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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Separate special education needs provision in early childhood and school education

Bosnia and Herzegovina

12.Educational support and guidance

12.2Separate special education needs provision in early childhood and school education

Last update: 27 November 2023

Definition of the Target Group

Children who, in the process of categorization, have been determined to have severe and severe disabilities acquire primary and secondary education in schools for children with special needs or special classes formed as part of regular schools. Preschool education for children with more severe forms of difficulties is organized in centers, institutes and organizations with education and rehabilitation programs.

  In the Federation of BiH, the Law on Basics of Social Protection, Protection of Civilian Victims of War and Protection of Families with Children, 24 types of impairment and disability in children (and adults) are classified as follows:

• blind and visually impaired children;

• deaf and hard of hearing children;

• children with voice, speech and language disorders;

• children with physical impairments and permanent disabilities in physical development;

  • children with disabilities in psychological/mental development (mild, moderate, severe and severe);

  • children with combined disabilities (multiple developmental disabilities).

The Law on Social Protection of the RS foresees 7 types of disabilities for children and adults

• children with visual impairment;

• children with hearing impairment;

  • children with voice, speech and language disorders;

  • children with physical impairments and chronic diseases;

• children with mental retardation;

• children with multiple disabilities;

• children with other disabilities that lead to problems in psychomotor and sensory development.

The Law on Social Protection of the Brčko District provides in Article 13 that "a minor with disabilities in physical or mental development is considered to be a person with visual or hearing impairment, speech and voice impairment, physical impairment, mental retardation or combined impairments".

In addition to the absence of a single definition and standardized method for measuring disability, as a rule, a medical model is used to assess disability.

Admission Requirements and Choice of School

Enrollment of children is carried out in May and June of the current year. Admission requirements are governed by special laws, which relate to age, as well as owning a decision on the type and degree of disability. Enrollment in special schools is done at the request of parents, based on the recommendation of a regular school, social work center or medical institution.

Education in a special class section at a regular school is provided when it is not possible to organize suitable education in regular class sections. A parent, or a child with special educational needs, has the right to change the educational program during schooling.

 Age Levels and Grouping of Pupils

The class or educational group may consist of 6 to 10 pupils, depending on the type and degree of disability.

A class of pupils with multiple disabilities in the development and a class combined of several classes may have from three to six pupils.

Curriculum, Subjects

The curriculum and the subjects are determined in accordance with the type and degree of disability. Teaching hour lasts 35 minutes for pupils from grade I to III, and for the older grades 40 minutes if the classes are taught in special classes.

In Republika Srpska entity, special curricula for primary school were developed for children with special educational needs and for children with visual impairments, hearing, minor and moderate mental disabilities (retardation). In secondary vocational schools in Republika Srpska new curricula for 12 professions and 15 occupations were made for students with visual impairments, hearing loss and minor mental retardation. These curricula for primary and secondary schools are compatible with the mainstream curriculum and allow children's education both in mainstream and in special education schools.

The entity of Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina approach to teaching students with mild mental difficulty is based primarily on the creation of individual curriculum for each child, which is quantitatively and qualitatively adapted to their mental and physical abilities. This implies a reduction of some subjects in the curriculum, thereby reducing the number of teaching hours and adapting the curriculum to specific mental abilities of pupils. It is also important for these pupils to shorten the length of teaching hours by 5 to 10 minutes, because these pupils quickly become tired, exhausted and easily unfocused.

In order to increase educational opportunities for all and improve pupils’ learning outcomes, new curricula, methods and approaches are applied such as Step by Step, interactive methods, individualization of content, procedures and methods in teaching. 

Teaching Methods and Materials

Depending on the type and degree of disability, teaching in special education classes and schools is carried out as follows:

·         Class teaching

·         Class and subject teaching

·         Subject teaching

The curriculum is determined when the teaching is carried out as class, class and subject or subject teaching. 

Progression of Pupils

The progression of pupils is monitored by educators, teachers and other staff. Any progress is recorded. Checking of kind and degree of disability can be also done every half year. 


School for education of children with developmental disabilities issue certificates of completion.