4 million Euros project "Every Young person matters" funded by the Italian Foreign Ministry and the International Cooperation intended to prevent school dropout in secondary schools in Albania, according to a press release issued by the press office of UNICEF Albania on Monday.

This initiative, developed together with UNICEF, aims to advance the agenda of inclusion of young people in education and training in Albania. An innovative and systemic three-pronged approach, tackling policy level changes to including youths in education training and employment opportunities will be taken, through improving schools’ practices to prevent drop-out, improving resilience, skills for life, and employability of young people. At least 10.000 young people and 2.800 teachers will benefit from this program.

The Ambassador of Italy to Tirana, Fabrizio Bucci noted: “This program is aimed at fighting the root causes of school dropout and social exclusion to reduce vulnerability of young persons in Albania and improve their skills and employability. This is an important element of a comprehensive development strategy of the Italian Government towards a stable and prosperous Albania, able to reach European standards in education and social protection and capable to join the European Union.”  There is growing evidence of the significant social and economic returns of education – including at upper secondary level –for individuals and for entire societies. The list of benefits is impressive: better lives, better health, greater gender equality, greater social cohesion, greater incomes, more tax leverage for governments, reduced crime and risky behavior among young people, and a lower burden on social welfare, health and justice budgets (UNICEF, 2017).

In the meantime Elvis Kushi, Minister of Education and Sports in Albania, said quality education is the key to success in every society and one of the key priorities is the work done in Albania to prevent the phenomenon of school dropout.

“We are working hard to improve the quality of education. Our focus is to equip the students with the necessary knowledge and skills for education and labor market outcomes.  Hence, the quality and the effectiveness of the training for young people is our goal so they can become good professionals; improve their wellbeing and be able to make their contribution to the development of Albania. We are very pleased to begin this innovative project with UNICEF and the Italian Government,” said the minister.

The program will be implemented with Ministry of Education and Sport in close coordination with Ministry of Youth and Children, Ministry of Finance and Economy, the Agency for the Assurance of Quality in Pre-university Education, the National Agency for Employment and Skills, general upper secondary and vocational schools, municipalities, civil Society Organization, young people and adolescents. / Argumentum.al