From Books to Bytes: Exploring the Digital Transformation of Higher Education in Albania

The “From Books to Bytes” forum in Shkodra, coordinated by Dr. Erjon Curraj, concluded the Jean Monnet Module by delving into digital transformation in higher education. Esteemed speakers like Dr. Diana Biba, Mr. Kushtrim Shala, Ms. Elvisa Drishti, Ms. Orkidea Xhaferaj, and Mr. Valer Pinderi provided insights on various facets, from digital transformation in academia to the interplay between digital competencies and the labor market. This event highlighted the collaborative effort required to foster a digitally inclusive educational landscape in Albania, aligning with broader European digital agendas.

The Professional College of Tirana (KPT), with the support of the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union, successfully implemented the Jean Monnet Module “Embracing EU Digital Agenda: Challenges and Opportunities of Digital Transformation in Albania” (EDA), coordinated by Dr. Erjon Curraj. The project contributed to enhancing knowledge and competences among students on the EU Digital Agenda and the challenges and opportunities of digital transformation processes in public and private sectors in Albania. The module expanded knowledge in non-EU related fields of study, such as information and communication technology, electronics, database and web design, and office administration, regarding EU integration and the EU Digital Agenda. As a final activity of the Jean Monnet Module, the “From Books to Bytes: Exploring the Digital Transformation of Higher Education in Albania” Forum is being organized in Shkodra in cooperation with University Luigj Gurakuqi of Shkodra. 

Forum Agenda


The forum provided a platform to share knowledge and expertise gained from the Jean Monnet Module and discuss challenges and opportunities for digital transformation in higher education in Albania with stakeholders, including other Erasmus+ projects working in similar areas. Organized alongside the kick-off meeting of the “University to Society Collaborations for Inclusive Digital Transformation in the Western Balkans” (U2SID) project led by University Luigj Gurakuqi of Shkodra, it builds synergy with other Erasmus+ projects, capitalizing on results and expanding the network. U2SID aims to foster inclusive digital transformation in the Western Balkans through increased collaboration between universities, businesses, policy makers, civil society, and media. Furthermore, U2SID builds on the results of the Erasmus+ USIA project, which established Knowledge Transfer and Innovation Brokerage units, including at the Professional College of Tirana, to strengthen institutional and human resources capacities. These projects recognize the paramount importance of collaboration between universities, civil society, businesses, policy makers, and media.


The Jean Monnet module also aligns with this principle of the Quadruple Helix and has previously organized public events and forums bringing together stakeholders from academia, government, business, and civil society to discuss digital transformation in Albania and its alignment with the EU Agenda. Concrete topics covered include inclusive digitalization for the post-COVID-19 reality, the digitalization of public services and opportunities and gaps for local services in Albania, and the digital transformation of businesses and the role of academia. The forum seeks to leverage the Jean Monnet Module’s outcomes and continue the discussion about the future of digital transformation in higher education in Albania, building on the Quadruple Helix approach to drive collaboration between universities, businesses, policy makers, civil society, and media.



“From Books to Bytes: Exploring the Digital Transformation of Higher Education in Albania” Forum aimed to create a platform for diverse stakeholders to share their experiences and knowledge regarding digital transformation in higher education in Albania. It provided an opportunity to discuss how to make digital transformation comprehensive and inclusive in higher education, and to showcase the potential of university collaborations with other stakeholders to digitally transform higher education. Through the dissemination of outcomes from the Jean Monnet Module, this forum also aims to contribute to ongoing efforts to create a comprehensive and inclusive digital transformation in Albania and the Western Balkans. It was an essential event for those interested in the impact of digital transformation on the society and economy of Albania and the Western Balkans. Ultimately, this forum fostered further discussions and actions towards creating a more digitally transformed higher education system in Albania.


