Skip to main content
European Commission logo
EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice

Bosnia and Herzegovina

4.Early childhood education and care


Last update: 27 November 2023

Place guarantee to ECEC

Public early childhood education and care (ECEC) institutions are set up by the local government assembly in accordance with the criteria established by the responsible ministries, as specified in law. In addition to public institutions, there are also private ECEC institutions.

There is no legal guarantee to a place in ECEC for children under the age of 5 years. Preschool education is compulsory only for 1-year before enrolment in primary school, for up to 5 hours per week during the school year, and only in the Federation of B&H and the Brčko District. In Republika Srpska, this programme in the year before enrolment in primary school is not compulsory, but the programme operates for 10-hours per week during the period from March to June. Enrolment in nursery and kindergarten groups is voluntary and, as such, it is not high in B&H. The ECEC participation rate (for children aged 0–5 years) was 17.2% in 2019. There is a national enrolment plan, and in accordance with this plan, each year the kindergartens publish an advertisements for admission of children to preschool education.


The prices of preschool education services are also a limiting factor in enabling a larger number of children to attend this form of education, with many parents being deterred by the cost. Although the legislation on pre-school education establishes an obligation to provide preschool education, the owners of preschool institutions often do not provide sufficient financial support for children to attend this form of education. The price set by the owners varies from institution to institution, as does the proportion of the cost that parents or guardians pay for their children to attend preschool education. This affects the quality of preschool education and leads to children not enjoying their right to preschool education under equal conditions.

The price of attending preschool institutions varies from canton to canton and from place to place and ranges from BAM 100 to BAM 300 (approximately EUR 50–150) for a full-day stay, and from BAM 50 to BAM 150 (approximately EUR 25–75) for a half-day stay.

The short compulsory pre-primary programme (maximum of 200 hours) is free of charge in the Federation of B&H and the Brčko District; it is also free of charge in Republika Srpska, where this programme is not compulsory but is fully implemented.