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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Special education needs provision within mainstream education

Bosnia and Herzegovina

12.Educational support and guidance

12.1Special education needs provision within mainstream education

Last update: 27 November 2023


Given that education in BiH is in accordance with ratified international conventions, it can be concluded that it provided a legal basis for the availability of education to all and on the same grounds. In accordance with the adopted laws in BiH, educational institutions at all levels of education have a responsibility to create within their environment a culture that respects human rights and fundamental freedoms of all citizens as enshrined in the Constitution and other documents in the field of human rights signed by BiH.

According to the Framework Law on Preschool Education of BiH and the Framework Law on Primary and Secondary Education of BH, the right of children and young people with special needs to be educated in regular preschool and school institutions according to a program adapted to their individual needs is determined. Children who cannot receive education in regular schools due to developmental difficulties are educated partially or completely in special institutions.

Schools where children with special needs are educated are entitled to special funds in the budget to cover the costs of the special program, the costs of transportation, accommodation, or adaptation of the infrastructure to the needs of the students.

Definition of the Target Group (s)

In the normative sense, children with special educational needs are generally assumed to be children with developmental difficulties. Children with minor mental and physical developmental disabilities are included in the regular teaching process.

Identification, categorization as well as planning of the way of working with children with special needs is governed by entity/canton regulations that are not uniform throughout the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina. In addition to the fact that laws use inconsistent terminology, the enrollment procedure itself in preschool and high school education does not distinguish children with special needs from children without special needs.

Children with special needs in regular groups in pre-school institutions are mainly visually impaired and hard of hearing children, children with mild speech-voice communication disorders and mild psychomotor disorders and are represented in a small percentage ( /biblioteka/pdf/5460fd4f1b800_07InkluzivnoobrazovanjeuBiH.pdf).

In most cases, the first professional observation takes place before enrollment in primary school, when the competent center for social work or social protection service performs the categorization and assessment of abilities of persons with developmental disabilities. The decision on categorization is a legal document by which the child realizes specific rights, and the document gives the school the opportunity to request the employment of a professional associate and reduce the number of children in the class that includes students with special educational needs.

According to current norms, children with special needs are enrolled in elementary school based on the recommendations of a professional team composed of pedagogues or psychologists, educators-rehabilitators, speech therapists, teachers, and sometimes parents. Enrollment of students in secondary school is not precisely defined.

Specific Support Measures

After passing an expert opinion, laws and regulations define the creation of an individual customized curriculum as the next step. The procedure for creating and applying individual adapted teaching programs is not defined for preschool institutions.

A teacher, an educator-rehabilitator and teaching assistant carries out a customized teaching program or regular programs with an individual approach to work based on the opinion of the expert commission.

In addition to program support as types of support, material and professional support can be recognized in laws and regulations. Spatial adaptation as well as specific didactic tools and aids, and adaptation of textbooks in the Framework Law on Primary and Secondary Education are listed as obligations of authorities and institutions, together with schools.

According to the laws of the Republic on primary and secondary education, the child's right to a teaching assistant is not established, nor is the institution's obligation to hire one. This form of professional support is determined by the Ordinance on the upbringing and education of children with special educational needs in primary and secondary schools. At the level of the Federation, the issue of teaching assistants is not defined, so it remains uneven due to different legal approaches of lower levels of government.