The event commenced with a welcome note from Dr. Diana Biba, the college’s administrator, setting the stage for a series of engaging discussions on the intersection of digital technology and higher education. Dr. Curraj provided a comprehensive overview of the digital transformation within higher education, addressing the shift from traditional learning materials to digital resources. His insights paved the way for contributions from various experts who addressed the implications of this digital shift on different sectors. Mr. Kushtrim Shala, a prominent figure in the Albanian tech community, shared his perspective from the business sector, highlighting the need for academia and industry to align more closely in the age of digitalization. Dr. Elvisa Drishti from the University Luigj Gurakuqi in Shkodra discussed the transition from higher education to the labor market in Albania, emphasizing the principles of Fairwork and the importance of equitable practices in the digital age.


The forum also tackled the critical topic of digital skills and rights, with Ms. Orkidea Xhaferaj, founder of the Network of Albanian Women in STEM/SCiDEV, articulating the connection between digital competencies and fundamental digital rights. Mr. Valer Pinderi, representing the Albanian E-commerce Association, further discussed how digital competencies are shaping the labor market, stressing the need for a workforce that is not only skilled but also adaptable to the digital economy’s rapid evolution.


The event concluded with Dr. Biba and Dr. Curraj synthesizing the discussions and outlining a path forward for higher education in the digital era. They emphasized the continued importance of dialogue, collaboration, and innovation in shaping a future where digital transformation in education is not only embraced but also strategically implemented to enhance learning outcomes.


Following the formal sessions, the event provided a space for informal networking, allowing for the free exchange of ideas and fostering connections that promise to fuel future collaborations and advancements in the field of digital education.


More on the final event: 












Jean Monnet Module Public Event – “Celebrating Erasmus + 35 years making history: Digital Transformation of Businesses and the role of Academia”

On the 20th of September, 2022, from 15:00 to 16:30, the Room Concilium at the Professional College of Tirana, Albania, buzzed with the spirit of commemoration and forward-thinking as we celebrated the 35th anniversary of Erasmus+, the EU’s flagship program for education, training, youth, and sport.

The event, marking a milestone of 35 life-changing years, of Erasmus+ brought together a diverse group of stakeholders, including esteemed members from academia, policy-making institutions, and the business community.

Dr. Erjon Curraj, serving as the Jean Monnet Module Coordinator, took the stage to share his insights and experiences. His message was clear and relatable: digital technology is not just a tool for innovation; it’s a means to bring people together. With Erasmus+ at the heart of this movement, Dr. Curraj highlighted the program’s unique ability to foster cooperation across various domains.

Touching on e-commerce, Dr. Curraj pointed out its growing importance within the EU Digital Agenda 2030 and its potential to significantly impact Albania’s economic landscape. By leveraging the digital skills and creative energy of young professionals, he envisioned a future where Albania actively participates in the global digital marketplace.

The event brought together different stakeholders within the aim of the project to expand the knowledge and expertise on European Union. Jola Osmënaj from KPT set the tone with a welcoming introduction, while Ms. Kleina Kasanai, Director of the National Youth Agency, brought attention to the crucial role of the youth in digitalization. Idlir Ahmati, from Albanian E-Commerce Association, provided practical insights into the e-commerce sector’s evolution, and Prof. Assoc Nevila Xhindi, Erasmus+ Project Leader discussed how Erasmus+ projects like USIA are creating a meaningful knowledge exchange between academia, civil society and private sector. She also highlighted the importance of building synergies among different Erasmus+ projects and congratulated the Professional College of Tirana for the outreach activities to various stakeholders through the Jean Monnet Module.

Aris Tasho from the Tirana Chamber of Commerce and Industry contributed to the discussion by exploring the intersection of business and digital innovation, reinforcing the idea that technological advancements are shaping new business models and opportunities.

Dr. Diana Biba, Team member of Jean Monnet Module and Law Lecturer, wrapped up the event with closing remarks that encapsulated the shared sentiments of the day. The discussions not only celebrated Erasmus+’s rich legacy but also set a tone of active engagement and collaboration for the future.

In essence, the 35th anniversary of Erasmus+ was not merely a look back at its illustrious past but an affirmation of its ongoing mission to unite diverse groups through shared goals and digital progression. It was a reminder that every individual, institution, and innovation counts in the collective effort to build a digitally inclusive future.

