Prishtina Hackerspace is a co-working open experimentation space in Prishtina, Kosovo, established exclusively for technological, educational, cultural and scientific purposes. It was established about a year ago by two young and passionate tech enthusiasts, Altin Ukshini and Gent Thaci who managed to get quite far in developing the tech community around it with the help of different organizations, but came to a point where the financial support is a must to push things forward.
Prishtina Hackerspace aims to create and continue a shared space for collaborative technical and artistic experimentation in Prishtina, create a space with resources (hardware, tools, materials, access, knowledge) for members and the community to participate and take responsibility for individual and group projects.
In addition to individual projects, the space will be open for independent member-organized workshops, lectures and presentations, knowledge sharing meetings, group tech projects, those that want to incubate in the hackerspace, and just “hanging around” perhaps to seek help with a project that they might be working on.
Hackerspaces are open participation environments where people of various ages and disciplines learn hands-on in a collaborative, fun manner by making prototypes and tinkering with devices, participating in international competitions or creating ambitious projects from flying machines to biology hacking.
Hackerspaces are community-operated physical spaces which have been in existence for many years in various places around the world largely independent from government sponsorship. Each hackerspace is an autonomous entity, but they all share the same philosophy of having fun building things together.
Kosovo youth lacks programmed activities open to all, especially those that expose niche skills and activities. This need becomes acuter during the long summer vacation when not much happens to keep our youth engaged in educational activities.
The current education paradigm in Kosovo is long overdue for a complete re-structuring. The pedagogic methods belong to a time when information technology was at its infancy, or altogether non-existent. Advanced curricula and pedagogic reformation are of utmost importance. However, the institutions responsible for this fundamental transformation of the educational system in Kosovo lack the resources and know-how to pull off this undertaking.
Innovative youth are left without an alternative to the obsolete system which they are bound to. Their output and contribution to their society is severely limited due to an environment which cannot fulfill their creative potential. Without such contribution from a large portion of the population, Kosovar society continues to be intellectually and creatively handicapped.
Time which could be spent providing ideas and new creations is spent in idle activity and non-productivity. This leads to a cycle of repeating patterns and lethargic attitudes. Creative potential is misdirected or otherwise misused. This continued incapacity for skill development and community cooperation leads to a nation-wide brain-drain, with the majority of the capable workforce seeking to leave the country as the only means for further professional growth. On top of this, the unemployment rate in Kosovo stands at 45%. This number shows that a very large portion of the population is available or can otherwise be persuaded to engage in some form of productive activity if provided the right incentive, or simply space and tools.
According to STIKK, the Kosovo ITC industry group, Kosovo continues to be plagued by an education system that at all levels fail to address the pedagogic and skills training needs of its students and the economy… the quality of graduates is poor and out of sync with workforce requirements.
It is already being discussed a lot around the world, that we have to transform classrooms into collaborative, community supported settings. However, the situation in Kosovo is a bit different. The education system in Kosovo faces an ongoing decentralization process in order to improve the basis of social service delivery. This is a broad socio-cultural task, broader than any formal curriculum can hope to encompass. On the conceptual level it requires an inclusion of questioning of the existing mental models, mostly successfully reproduced through quality education, independent initiatives and social activities.
A number of potential contributors to Kosovo’s information and technology sectors continue to be self-motivated, technologically-aware citizens. However, their platform for communication and cooperation is by and largely non-existent. Their activities are are restricted to virtual spaces instead of physical ones. There is a great need for cooperative spaces which enable these self-motivated individuals to express and develop themselves accordingly.
The status to date
The campaign has managed to raise up to 3,500 dollars to date, from the collective aim of 15,000 $ goal, and with 45 days to go. With the current pace things could go really well and Prishtina might end up with a fantastic hackerspace, which is being due to Kickstarter having country restrictions, apart from the United States of America and the United Kingdom, as well as banks in Kosovo facing transfer issues worldwide, the funding is being collected by Cyrus Farivar, Senior Business Editor at Ars Technica, and also an author and radio producer.
So head on over to Kickstarter, check out the project and support the great campaign for a great cause.