Multiethnic school portraits example of co-existence in Kosovo

GMT 20:30 2014 Saturday ,13 September

Arab Today, arab today Multiethnic school portraits example of co-existence in Kosovo

kosovo education
Pristina - XINHUA

Divisions among ethnicities in Kosovo are less evident in a small village of Obilic municipality, near Pristina, especially in a small school building shared by Albanians and Serbs for already 15 years, starting right after the aftermath of the 1999 war.
In two shifts, morning and afternoon, students and professors of both communities attend classes in the school which has two different names for respective communities. On the front side of the school two plaques are placed with the school names: "Fazli Grajqevci" in Albanian, and "Dosidej Obradovic" in Serbian.
The dual name of the school reflects the reality in the village. Its name is Palaj in Albanian and Caravodica in Serbian.
There are no interethnic incidents in the village and a great deal how two proceed with classes inside the school. Serbian students attend the school in the morning while Albanians in the afternoon.
The premises and the equipments are in the disposal of all students, regardless of ethnicities. They share the same classes, while two school principals share the same office, and meet each other in the midday as Serbian principle vacates the office for the Albanian counterpart.
Mevlude Graiqevci, the Albanian school principal, said that working at this school might be regarded as unusual, but in her way of perceiving that's completely normal.
"We use on daily basis the common school building, all the premises, rooms, and as you can see even the principal's office," said Graiqevci.
Serbian principle Jovica Maksimovic pointed out that crucial in experiencing this co-functioning was the deal to include some minor details which proved to be effective.
"We agreed not to put on the halls, in classes any photo or drawing that could be regarded ethnically oriented, so as to prevent any division, which could follow with problems,"said Maksimovic, praising both sides for respecting the deal.
Apart of some 200 Albanian and 50 Serbian students, there are also a few Roma students, attending school either in one or the other language.
A dividing element inside is that Albanians work under the Kosovo educational system, while Serbs under the Serbian one.
This division sometimes provides advantages to them. Recently the school gained a solid investment in terms of equipments, including chairs and tables, which was an international donation mediated by the Serbian Orthodox Church.
But, as the winter is at a doorstep, both principles are worring about heating in the school.
"We all use together the heating material in the winter, all the premises, and educational equipment, and we don't question who got them. We share them," said Maksimovic.
In a joint effort, both principals are engaged in ensuring wood, coal and funds from their respective institutions for heating, though they always face a common problem.
"They never give us as much as we ask for, because they (institutions) know that both sides will provide something, and that would be enough," Maksimovic said.
Kosovo, a Serbian province, unilaterally declared independence in 2008. Serbia refuses to recognize Kosovo as an independent country.

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