Korça county digitizes administrative services, but digital skills & awareness is required for citizens in order to use them - "Jean Monnet" Forum stops in Korçë

The Korçë District is advancing its administrative services through digitalization, a move that necessitates enhanced digital skills and heightened citizen awareness for effective utilization. The “Jean Monnet” Forum in Korçë emphasized the crucial role of youth training, adequate infrastructure, and internet access in driving Albania’s digital transformation across various sectors including business, public services, and education. This transformation calls for robust collaboration among public institutions, the educational sector, businesses, and civil society. Exactly this connection was made possible on 25 March 2022 in Korça by the forum “Digitalization of public services: Opportunities and challenges for local services in Albania”, within the Jean Monnet Module “Embracing the Digital Agenda of the European Union: Challenges and opportunities of digital transformation in Albania” / ( EDA), financed by the Erasmus+ program of the European Union and coordinated by Dr. Erjon Curraj at the Professional College of Tirana.

Important representatives of the Korçë District, the local government, the university, civil society and professional education were present at the forum. The Mayor of Devoll Municipality, Mr. Eduard Duro, and Mr. Gëzim Topçiu, Mayor of Maliqi, specifically focused on the process of digitalization of administrative services in the municipality, emphasizing the importance of the process for increasing the quality of services and transparency. Dr. Erjon Curraj, Jean Monnet Module Coordinator, emphasized that municipalities have an important role to enable digital services for their citizens, starting with one-stop administrative services and then with other services. Today, almost all the municipalities of the country, but in particular the 52 that are under the care of the Star 3 project of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) are transforming services by creating a one-stop service format and it is expected that at the end of the year to be offered online through e-albania.

Dr. Benita Stavre, Deputy. Rector of the Fan S. Noli University of the University of Korça, emphasized the challenges and opportunities offered by online learning during the COVID19 pandemic and how digitization is now the key word to offer quality teaching and research. In the same line with the logic of the forum, she argued that it is important to increase cooperation between different sectors in order to alleviate the deficiencies in access to digitization of different social groups.

Ms. Klea Bojko, teacher of programming languages at the Professional School F.S. Noli in Korçë initiated the activation of young people in various educational and extra-curricular projects in the field of technology and especially in its application in agriculture. These strengthen their skills and prepare them for the labor market, so it is necessary for vocational schools and universities to work closely with businesses and municipalities to increase opportunities for young people.

Dr. Diana Biba, lecturer at the Professional College of Tirana, underlined that the quality of the laboratories and work practices offered to you is very important for the digital professional training of young people. Again, learning combined with business practices as well as study visits abroad are added value for the preparation of future professionals.

In conclusion, Dr. Erjon Curraj, Coordinator of the Jean Monnet Module, underlined that universities and professional schools have a role in promoting the digital agenda by equipping young people not only with technology, but also with digital rights and preparing them for the labor market. On the other hand, he emphasized that the awareness of the added value of digitalization, the opportunity it offers but also the understanding of the challenges, should be done with all local government institutions as there is a constant need for the qualification and training of the staff as well as their motivation. . The more skilled and aware citizens will be, the more demanding they will be from the government, thus improving transparency, services and accountability.


Forum Agenda

Empowering the next generation through digital skills and mobility: Erasmus + Opportunities

As October steps in, on the occasion of #ErasmusDays 2021, the Professional College of Tirana is hosting a workshop for academics, students, practitioners, policymakers, representative of business
sector and civil society, other stakeholders, to show case the opportunities offered by Erasmus+ for empowering the next
generation through digital skills and mobility, to discuss student and staff exchange in the context of the new normal,
networking and brainstorming for future collaborations and projects.
This workshop will also serve to present and communicate the current Erasmus+ projects in which KPT is involved in:
Jean Monnet Module, higher education capacity building (CBHE), VET Mobility.
This event is open to interested individuals and organizations to join either physically or via Zoom.

Inclusive digitalization for post-COVID-19 reality: Jean Monnet Module Open Platform with key stakeholders

The forum was organised as a blended event at Tumo Tirana  Center and over Zoom, livestreamed on Facebook. It was organised under the auspices of Dr. Erjon Curraj, on the occasion of the World Day of Creativity and Innovation at Tumo Tirana on April 22. This forum brought together actors from the education, business and development sectors to discuss the role of education and vocational training in building a resilient Albania in the context of a new post-COVID-19 reality and the comprehensive use of technology.


