In the oldest neighborhood of the city, known as “Burimat”, near Lasgush Poradeci’s house, a two floors building, in March14th 1887, was opened the fisrt Albanian school in Pogradec. That day, when the first 11 students crossed the threshold, it was windy and snowing. The city and the villages around Pogradec felt that a new era had begun, the era of learning with the books in mother language, which Albanians had preserved in centuries like a language that has been spoken but not written. It’s painful, to imagine today, how young students, Muslim and Christian Orthodox stood on stools.
The first teacher Koço Sotiri, from Gjirokastra, arrived in Pogradec for this school. He taught, under the light of the candle, using plates and carbon instead of notebooks and pencils. The good citizens, Ndini dhe Sotir Gusho, donated their house for the school, meanwhile Kajo Babjeni and other patriots, defended the school with guns. But, other patriots gave their lives defending the Albanian school and the primer book, like Gjok Shqiptari, Aleks Hoçeshta, Dhimitër Mishta, ect. This lovely nest is the starting point of the education and the culture.
In the hall of the art gallery in the Palace of Culture, “Lasgush Poradeci”, is commemorated in a special way the 124th anniversary of the first Albanian school of the city. This school was opened only one week after the school of Korça, in 14 of March 1887, the school celebrated her 124 anniversary. In the center hall of gallery, were exhibited so many photos, facsimiles, and other unknown documents. The exhibition was opened in care of the mayor Artan Shkëmbi, and the president of collectors association Shpëtim Sala. So many documents were brought by Jovan Basho, who preserves in his familiar archive a huge number of facsimiles and photos from the first Albanian school in Pogradec. In that time, when those two schools were opened, Faik Konica wrote that in Albania had over 3000 schools, and none of them was in the Albanian language. The opening of these two schools, in March 7th, was the first blasé flowers that illuminate Albanian pupils.
Amongst the numerous exhibited materials, was an interesting document of Sami Frashëri, where he wrote, that in those two first schools, newly opened, he has been together with other Muslims, Orthodox and Catholics children. The major, Artan Shkëmbi was very enthusiastic for this voluminous material. “I did not expect that this exhibition have such a big flow of documents, photos and facsimiles. I think this is only the beginning, in the future we will realize other projects because our precious history is not appreciated in well-deserved way”-said the major of Pogradec, Artan Shkëmbi. Jovan Basho professor, one of the authors and collector of this exhibition, said: “This is opened in a time when the fundamentals of the nation are shocked from politicians, pseudo-politicians and government…” The president of Albanain Nation Collectors association Shpëtim Sala, among others, said: “Albanian schools, of Korça and Pogradec are enriched by many others cities and villages of Albania. Those schools became the pioneers of preparations of our culture. Education in our language led to the unification of Albanian nation, created the strongest weapon to protect our country from the foreign expansionist.
Albanian newspaper, 13 March 2011