Liljana Luani, Senior Teacher - ‘Pashko Vasa’ School Shkodra, Albania

Liljana Luani is a world-famous Albanian multi-award-winning teacher with over 38 years of teaching experience and out of which past she has spent the last 15 years volunteering to educate children held by blood feud. She has been honored with several awards and certificates for her work with children and families isolated by blood feud phenomenon. In 2012, she was honored with the Universal Peace Ambassador Award and in 2013, the Golden Rose Award in the field of Education. Later in 2017, she was honored with the Courageous Woman Award, presented by Ambassador Donald Lu on behalf of the US Secretary of State. In October 2018, she was awarded the National Teacher of the Year Award in Albania. Later in the same year (December 2018), she was selected as one of the 50 best teachers in the world by the organizers of the world-famous Global Teacher Prize, an annual US $1 million award.

As in the rest of the world, Albania too is exploring online teaching, as it is the only solution in these unusual times that we are going through. I am convinced that education, from primary to university and postgraduate, is all about testing not only in Albania but all over the world.

I think that after this pandemic is over, access to technology will become a vital necessity for education around the world, and online learning will be the go-to form of education in the future.

In Albania, online learning is taking place at all levels of education, with its own successes and difficulties. Learning online or remotely has made a big difference between teaching and learning, but with children, whose families are the victims of the blood feud, with whom I have been working for 15 years voluntary, it is even more difficult.

Blood feud is a medieval phenomenon that refers to the customary codes of the Kanun and is applied in the mountains of Albania in its northern and north-eastern areas during this long period of transition that we are going through. But due to the demographic movement of the population, blood feuds have spread to other areas of the country.

The children of the parties to the conflict may also be affected by these inter-ethnic conflicts, so they are also obliged to follow the usual rules, often deviating from the social life and from the school.

Children in blood feuds are generally accustomed to social distancing for the reasons explained above but distance learning is quite difficult for them as most of them lack internet and technology to use and we are forced to work with phone calls.

These children, in addition to the extremely difficult economic situation, where in some cases the most basic things in life are missing, lack social interaction and my presence as a teacher there and my colleagues who have been joining my mission for 2 years, is necessary, as it conveys to these children not only a part of the world from the outside but the close communication with them has many positive effects which have always been eagerly awaited.

We have followed some steps to successfully realize the learning competencies of these students.

  1. Compilation of individual plan for each student
  2. Creating learning situations with circumstantial teaching aids which serve for the development of all competencies of the student.
  3. Maximum engagement of students in creative work by highlighting their stimulating and encouraging skills in order to develop their career.

Special importance for these children has been the psychosocial emotional and academic treatment for children, giving effective instructions for cognitive development by offering programs that improve morale, reduce stress, increase self-confidence and security. We also work with these children to be able to solve problems without violence and to overcome difficulties.

All of these affect the growth and development of children’s active potentials for better teaching and educational development.

I think that we should invest in equipment with technological and internet tools of this contingent of children as it enables not only online learning and a new connection with knowledge but also the connection with the real world virtually.

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