Jean Monnet Module “Embracing EU Digital Agenda: Challenges and Opportunities of Digital Transformation in Albania” / (EDA) at the Professional College of Tirana (KPT). Jean Monnet Module is coordinated by Dr. Erjon Curraj supported by Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union. It will develop knowledge and competences among students’ community on EU Digital Agenda, related challenges and opportunities of digital transformation processes in Albania. The Jean Monnet module intents to expand the knowledge and competences of EU to non-EU related fields of study such as information and communication technology, electronics, database and web design, office administration etc. It takes this debate at national level by organising Open Platforms such the forum on 22nd April 2021 on the occasion of World Creativity and Innovation Day on Inclusive Digitalisation as a tool for building post COVID-19 resilient Albania: The role of Vocational and Education Training.

The forum presented some concrete suggestions on the role of education and vocational training in building a resilient Albania in the post-COVID reality through inclusive digitalisation. As such, representatives of VET programs in Albania (Skills for JobsRIsiAlbaniaSkills for Development), business representatives (Balfin Group), local government (Municipality of Tirana), higher education institutions (KPT) and new spaces for the development of digital skills of young people such as Tumo Tirana Center, ICT Academy, and civil society come together to discuss inclusive digitalisation as a tool for building post COVID-19 resilient Albania by focusing on the role of Vocational and Education Training.

Jean Monnet Module Open Platform for Inclusive Digitalisation and VET 

Full Video 

Democratisation of vocational education and training through technology: digital and blended learning

Fation Dragoshi, Project Manager, Skills for Jobs, stressed that we need to prepare for the alpha generation that use advanced technology. Given that the pandemic has changed the way we approach technology in the field of education and that it has dictated the acceleration of learning through digital technology, large investments in supporting infrastructure are also required. Mr. Dragoshi pointed out that schools, staff and their partners as well as donors have tried to adapt and invest in digital learning in the conditions of the pandemic. “Today we are in a situation where the MësoVET platform has 7500 VET students and 820 teachers who use the platform daily with the assistance of experts, but the teaching is being realised in an online learning platform.” Then he added that “further we are thinking about how we can democratise the way didactic materials are realised and distributed, this requires the will to embrace technology and use it in the interest of teaching.” He further underlined that technology will help us democratise the learning process and overcome the stalemate of disengaged students in the classroom. Technology is a more comfortable environment for young people and so through technology and the teacher does not need to dictate but help students how to understand and process information to cultivate ideas, find solutions and become a new professional. Combined learning should be attractive to young people.

From digitalisation in education to business and labor market demands

Edlira Muedini, Project Manager, RisiAlbania, presented the three pillars of the project: creating new jobs by supporting the private sector to bring innovation; training of young people through support for private VET providers and mediation and career services. Due to the pandemic, RisiAlbania partners have been forced somehow to introduce innovative solutions to combine capacity development in a combined form both online and in practice. A study supported by RisiAlbania analysed 175 businesses for the consequences of COVID-19. For the information and communication technology sector, COVID-19 had presented opportunities and the list of skills that these businesses prioritized were all digital skills. So, businesses need digital skills, and this is a signal to providers of vocational education and training. Further Mrs. Muedini highlighted some of the sectors of Albania’s digital economy such as the online security sector, digital marketing, e-commerce, as well as subcontracted services. Digitalization of career and job mediation services is also a priority and RisiAlbania has supported karriera.tirana.al and expertlane.al, fully digitalized platforms for young people for career counselling. “Albania has talents and despite the challenges in the use of technology in teaching or business, these talents have achieved results and the talents must be supported” – said Mrs. Muedini.

