President of the EU Commission Ursula von der Leyen inaugurated the primary school in Qereke, rebuilt after the devastating 2019 earthquake through the EU4Schools programme, funded by the EU and implemented by UNDP
“I feel like a true European today. Our school destroyed by the earthquake has been constructed from scratch. It is exactly how I had imagined and even sketched it. It has new laboratories, a new library, even a nursery room. It also has a gym and a room for our drama courses. My dream school has taken shape,” says Mirela, a student of the “Korb Muça” Primary School in Qereke.
“The new school has central heating, large sunny classrooms, full access for children with disabilities science labs equipped with didactic tools and will be closer to Qereke center. It is really beyond our expectations. The school’s sports facilities and library will also serve the community. The school will not only provide the village a livelier environment — it also represents a precious property that will serve future generations,” said the school director Shira.
“The school will also have a library and modern laboratories, which allow for an efficient teaching and learning process. This will make a difference in our work as teachers: through experiments we will be able to encourage critical thinking and help pupils build skills. I am sure they will be more motivated to learn,” said Egla, and nineth grade schoolteacher at “Korb Muca.”
“Now, we do not need to spend extra money on securing a transportation to send our children to school, as they will be safe and able to study close to home,” said Agim, a parent, who has two children enrolled at “Korb Muca.”
“We are putting our hearts and hard work into the schools, knowing that our efforts will contribute to a better education for the children of this area,” said an engineer working at the site.
These are but a few voices coming from the small community of people living in Qereke, which was heavily affected by the 26th of November 2019 earthquake that hit Albania, leaving behind destruction and despair in this little village and other parts of the country. Due to severe damages to their school, the community’s children had to go to a makeshift school rather far from their village. The previous school was in the old barracks of a former military unit and did not meet the necessary conditions for teaching and learning. Rain often flooded it and children could only cross the school entrance by walking over an improvised gravel path, put together by parents.
The new school, which serves 130 pupils and 30 kindergarten children, has been built in a beautiful area of 8000 m2 offered by the local government, amid greenery and trees.
The “Korb Muca” Primary School and Kindergarten in Qereke, inaugurated by President of the EU Commission Ursula von der Leyen, is one out of 63 education facilities reconstructed or repaired by the EU4Schools Programme, following the devastating earthquake. This is the largest EU - UNDP partnership in the country, whereby the European Union provided 75 million Eur and UNDP which is implementing the programme contributed with 675.000 Eur. Currently, 15 education facilities are ready to welcome children when the new school year begins at the end of September. Work is well under way for the rest of education facilities, part of the Programme.
24.000 pupils and kindergarten children will benefit from renovated or reconstructed education facilities. Around 1 million community members will also benefit from this intervention.
Education facilities are being reconstructed or repaired combining the #BuildBackBetter and #BuildBetterTogether approaches offering a unique opportunity to engage the beneficiaries in the reconstruction process so that they become “co-owners “of the reconstruction process. New education facilities are being repaired or reconstructed using the best European standards of safety, low carbon emission, renewable energy lighting, high accessibility, green spaces as well as in adherence to Eurocode 8.
To increase transparency and accountability, an online publicly accessible BI (Business Intelligence) dashboard is established. The EU4Schools portal (http://eu4schoolsportal.al/) This portal is EU4Schools’ gate for transparency and communication with the public.
Over 22 consultation sessions have so far brought together over 1,427 community members to discuss proposed rehabilitation and reconstruction models for the schools giving space for affected communities to voice their concerns, desires and wishes for the education facilities to be repaired and reconstructed in their neighborhoods.
1. EU has financed the EU4Schools programme with 75M EUR with an additional investment by UNDP of 675,000 EUR.
2. Programme has 2 key features, Building Back Better and Building Back Together.
3. To ensure building back better:
o All 63 educational facilities have and will be repaired or reconstructed adopting EUROCODE 8 and the highest national standards of construction.
o 80% of the kindergartens and crèches will be able to rely on solar panels hence greatly contributing to increased energy efficiency.
o 100% of the educational facilities will be fully ready to accommodate persons with disabilities.
4. To ensure building back together:
o To date 1,427 people have participated in consultation and/or place check meetings with many more still expected to attend future community focused meetings.
o 5,858 visitors have to date accessed the transparency portal prepared to enable a live oversight of the project.