Five students from Kosovo will study at the Academy of the Armed Forces of Albania. This is happening for the first time and it is estimated that it will serve as a bridge of cooperation between the security institutions of both countries.

The Deputy Dean of the Academy of the Armed Forces of Albania, Etleva Smaçi, in an interview for KosovaPress says that between Albania and Kosovo there is a cooperation based on the admission of servicemen at different career levels in institutional courses there.

She also talks about the High Security and Defense Course, which she says serves as a way to integrate into NATO.

“We have a cooperation, which was initially based on the admission of servicemen at different career levels from Kosovo to institutional courses. From 2020, when the level of bachelor studies was reopened at the Academy of the Armed Forces, in the Military Science program and we accepted 60 students, with the cooperation of the two Ministers of Defense it was seen that this cooperation as it was at the level of institutional courses to pass also at the level of bachelor studies, at the first level. Therefore, I am pleased to tell you that in this academic year 2021-2022, we will have for the first time in Military Sciences five students from Kosovo, who will undoubtedly bring a new spirit but will also be a bridge another cooperation between the two institutions “, she says.

All new officers admitted to study in military sciences in Albania have tuition costs covered by the state. Smaça says that this also applies to students from Kosovo.

“Military studies in the Republic of Albania are fully subsidized by the state. So, when a student is admitted to the Academy at the Faculty of Defense and Security, he is provided with accommodation, food, uniform. In fact, the first time he becomes an officer, he receives a monthly payment. So, the cost of studies is zero… Undoubtedly this also applies to students coming from Kosovo “, she says.

The Deputy Dean of the Armed Forces Academy points out the criteria that must be met by candidates aiming to become new officers within the Faculty of Security and Defense.

“The criteria are announced on our official website. Of course there is a certain age where you can become part of this Academy, and that is the age of 22 years. There are criteria of physical character, which has to do with height, with weight. Undoubtedly there are grade point average criteria, all students go through the state matura process, whether those of Albania or Kosovo. They undergo some qualifications, they come and do a physical test, if they can qualify for this test, then they pass the intellectual test and finally there is an interview which is more about getting to know the students that we will recruit “, She says.

Meanwhile, regarding the High Course of Security and Defense, Smaçi says that they have never lacked representatives from Kosovo, and as she says, they later took on very important tasks.

“During all the years that we have organized the High Security and Defense Course, we have never lacked representatives from Kosovo… Although Kosovo has not yet been able to become part of the Partnership for Peace or other instruments, we have seen it as necessary that senior military, who aspire to climb the career ladder in Kosovo, they must not only get the right elements in terms of security and defense, but at the same time know more closely the whole terrain or security environment , having in these courses many representatives from NATO or from the member countries of the Partnership for Peace. “So to speak, it is a way to integrate into NATO,” she said.