Following the signing of the Bologna Declaration, the Parliament passed Law no. 9741 on Higher Education in May 2007 and amended it with Law no. 9832 six months later. Nevertheless, the implementation of the Bologna Declaration turned out to be a hard task, especially with regard to higher arts education. The amendment suggested the creation of a two-level system for master’s degrees, namely the scientific master and professional master, each obtainable after a full academic year.
But the big question was: if one can get a bachelor’s degree after three-year studies and a master’s degree with an additional two years, what would be the qualification of the enormous mass of those having a four-year university diploma issued from 1957 (the year of establishment of Tirana University) to 2009? Furthermore, would those people be offered a chance to get a master’s degree, and, if yes, how would this be applied in a fair way to balance the huge number of potential applications with the very limited offer of admissions? To much pressure from all sides was placed on all public universities and it became a political crisis, while private universities felt very comfortable to offer master’s degrees of both levels. This lead to speculation in the media that the Ministry of Education was discriminating against public universities on purpose, to allow private universities expand their share of the market.
Finally, in 2010, the Law on Higher Education was amended again, with the Law no.10307, sanctioning that all four-year university diplomas issued up to 2009 would, by default, be re-evaluated into scientific master’s degrees and those interested could now apply for a one-year programme to obtain a professional masters degree, while universities would continue to offer three-year bachelor’s and two-year masters programmes for all students admitted from 2009.
If other higher education institutions were simply challenged to re-shape their curricula to offer three-year bachelor and two-year master programmes, the Academy of Arts had to face an additional challenge. There were no formally qualified professors for Master of Arts programmes. The issue arose due to the traditional attitude of the Ministry of Education, which had never in the past asked for professors at all levels of arts education to obtain degrees, as arts education was not considered a scientific discipline. Even the most outstanding artists and long-time professors of the Academy of Arts did not have a degree. That made it possible for the Centre for Arts Studies of the Academy of Sciences to play a role in this. Since the centre has a limited but formally qualified body of professors, it can offer both master’s and PhD programmes. It seems as if the Academy of Arts will have to wait for the first generation of PhD students to graduate from the Centre for Arts Studies, to hire professors for its master’s programme.
The National Library is the centre for professional training of Albanian librarians. The first 2-year part-time training course was opened in this library in 1969, and continues to attract new librarians today. In addition to providing the basic skills to future librarians, the course publishes and distributes various training handbooks, classification tables, and other professional materials, including the journal Buletini i bibliotekave (Library Bulletin) which is published twice a year.