Since it was launched in 2010, IBCM has been generously funded by international donors. It has always been in the long-term strategy, as agreed by donors with SPARK, IBCM’s founding and managing organisation, for IBCM to become a financially sustainable, independent college. Over the last two years, SPARK, together with international donors, has been working very hard with the Government of Kosovo to establish a funding agreement that would allow this to happen.
SPARK managed to secure an agreement for five years of funding, which was signed by the Minister of Education, Science and Technology in April 2017. Since this is an international agreement, it must be ratified in the Kosovo Assembly. However, when the Assembly was dissolved in May 2017, the agreement could not be ratified.
Since this occurred, SPARK and the international donors of IBCM have been working intensively with the government to seek emergency funds to last until the new government is formed and the agreement can be ratified.
SPARK has made a formal urgent request to the Minister of Education (Arsim Bajrami) for emergency funding.
Timeline of key events
SPARK has been the legal representative IBCM since it was founded in 2010. This means that representatives of SPARK are responsible for negotiations with the government and donors on IBCM’s behalf.
The acting government is allowed to pass emergency funding which would enable IBCM to keep operations going until a new government and assembly is formed, and the international agreement that would secure 5 years of funding for the college can be ratified. The Minister of Education can bring a request for emergency funding to the next cabinet meeting and then the Prime Minister can use his authority and release the emergency funding
International donors have been generously supporting IBCM from its foundation, but they have now completed the delivery of their funding agreements. Global funding priorities have shifted, and the donors simply do not have any more money allocated for this project.
SPARK, the Dutch NGO that has been managing IBCM, has meanwhile spent 200,000 euro of its own funds to keep the school running until the end of July and has exhausted its capability to advance funding for the Government of Kosovo.
Under Kosovo law, higher education institutions can only be considered public or private. IBCM was created as an international, non-profit college, which in this framework is legally considered “private”. Under the agreement signed with the government, there will be no change to IBCM’s status as an international, non-profit college.
IBCM is a college that the government has an interest in supporting because the mission of the College aligns with several aspects of their national strategy on higher education, including the goal to incorporate minorities in higher education and to produce graduates that are equipped with skills that prepare them for the local labor market.
In 2008 the government of Kosovo decided it would open an international business college in Mitrovica and presented its initiative at an international donor conference in Brussels. Due to the complex environment in Mitrovica, the government of Kosovo requested international support to realise its ambitious initiative.
The Kosovo government provided cash funding of 1.5 million euro for construction works of the campus in South Mitrovica, and provided a written pledge to international donors for future operational costs. It requested the international organisation SPARK to manage IBCM on an interim-basis, until the moment it would become an independent international non-profit college. The international donors have been requesting over the last 2 years that the government of Kosovo lives up to its promises and takes on the operational costs of IBCM so that the college can stay open and the future of its students is secured and their investment is not lost.
SPARK has requested the Minister of Education to appoint a team at the Ministry of Education to work on transfer options for students beyond the 2017 academic year. Students will be informed, according to their study programme and year of study, as soon as this information becomes available.
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