This chapter provides a thematic and chronological overview of national reforms and policy developments since 2021. The introduction of the chapter describes the overall education strategy and the key objectives across the whole education system. It also looks at how the education reform process is organised and who are the main actors in the decision-making process. The section on ongoing reforms and policy developments groups reforms in the following broad thematic areas that largely correspond to education levels:
Inside each thematic area, reforms are organized chronologically. The most recent reforms are described first.
Overall national education strategy and key objectives
The institutional picture of the education sector in Bosnia and Herzegovina is a reflection of the state regulation, defined by the Constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina, entity and cantonal constitutions, and the Statute of the Brčko district of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and on the basis of which the competences in the field of education are defined. Accordingly, the competent educational authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina have their own laws and strategies, as well as other bylaws that define the principles and standards of all levels of education.
In the area of education, the Ministry of Civil Affairs BiH in the field of its jurisdiction in co-operation with competent educational and other authorities, the development and adoption of a number of strategies defining different levels of education. Currently valid strategic documents at the level of BiH are:
- Guidelines for improving online teaching and combined teaching for educational systems in Bosnia and Herzegovina in the context of quality (and) inclusive education The emergency situation caused by the Covid-19 pandemic significantly affected the implementation of the educational process. The transition from the traditional model of teaching in the classroom to teaching in a virtual environment brought numerous challenges that had to be faced by all interested parties of the educational process: pupils/students, teachers, parents and even educational policy makers and competent authorities in the field of education. In the context of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), the very process of changing the legislative framework, i.e. by-laws, which would ensure the possibility of conducting classes via the Internet, while still talking about the quality of educational work, was complex and carries differences at the level of administrative units. . An overview of changes in by-laws at the level of administrative units is available in the Overview study on the quality of distance teaching and combined learning in primary and secondary education (and ZiTO) in Bosnia and Herzegovina during the coronavirus pandemic (UNICEF, 2021a) and the Overview study on the quality of learning at distance in higher education in Bosnia and Herzegovina during the COVID-19 pandemic (UNESCO, 2021). The studies state that the competent educational authorities made it possible for classes to be established relatively quickly when it comes to the legal-administrative aspect and that most of the obstacles were removed in a timely manner thanks to the quick interventions of the competent educational authorities and governments in order to ensure the continuity of education.
- Improvement of Quality and Relevance of Vocational Education and Training in Bosnia and Herzegovina in the Light of Riga Conclusions (for the period 2021-2030) was adopted. By investing in vocational education and training at all government levels, the authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina will develop a highquality and accessible initial education that both students, their parents and the society at large will recognise as attractive. Vocational education and training should ensure recognised and high-quality qualifications and key and specific technical competences recognised in the labour market that ensure progress and economic growth. In order to achieve this goal, the Ministry of Civil Affairs of Bosnia and Herzegovina initiated the activities related to the development of the document ''Improvement of Quality and Relevance of Vocational Education and Training in Bosnia and Herzegovina – in the Light of Riga Conclusions – for the Period 2021-2030''
- Priorities in the integration of entrepreneurial learning and entrepreneurial key competencies in education systems in BiH (2021 - 2030) was adopted - The aim of the document is to harmonize the priorities and next steps in the development of entrepreneurial learning and entrepreneurial competence in accordance with the relevant key EU policies defined in the European Framework for Entrepreneurial Competence. The activities on the drafting of the document were realized with the involvement of the creators of educational policies and educational experts - representatives of the competent ministries, pedagogical institutes, educational institutions, and teachers.
