Albania National Overview

Updated in June 2018 by Prof. Pjeter Guralumi, Head of Cooperation Projects Unit and General Coordinator for Erasmus+ Programme at University of Arts Tirana

Overview of Higher Music Education System

After the Second World War, Albania inherited a Public Education System within the years 1945-1990. Music studies were integrated into the education system (pre-college) in the cities of Shkodra (1 school), Durres (1 school), Tirana (5 schools), Elbasan (1 school), Korça (1 school), Berat (1 school), Kukes (1 school), Peshkopi (1 school), Lushnje (1 school), Fier (1 school), Vlore (1 school), Gjirokaster (1 school),and Saranda (1 school).
Music studies in Tirana, Durres, Shkodra, Elbasan, Korça, Fier, Berat, Vlora and Gjirokastra were offered in the Artistic Schools, gathering talents through entrance exams for three subdivisions: elementary school (piano, violin and cello), lower secondary school (piano, violin, cello, viola and some wind instruments) and upper secondary school (piano, accordion, string instruments, singing and wind instruments).There were other schools offering music studies that were integrated within the general system of education in Tirana and various courses organized in structures for young music lovers. Music and arts were also taught as part – time studies in Evening School linked with the Artistic School of Tirana.
After the collapse of the communist system of planned and centralized economy, the chaotic demographic movements and the emigration of population into the European countries and USA resulted in a reduction of artistic schools and the number of pupils, bringing an overall change in music training.
The Albanian Music Education System is currently structured in a mixed framework: public and private.
The public division of the Music Education system is inherited and organized in three levels:
Basic Education, (8 grades before 1990s, 4+4 from 6 years old to 14 years old, and now there are 9 grades, 5+4 from 6 years old to 15 years old) codes 1, 2 according to the International Classification Standards of UNESCO, 29th Session of November 1997.
High schools (3 years offering 12 grades studies) code 3 according to the International Classification Standards of UNESCO, 29th Session of November 1997.
Higher Education (according to Bologna’s Process 3 + 2 years and it is organized in Bachelor and Master studies)
The private division of the Music Education is integrated within the general educative system after the 1990s, and consists in:
elementary schools up to 9 grades;
high artistic schools up to 12 grades;
short and/or yearly courses for kids and amateurs;
Notice: There are no Higher Education Institutions from the private division.

The Laws regulating the Education System are as follows:
LAW Nr. 69/2012 PËR SISTEMIN ARSIMOR PARAUNIVERSITAR NË REPUBLIKËN E SHQIPËRISË – for the Pre – University Education System in the Republic of Albania.
LAW Nr. 56/2015 Për disa ndryshime në ligjin nr. 69/2012 “Për sistemin arsimor parauniversitar në Republikën e Shqipërisë” – for some amendments, changes in the Law Nr. 69/2012 Pre – University Education System in the Republic of Albania.
LAW Nr. 80/2015 PËR ARSIMIN E LARTË DHE KËRKIMIN SHKENCOR NË INSTITUCIONET E ARSIMIT TË LARTË NË REPUBLIKËN E SHQIPËRISË – for the Higher Education and Scientific Research in the Higher Education Institutions in the Republic of Albania.The professional music training is offered in the Faculty of Music of the University of Arts of Tirana, a unique public institution of Higher Artistic Education in Albania.
The degree-level study programs are structured according to the Bologna process and the Laws Nr.9741, date 21.5.2007 for the Higher Education in the Republic of Albania amended/changed with the Laws Nr. 9832, date 12.11.2007; Nr. 10 307, date 22.7.2010; Nr. 1 0 493, date 15.12.2011 and the Law Nr. 80/2015 for the Higher Education and Scientific Research in Albania.
The diplomas are issued after completing all obligations of the music students in terms of yearly exams, number of credits achieved per level and the final exam. University of Arts of Tirana awards Bachelor Degree and Master of Arts Degree, Master of Science Degree and Professional Master Degree in its curriculum.
There are 20 Bachelor Study programs offered by the Faculty of Music of the University of Arts.
The Master Study programs offered are divided in:
Master of Arts Degree -15
Master of Science Degree – 1
Professional Master Degree – 4Higher Music Education as a part of the Higher Education in Albania is under the Ministry of Education, Sports and Youth as the Government Institution which gathers all public and non-public Higher Education Institutions.
According to the latest Law for the Higher Education No. 80/2015, Article 17th, the University of Arts and its faculties, as an integral part of the University, is expected to receive a Special Status, according to a procedure to be proposed by the Ministry of Education, Sports and Youth and decreed from the Council of Ministers.
The Governance of the University of Arts is structured in the Academic and Administrative part.
The Highest Academic Body is the Academic Senate of the University of Arts: the highest academic authorities are: the Rector, the Head of the Principal Unit, and the Head of the Basic Unit.
The Highest Administrative Body is the Administration Board of the University of Arts: the highest administrative authority is the General Administrator and Administrator of the Principal Unit and the Administrator of the Basic Unit.
Other collegial body of the University of Arts is the Ethic Council. Members of the Academic and Administrative bodies in the University of Arts are elected under the General Elections campaign once in 4 years, according to the previsions and definitions of the Law 80/2015.

Total number of institutions
1 – University of Arts in Tirana
Total number of music students
The Faculty of Music as a part of the University of Arts is funded by:
a) government funding;
b) tuition fees
c) income for services offered
d) income from the cooperation with third parties
e) donations and other legal sources of funding

The study programs of the Faculty of Music are approved by the Academic Senate of the University of Arts, who gets the Final Approval from the Accreditation Board of the Agency for Quality Assurance in the Higher Education according to the specifications of the Law 80/2015.

