Diplomas and degrees are markers of one rigorous study and indicate to others a measure of achievement.
Unfortunately, if you want a PhD in Albania, it’s within reach. Just find the right administrator and be prepared to pay. Be careful who you approach because some may prefer sexual favors to cash.
This problem makes everyone’s education less valuable, but it also endangers the population; can you be sure that doctor, civil engineer, legal counsel, or other expert in the government has the proper training?
Migen Qiraxhi is an alumnus of a 2019 Center for Artistic Activism training and a member of our Regional Creative Hubs program. He’s taken on this issue with a series of outstanding artistic actions in Tirana, Albania’s capital.
The University of Corrupted Sciences
On the International Day of Education, Migen organized a creative action with students to ironically call attention to the the phenomenon of corruption in education.
The self-proclaimed “Dean” and “Rector” spoke at the event and awarded for free 200 academic titles to the participants and pedestrians, but they also humorously higlighted at the behavior of university leaders over the years.
Shame in Education
Migen and his team didn’t stop there. They followed up on the success of the University of Corrupted Sciences action by taking their next action right to the door of the Ministry of Education.
On Feb 25th 2020 they opened the exhibition; 20 magazine covers in the style of “Time” but reading “TURP” or “SHAME”, and featuring 25 scandals involving the education ministry from the past 2 years.
“It was amazing how citizens started to pay attention. They complimented us on the work and the organization” Migen told us. At the end of exhibition, the public was invited to give a grade for the Ministry of Education. In Albania, the grading scale is 4-10, with 4 being a failing grade. Passers by gave the education department 4s and lower.
This action took individual news events and scandals that happened over months and years, and turned them into one, powerful news story about the Education system. Instead of treating each event as an individual, isolated incident at this school with that administrator, the action presented a systemic problem and finally made the systemic problem the news story.
Migen noted one other important observation. With all these scandals over two years “the Ministry of Education, surprisingly, did not react. But today they reacted as soon as we ended our protest.”