Kosovo's multi-ethnic school shows tolerance

06/12/2012

A multi-ethnic school in Kosovo sets an example for others with successful co-operation.

By Safet Kabashaj for Southeast European Times in Pristina -- 06/12/12

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The school in Kosovo's Obilic municipality has plaques with its two names -- in Albanian, Fazli Grejqevci, and Serbian, Dositej Obradovic. [Safet Kabashaj/SETimes]

In a small village in Obilic, less than 15 kilometres from Pristina, Albanians and Serbs have established an example of tolerance and co-existence. For nearly 13 years they have been sharing the same school building.

On the school façade there are plaques with its two names -- in Albanian, Fazli Grejqevci, and Serbian, Dositej Obradovic.

The dual name of the school signals a co-existence that is present in the village to which the school belongs: its Albanian name is Palaj, and Serbian it is Caravodica.

Serbian students attend the school in the morning and Albanian students in the afternoon. They share all the premises and the equipment.

Two school principals share the same office, and meet each other at noon as one vacates the office for the other.

Berat Preniqi, the Albanian school principal, said that that working at this school is unusual, but he accepts it now as normal.

"We routinely use the common school building, its premises, rooms, and the principal's office. In case we lose any part of the equipment, we all are concerned about it," he said.

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In reality, their differences run deeper. The Albanians work under the Kosovo educational system, while Serbs under the Serbian. There are no obstacles, but sometimes it represents the principals face problems in achieving the same goal, as is the case with heating.

Both principals get wood, coal and funds from their respective institutions.

"We usually take into consideration that director [Maksimovic] brings wood from their side, and we use it together including the coal we get," Preniqi said.

The school premises have been shared since September 1999.

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