The autonomy of the Universities allows the content of the disciplines to be determined by the pedagogical staff of the Faculty of Music.

Instrumental studies takes 50% of the total ECTS of the studies, considering that Chamber Music, Orchestra performance and other Ensembles are bringing it to a quote of around 65-70% of the total ECTS.
The Faculty of Music offers:
Individual artistic lessons;
Small group lessons (2-15)
Big group lessons (more than 16 up to 80, for Theoretical disciplines or Orchestra and Choir)
For piano players, string players, wind instrument players, guitarist, accordion players, bass tube player, singers, composers, conductors, musicologists and music pedagogy students.

The Faculty of Music of University of Arts Tirana offers Classical Music Education and Training, and also in jazz and pop music.
2-cycle system
The Faculty of Music offers 1st and 2nd cycle of studies which are built according to the Bologna Process in 3 years Bachelor + 2 years Master.
Special disciplines are taught in 1 year Master.
Qualifications The structure of the diplomas for qualifying music students are as follows:
Department of Instrumental Performance offers:
15 Bachelor Degrees – 3 years,
12 Master of Arts Degrees – 2 years,
3 Professional Master Degree – 1 year. (Guitar, Accordion and Bass tuba)
Department of Singing offers:
Bachelor Degree – 3 years,
Master of Arts – 2 years.Department of Composition, Musicology, Conducting and Music Pedagogy offers:
Bachelor Degree – 3 years
Master of Arts – 2 years (Composition and Conducting)
Master of Science – 2 years (Musicology)
Professional Master – 1 Year (Music Pedagogy)
Entry requirements 1st cycle
State Matura successfully finished and entrance exam passed according to the specifications of each department.
Entry requirements 2nd cycle
1st cycle finished with all obligations and Diploma Exam completed; Specific procedures and requirements are made known by each department before the closure of the summer semester.
% of students who continue with 2nd cycle Almost 80%-90%
3rd cycle
The Faculty of Music of the University of Arts Tirana actually does not offer the 3rd cycle of studies.
According to the new law for the Higher Education, the University of Arts has already prepared the documentation requesting the authorization of the Ministry of Education, Sports and Youth for opening the 3rd cycle of studies where the Artistic Research will be integrated.
The Faculty of Music of Tirana’s Arts University operates as an institution belonging to a Partner Country for the ERASMUS+ Program and has signed various Inter Institutional Agreements with Program Countries. Another program which allows us to cooperate internationally is CEEPUS.
Quality assurance
The quality assurance accreditation process is internal and external. Recently the University of Arts got a peer visit from the Albanian Agency of Quality Assurance with International Group of Experts. The positive accreditation evaluation was given in March 2017.
The current percentage of employability of Music students is relatively low, due to the reduced opportunities in orchestra’s job, music schools and private sector.
Academic Year
The academic year of the Music Faculty of the University of Arts generally starts at the beginning of October and ends by mid-June of the next calendar year. It is organized in two semesters.
Overview of the Pre-College Music Education System
There are several possibilities in Albania to be musically trained prior to entering higher education.

Types of Pre-College Education

The opportunities to learn musical instruments and music in general in pre-college education vary from the tradition of the education system and opportunities in bigger cities compared to smaller ones.
The typology of Artistic Schools, structured mainly with Music and Visual Arts, exists in the biggest cities like Tirana, Durres, Elbasan, Korça, Shkodra, Fier, Vlora and Berat, while Gjirokastra or Lezha offers only music part of studies.

Tirana as Capital has 3 public institutions with Pre-College music education; 2 of them are elementary and lower secondary schools, (in total 9 years) adding to them the Artistic School, which offers music education from elementary, to the higher secondary school (in total 12 years).
Durres offers 1 Public Artistic School (12 years) and 1 Private School (from 5, 9, until 12 years).
Lezha and Gjirokastra offers 9 years of music education.
Shkodra, Elbasan, Korça, Fier, Vlora and Berat are offering 12 years of Artistic studies, where music is an integral part of the institutions.
The above mentioned artistic schools lead to a professional music education itinerary for young musicians.
The instruments taught at the elementary school are piano, violin and cello;
At lower secondary school instruments: piano, violin, cello, viola and some wind instruments);
At upper secondary school: piano, accordion, string instruments, guitar singing and wind instruments.
The lessons in the Artistic Schools are given as individual artistic lessons and other disciplines in theory, chamber music and orchestra are taught in groups.

Music and Arts in General Education
The general education includes the arts and music within the curricula. From the 1st elementary until the lower secondary school the music is part of the disciplines, taught maximum for 1 hour per week.
During the higher secondary school the arts are taught mainly as History of Arts, where the Music has its integral part in it.
Students entering Higher Music Education
The students applying for the higher music education come from the pre-college system, so from the Artistic Schools and in some special cases, they can participate in the entrance exams coming from the General Higher Secondary Schools.
Special Facilities for Talented Students at Pre-College Level
National and international competitions are organized in Albania for talented students of pre- college Level: “Pjeter Gaci” Prize, “Kenget e Tokes”, EPTA competition, Fest Talent, “Jorgjie Truja”, are the most reknown competitions in Albania.
Albania is organizing a few youth orchestras where young students can learn. Another possibility of Master classes is offered from festivals with international artists invited in order to exchange ideas and practices with the young students.