- The Platform for development of preschool education in BiH for the period 2017 - 2022 was adopted - the Ministry of Civil Affairs of BiH, in cooperation with the competent educational authorities in BiH, in the period 2015-2016, with the support of UNICEF in BiH, worked intensively on the Platform document for the development of pre-school education in Bosnia and Herzegovina for the period 2017-2022, which was finalized in April 2016. On December 4, 2017, the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina adopted the Platform for the Development of Preschool Education in Bosnia and Herzegovina Herzegovina for the period 2017-2022
- Baseline of the qualification framework in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the initial document of the process of building and establishing a qualification framework on the basis of the European qualifications framework for lifelong learning is a framework for action for all institutions and individuals who, in accordance with their jurisdiction, are involved in the process of preparing the qualifications framework. The starting points set out in this document are also guidelines for harmonization of regulations regulating the areas of primary, secondary and higher education, ie lifelong learning, as well as better linking of changes and needs of the labor market with educational programs in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
- Action Plan for the Preparation and Implementation of the Qualification Framework in Bosnia and Herzegovina for the period 2014-2020 is a work plan for all major activities for the development and implementation of a qualification framework in Bosnia and Herzegovina for all institutions and individuals who, in accordance with their competencies, are involved in drafting and implementation of a qualification framework in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The qualification framework is an instrument necessary to ensure the equal use and application of standards: education and occupation, learning outcomes, qualifications, competence and certification of educational providers.
- Principles and standards in adult education in Bosnia and Herzegovina (2014) represent the legal basis for the work of educational and other authorities - responsible bodies, institutions, organizations and individuals at all levels of government in Bosnia and Herzegovina as a framework for initiating, implementing and coordinating their activities in the field of adult education, in accordance with established jurisdiction. Principles and standards of adult education establish common principles and standards that are based, develop, implement and coordinate policies and legislation related to adult education throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina, monitors, assesses and considers the situation in this area, and negotiates, proposes and undertakes measures to improve it. The basic principles and standards define the Principles and Standards of Adult Education, follow international and European principles and standards in the field of adult education, and respect the specificities of the economic, social and cultural context in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
- Strategic platform for development of adult education in the context of lifelong learning in Bosnia and Herzegovina, for the period 2014-2020, represents the legal framework and basis for the operation and cooperation of the competent authorities, institutions, organizations and individuals at all levels of government in Bosnia and Herzegovina in the area of adoption and full implementation of the necessary strategic and / or other development documents and adult education. The Strategic platform identifies the global directions of adult education in Bosnia and Herzegovina for the period 2014-2020. as a common platform for the development of modern adult education policies in Bosnia and Herzegovina, based on the concept of lifelong learning. The Strategic Platform establishes the basis for a systematic cross-sectoral approach to strategic planning of the development of adult education in Bosnia and Herzegovina and initiates the necessary reform processes in this area that should contribute to greater competitiveness in the knowledge and labor market, increased mobility and professional flexibility of the individual and socio-economic revitalization.
- Roadmap for the implementation of the EU Directive on regulated professions 2005 / 36EC and 2013 / 55EU was prepared on the basis of a previously prepared Gap analysis in which the analysis of legislation in Bosnia and Herzegovina was carried out in relation to the requirements of Directive 2005/36 / EC of the European Parliament and of the Council Of the European Union on regulated professions and amendments to Directive 2013/55 / EU. Implementation of recommendations from the Roadmap increases the level of harmonization of relevant domestic legislation with the EU Directive in line with this, which is certainly the responsibility of Bosnia and Herzegovina on its path to EU membership.
- Priorities for development of higher education in Bosnia and Herzegovina for the period 2016-2026 are the main measures and activities that need to be implemented in Bosnia and Herzegovina in order to strengthen the development of higher education on the one hand, and, on the other hand, achieve full inclusion in the European Higher Education Area . The priorities for the development of higher education are grouped into seven key areas: good governance and management, resources; the integration of the labor market and higher education; standards of qualifications, student experience, internationalization and statistics.
The activities conducted in the framework of the Bologna process for higher education reform are supervised and conducted by an authority called the Bologna Follow-up Group (BFUG). The Group is responsible for the preparation of all documents for biennial Conference of Ministers responsible for Higher Education in the European Higher Education Area, consisting of representatives – experts of each of the member countries of the Bologna Process. The Group serves the Bologna Secretariat and the host country of the Secretariat rotates every two years.
Overview of the education reform process and drivers
Reform processes in Bosnia and Herzegovina are carried out in cooperation with all 14 competent educational institutions. The Ministry of Civil Affairs of BiH, which includes the Education Sector, coordinates these activities. Competent educational authorities have complete autonomy to regulate their educational system. Coordination of activities from the state level provides support to all actors to improve these processes. The aim of the reform processes is to improve the quality of education, support equality and access to education through the improvement of inclusive teaching, support for teaching and other staff, improved transition between different levels of education and easier access to the labor market.