Support through systemic interventions and vision

Eno Ngjela, Program Specialist, UNDP in Albania, focused on the skills needed by the market until 2030 such as data science, Artificial Intelligence, design, multimedia and others, i.e. digital skills. On the other hand, there are skills that require creative, analytical, critical thinking, emotional intelligence and which can not necessarily be learned through the curriculum but acquired throughout life. “We can invest in infrastructure and technology, but first we have to invest in these skills. The younger generation needs a basis to put these digital capabilities at the service of a future economy.” There is a big difference between venture capital investment in technology and quality use of these technologies. For example, the INSTAT survey on the use of ICT in enterprises shows that they invest in ICT, but few employees use the computer at work and on average 27.2% use it. “This gap should be closed through investment in quality education and vocational training and higher education, but also in the formation of the next generation from an early age of 3-6 years who embrace digital skills. It is necessary to invest at the systemic level and not only in specific sectors” – underlined Mr. Ngjela.

Vocational education and training – a sector of interest and growth

From 2017 there is an increase in VET and ICT education, and this is a good signal. VET’s reputation is also changing with donor support. From 6.25 which was the average grade in VET, in 2020-2021 the average went to 7.23, so teaching can be done very well in VET and in ICT subjects such as programming, coding, etc. and companies are more open-minded about employee training since VET. Panelists agreed that the challenge is how VET should be a career-inspiring alternative for young people. The Tumo Tirana model can be a model to inspire young people to approach technology and innovation and develop their digital skills.

Are we preparing young people with these digital skills?


Fabjan Lashi, UNDP and SCiDEV, argued that the pandemic was also a missed opportunity due to the unpreparedness of the education and business sector to create added value from digital reality, the benefit of technology advantages should have been capitalised by thinking strategically for the future. The problem is with tabular thinking, and it challenges young people, educators, and businesses to capitalise on and add value to technology and digital skills. 

Business looking for employees with digital skills and the ability to adapt to change

Ogerta Manelli, Balfin Group highlighted Balfin Group’s initiatives to use technology and create a work culture accessible to advanced technology such as virtual reality and augmented reality. She stressed the continuing need of companies for skilled employees and equipped with digital skills and the ability to adapt to change. The business has long sought cooperation with the education sector to foster innovation and qualify staff. “Another business challenge is the resistance or difficulty of staff embracing technology and how much it is necessary to work with work practices and culture. It is important that such panels have institutional interaction to identify problems and identify solutions to be addressed in cooperation” – she underlined.


Regarding this Dr. Curraj underlined the low level of investment by research and development enterprises in Albania and suggested that small enterprises should be supported to invest in research and development and invest in technology. Collaborating with providers of vocational education and training to conduct internships or hire young professionals also helps in a more comprehensive digitalization of the economy in the country.

What about policy making?


The panelists stressed that it is necessary for the discussion to involve policy-making actors. These digital capabilities are creating a workforce that intends to flee abroad, so there is no added value to the economy and labor market in Albania. The discussion should be how the development of innovation can contribute to the Albanian economy. Policy makers are essential to make that qualitative leap in the use of technology stressed Mr. Ngjela. Examples such as Israel and Estonia show how clear political orientation and strategic investment in ICT inclusion in education from an early age clearly show that there must be political will to overcome the challenge.

Dialogue and collaboration between education, business and policy making


Dr. Erjon Curraj, Jean Monnet Module Coordinator and digitalization expert stressed that “the linkage and dialogue between policy-making, business and academia in the form of the Triple Helix is a mechanism that must become functional to bring about systemic change to prepare for a sustainable economy. post-COVID and aiming for inclusive digitalisation.”


Recently, some positive cases were brought in the development of digital skills of young people such as the Albanian ICT Academy and the attendees heard the testimonies of two students at the Professional College of Tirana who with their success in the labor market serve as ambassadors of digitalization in the community.

Jean Monnet Open Platform in the Media

Jean Monnet Open Platform organised by Dr. Erjon Curraj with the participation of key actors in the VET ecosystem in Albania, business sector, policy, civil society and academia was covered by newspapers at a national level. 


Full article at Liberale Newspaper 
Full article at Mapo Newspaper 

Jean Monnet Activities Kick Off Meeting


The meeting brought together the different granted project coordinators of 2020 and the Jean Monnet team of the Education, Audio-visual and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA).

