Here we go again. Isn’t this how it all started in Kosovo? Letting the Albanians have their own institutions and letting them make their language dominant? And isn’t Medvedja among the three municipalities represented by a separatist army? Hello?

Serbian University to Teach in Albanian
Medvedja | 13 October 2009 | Nikola Lazic

A new university department, situated in the southern Serbian town of Medvedja, will teach in the Albanian language.

A combined department of the Nis University’s Faculties of Economics and Law opened in Medvedja on Monday, with an initial intake of 33 students of ethnic Albanian and Serbian nationality, who will learn in their native languages in classes that kick off later this week.

The US Agency for International Development and OSCE Mission to Serbia financed the opening of the department, which is located in a local high school building.

“The Serbian government has fulfilled its promise to open a university department in Medvedja, where classes will be held in both the Serbian and Albanian languages. This is a sign that the government is working on resolving issues [in] southern Serbia,” Prime Minister Mirko Cvetkovic said at the opening.

The vice-president of the Coordination Body for South Serbia, Sima Gazikalovic, told Balkan Insight that the opening of the university department, teaching in the Albanian language, was one of the state’s “strategic priorities”.

“Now parents of the students will have less expenses, while youths from both national communities in southern Serbia will have more job opportunities once they finish their studies,” Gazikalovic said.

He announced that, at the beginning of next year, the university’s Law and Economics Departments should open a branch in Presevo and Bujanovac as well.

The speaker of the Presevo local parliament, Skender Destani, told Balkan Insight that the opening of the university department in Medvedja is of considerable importance to ethnic Albanians in the area.

“I expect that local Albanians in Presevo and Bujanovac will also get such an institution in their native language soon […] it will resolve at least part of the problems we face in the education system,” he said.

Young ethnic Albanians from Presevo, Medvedja and Bujanovac municipalities were forced to study in their language in Kosovo, Macedonia and Albania.

Since Kosovo declared independence, on February 17 last year, Serbia does not recognise Kosovo university degrees. Thus, most recent ethnic Albanian graduates cannot apply for jobs in Serbia that they are qualified for.

And of course Serbia’s Vojvodina region is inching closer to neighboring Hungary.

Kosovo, “the final leg of the breakup of Yugoslavia” indeed!