European, Global and Intercultural Dimension in Curriculum Development
In late 2007, the Council of Ministers adopted a Decision on the adoption of the documents necessary for the further implementation of the Bologna process in BiH. It concerns seven documents including the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications in BiH, Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in Higher Education in BiH, the National Action Plan for Recognition of Qualifications in BiH, and the Diploma Supplement Model for BiH. The above-mentioned decision of the Council of Ministers said that the adopted documents represent a framework of action for all institutions and individuals involved in the implementation of the Bologna process in BiH.
In mid 2007, the Framework Law on Higher Education in BiH was adopted, giving way to establishment of two new institutions: Agency for Development of Higher Education and Quality Assurance (HEA) and the Center for Information and Recognition of Qualifications in Higher Education (CIP). Agency made the necessary regulations and adopted a number of recommendations within its competence. This provided the basic legal and institutional conditions for the internationalization of higher education in BiH, and the integration of this sector in the EU.
In addition, we should mention the Decision of the Council of Ministers from March 2011 on enactment of the Baseline Qualifications Framework in BiH as the initial process of rebuilding BiH framework based on the European Qualifications Framework for lifelong learning.
Furthermore, the reform projects in higher education in BiH continued, being financed from IPA funds, of which the internationalization of higher education in BiH is ultimate goal, given the fact that each of these projects establishes or develops values that relevant for inclusion of BiH in the European Higher Education Area.
The strategic documents of education authorities, including higher education, stipulate methods and measures to strengthen the internationalization of higher education in BiH. Almost all of them indicate as one of the primary solutions the increasing participation in the IPA projects, Tempus projects, the EU Framework Programme (FP7), Erasmus, and the incoming programme Horizon 2020, as well as other international projects and programmes in higher education.
Strategic Directions for the Development of Higher Education in the Federation from 2012 to 2022, state that one of the objectives is to establish a fund for the mobility of students and teaching staff, and see year 2022 as the year in which the FBiH higher education will be a full member of the common European Research and Higher Education Area.
All government strategies talk about updating of the curricula in higher education with the aim of reaching European standards in this sector, which actually seeks internationalization of higher education in BiH. The documents highlight the goal of recognition of BiH diplomas, and this goal cannot be achieved unless all essential criteria for the recognition of European values in BH education have been met.
Federal strategies see internationalization as means of improvement of accreditation system and strengthening the Agency (HEA) on the way to joining the European Quality Assurance Register (EQAR) and opening access to European and international databases (EBSCO, ISI Web of Science, Current Contents Connect, ScienceDirect, Emerald), and so on.
The FBiH Strategy of Higher Education Development points to the need for an agreement on mutual recognition of qualifications in the region, on regional norms and standards, as well as the creation of a network of Balkan universities - before that mutual cooperation of BiH universities through joint projects should be established.
The Strategy of the Development of Education in the Republic of Srpska for the period 2016-2021 points to the need for the academic community to be intensely involved in international research projects and the use of EU pre-accession funds, and sees the establishment of connections for distance learning with famous universities in the world as a road to internationalization.
Partnerships and Networks
At the level of BiH there are three very important programmes that contribute to the internationalization of BiH higher education. The Ministry of Civil Affairs is the State Coordinator of CEEPUS (Central European Exchange Program for University Studies). The third cycle of the programme is in progress and it draws the attention of students and teachers. Entity ministries of education finance the exchange, according to the agreement that was reached between them and the Ministry of Civil Affairs (see www.ceepus.info).
With the assistance of the Czech Government, the Ministry of Civil Affairs has established and is tasked to service the portal studirajvani.ba. The portal is constantly actualized, and it provides information about opportunities for studying in Europe and the world.
The same state ministry is also a state contact point for EU Framework Programmes (see NCP FP BiH).
All three of these programmes are directly functional for internationalization of BiH higher education.
Acting in accordance with goals of improving international credibility, in December 2009 the Agency for the Development of Higher Education and Quality assurance became a full member of the International Network of Quality Assurance Agencies in Higher Education (INQAAHE). In February 2010, the Agency received the status of an associate member of the European Association for Quality Assurance (ENQA) and, since May 2010, the HEA is a full member of the Network of Quality Assurance Agencies in Higher Education in Central and Eastern Europe (CEEN).