The purpose of the meeting was to provide important information on the management of 2020 grant agreement/decision, for the Jean Monnet Activity; to answer questions of grantees and to facilitate networking.

Embracing the future, now! – Dr. Erjon Curraj key speaker in the panel discussion on digital transformation with the Dutch Embassy.

Centre Science and Innovation for Development (SCiDEV), with the support of the Embassy of the Netherlands in Albania, hosted an open forum with stakeholders to explore how prioritizing digital skills upgrade in Albania can boost the economy. By bringing together the perspectives of policymakers, business, academia, and civil society, SCiDEV is initiating partnerships that transform the digital future’s challenges into opportunities. They aim to raise awareness on the full potential of digital skills for the future of Albania’s economy, also in light of the European integration perspective and the SDGs.

He Ambassador Guusje Korthals Altes, Embassy of the Netherlands in Albania, underlined that “Nowadays technology is no longer an option, but a necessity. However, we need to ensure to keep people at the heart of this process and ensure inclusivity“.  She also highlighted the achievements of Netherlands in this regard as a frontrunner in digital skills as core pillar of economic growth. Mr. Arjan Goudsblom, from Preneurz Amsterdam, shared more about the Dutch experience regarding innovation ecosystem, knowledge system and digital transformation. He highlighted the new model of entrepreneurial university and the need for greater coordination among different stakeholders, also pointing about the work that is currently being done by the EU for Innovation Programme. Mr Goudsblom emphasised the challenges in changing culture and mindsets towards digital transformation and innovation, thus it is important to work with younger generations and education system.

Dr. Erjon Curraj, digital transformation expert and Jean Monnet Module Coordinator with a grant awarded by the European Commission on embracing the digital agenda and exploring challenges and opportunities in the case of Albania at the Professional College of Tirana, focused his intervention on digital skills, digital transformation and innovation for finding the economic niche of Albania in the post COVID-19 world. He emphasised: “We need inclusive digitalization and sustainable innovation and focus on digital skills education for young generations and upgrading of skills for human resources in both public and private sectors”.  He stressed that stakeholders from academia, business, policy and civil society need to work together to provide solutions to challenges on how to use the potential of modern information and communication technologies in order to improve the quality of life of all citizens, increase employment, work efficiency and economic growth of society.

ErasmusDays 2020 @KPT: Jean Monnet Module more than a project

On the occasion of ErasmusDays 2020, the Professional College of Tirana hosted a workshop for academics and students to share the European values, to promote the Erasmus+ program, the opportunities and its future development. The workshop entitled “ Arrij Europën me Erasmus ”, was organized on 17 October 2020 at the premises of Professional College of Tirana with the participation of the National Erasmus+ Office in Albania. This workshop served to present the upcoming Erasmus+ projects where KPT is part. The event was opened to academics and students from other partner HEI who liked to have a thorough knowledge of what the Erasmus+ Programme is about. Due to the Corvid 19 strict measures, the event gathered 25 academics and students from other higher education institutions, partners of KPT. The Rector, Prof. Dr. Luan Karcanaj welcomed the participants and the Coordinator of the NEO Albania, Mrs. Ada Ramaj congratulated the achievements of this HEI in the Erasmus+ program in 2020 particularly for the Jean Monnet Module, coordinated by Dr. Erjon Curraj.

Dr. Curraj presented the key information of the Jean Monnet Module ““Embracing EU Digital Agenda: Challenges and Opportunities of Digital Transformation in Albania” / (EDA) and highlighted the opportunities it offers for students and academics, but also to the private sector, media and policy sector to engage in digital transformation, particularly considering COVID-19 induced reality.
Mrs. Diana Biba briefly introduced the two CBHE projects that KPT will start soon as a partner with HEIs from Werstern Balkans and European Union.
This is the second time KPT organizes Erasmus Days. On the occasions of Erasmus Days 2019, KPT with the support of National Erasmus+ Office in Albania and Erasmus Student Network in Albania organized an info session for the academics and students to encourage them to apply on Erasmus+ programme and the results are to be applauded. Dr. Erjon Curraj has been awarded with Jean Monnet Module and KPT is partnering in 2 CBHE projects.

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