Albanian is an Indo-European language, a single branch in the Indo-European tree. The Gheg dialect is spoken in Northern Albania, Kosovo and North Macedonia, while Tosk has been the basis for the official dialect of standard Albanian, recognised officially in 1972.
Article 14 of the Albanian Constitution states “The official language in the Republic of Albania is Albanian”; nonetheless, many Albanians speak multiple languages fluently and the country has a long history of inter-cultural exchange through the use of many languages.
For the 2020-2021 academic year among post-secondary students enrolled in fields of study relating to culture, 39.9% were studying languages, with women representing the majority76. Among foreign languages learned by pupils in schools, English is by far the most common followed by French, Italian, German and others. Cooperation agreements have allowed certain Albanian schools to offer language study and examinations that are recognized for post-secondary admissions abroad.
Albania has been a full member of the International Organization of La Francophonie since 1999. Through the Ministry of Education and the Embassy of France, work in pre-university education has helped align Albanian education with European standards and the promotion of the French language.
The country has a wide diaspora throughout the world and in 2010, the Ministry of Education designed and approved “The Integrated Programme for the Teaching of the Albanian Language in the Diaspora”, to support and maintain the language and culture by providing complementary teaching to the children of emigrants living in other countries. Textbooks were published in 2011-2012 and distributed free of charge to schools that requested them. In 2015, The Ministry of Education of Albania and the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology of Kosovo signed the agreement “On the joint organization of the teaching of the Albanian language and culture in the diaspora and migration”, with the view that the diaspora benefits from a joint approach to the teaching of the Albanian language and culture abroad.
The Albanian government officially recognized the Albanian Sign Language in 2012 by the Council of Ministers Decision Nr. 837, based on article 102 of the Constitution and Law Nr. 69/2012 “On Pre-university Education in the Republic of Albania”, where article 63 stipulates: “People who do not hear and speak are entitled to the right of communication in sign language.” Albanian Braille is the braille alphabet for writing the Albanian language and is based on international braille.
With the mission to preserve, promote and support the Albanian language, the Centre for Diaspora Publications at the Ministry of Diaspora for the school year 2019-2020, distributed 12,000 educational books in Albanian language in 19 different countries77.