Youth in Albania and the Balkans Prefer Higher Education and Career Development

 According to a survey conducted by the European Training Foundation (ETF), a part of the European Union, approximately 81.9% of young people in Albania and the region aspire to complete higher education, while only 2.98% prefer primary education, 8.9% secondary education, and another 6.5% are unsure about their educational career path.

Youth in Albania and the Balkans Prefer Higher Education and Career Development
The overwhelming majority of young people, around 82%, stated that they aim to complete a higher level of education (including short-cycle bachelor's, master's, doctoral studies, or their equivalents).

Among Albanian adolescents aspiring for higher education, 11.4% aim for bachelor's studies only, 34.1% aim for both bachelor's and master's studies, and 27.3% aim for doctoral studies as well.

The aspirations for higher education levels among Albanian youth are similar to the region (see the chart below) except in Romania, where only 5.5% of young people aspire for doctoral studies.

Survey participants and focus group attendees mentioned that young people face high expectations from their families and societies. Therefore, these educational aspirations may largely reflect familial expectations and consequently societal ones, to attain the highest possible education.

ETF analysis shows, however, that these expectations are highly problematic because they do not necessarily reflect labor market needs or skills. Parental expectations often do not acknowledge the possibilities regarding wages, career paths, and job satisfaction that may come from professional counseling.

Follow-up studies on graduates' employment can be a highly useful tool to guide young people who have not yet started higher education. Labor force surveys and labor market statistics are important information elements for young people in the early stages of education.

Both in Albania and the region, young people aim to overqualify for elementary professions that do not require higher education, such as agriculture, forestry, fishing, and crafts.

Elementary professions are preferred by 60% of young people who also aspire to have a higher level of education even though it is not necessary.

ETF highlights that schools in the region should develop curricula to help students understand the relationship between education levels, professions, and job prospects.
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