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Population: 3 million

Language: Albanian; Greek

Religion: 56.7% Muslim; 10% Roman Catholic; 6.8% Orthodox; 2.5% atheist; 2.1% Bektashi; 21.9% other


Albania is a small country (about the size of Maryland) located in southeastern Europe. It lies on the Ionian and Adriatic Seas between Greece and Montenegro. Education in Albania takes place in three stages: primary, secondary, and tertiary education. Primary education is mandatory from grade 1 to grade 9. Students must pass the graduation exams at the end of the 9th grade in order to continue their education. After primary school, general education is provided at secondary schools, where students prepare for the exit exam. Passing the exit exam allows them to pursue higher education. Today, approximately 60% of Albanians of university age are enrolled in school.

In the mid-1940s, religious persecution began in Albania under a communist leader with the nationalization of religious property, prosecution of national clergy and believers, and expulsion of foreign priests, monks, and nuns. Persecution peaked in the 1960s as authorities attempted to eliminate all religious life in Albania. The Albanian Constitution of 1976 declared that, “The state recognizes no religion whatever and supports atheist propaganda for the purpose of inculcating the scientific materialist world outlook in people.” However, in the late 1980s, following the death of the communist leader that began the religious persecution, Albania became more religiously tolerant. In December 1990, the ban on religious observance was officially lifted. Today, Albania’s Constitution provides freedom of religion to all citizens and declares no official state religion.

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