Albania was in a transition period at the end of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st century. During the years 1946–1992, Albania was under a dictatorship regime, which was characterised by isolation—communication was forbidden with Serbia, Macedonia, Croatia, and others—and by fraud. According to the Partia e Punës e Shqipërisë (Albanian Party of Labor, or P.P.Sh), the party that was leading the country, Albania was first in the world in terms of welfare, but in reality it was in economic collapse due to excessive debt. Documents from that period show that all the public funds were being used for armies, which are now considered unnecessary. Today, Albania is a full member of international mechanisms, including NATO.

Welfare: If we compare per capita income over one year, we can say that it has increased 50-fold during this transition period. In the late 20th century, the minimum monthly salary was 400 Albanian Lek (ALL), or 4,800 ALL annually; today that figure is 20,000 ALL monthly and 240,000 ALL annually.

Education: The old education model has also been changed. The previous eight years of elementary school, four years of high school, and four years of university have been replaced with nine years of elementary school, three years of high school, three years of university for a bachelor’s degree, and two more years of university for a master’s degree. Typically, graduated students choose to go abroad to pursue further specialisations – something that was forbidden under the dictatorship regime. Anyone who tried to go abroad during that period risked a prison sentence, and having their family deported to camps in the most mountainous part of Albania.

Infrastructure: Road infrastructure in the past was not very developed because of the small number of cars, which were only available to officials. Today, Albania has 2.7 million cars and has seen major development of its infrastructure.

Technology: In the late 20th century, there were no mobile phones. Land-line phones, or ‘home phones’, were introduced then, while mobile phones with touch-screens and QWERTY keyboards did not come to Albania until the early 21st century.

Albania still has a hard challenge in front of her, including the achievement of European Union membership.

Prepared by: Suad Tafili

High school ‘28 Nentori’, Shkoder