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Sustainable Reform of Higher Education in Bosnia and Herzegovina Prof. dr. Genc Trnavci School of Law University of Bihać.

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Presentation on theme: "Sustainable Reform of Higher Education in Bosnia and Herzegovina Prof. dr. Genc Trnavci School of Law University of Bihać."— Presentation transcript:

1 Sustainable Reform of Higher Education in Bosnia and Herzegovina Prof. dr. Genc Trnavci School of Law University of Bihać

2 INTRODUCTION Bosnia and Herzegovina is located in South- eastern Europe. Land area is sq km and population is (last census was organised in 1991). Its recent history was turbulent: Declaration of sovereignty (1991), civil war ( ), the Dayton Agreement (1995) and transition from marksist-socialist to market economy. The privatisation process in this country is still not over.

3 Introduction BiH has achieved macroeconomic stabilization and some structural reforms have been made, but the pace of reform needs to be accelerated and new legislation introdiced in order to gain access to Euro-Atlantic integration processes. Today BiH is sovereign state but is divided in to equal parts- -entities: the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Bosnian Serb Republic. These two parts have presidents and governments that are responsible for wide array of given to entities according to the constitutions. The state- level (central) government is responsible for, inter alia, these policies: foreign, monetary, trade, etc. However, its regulatory powers in the filed of ESD are limited.

4 ESD in BiH Laws specifically promoting SD are non-existant at any level whatsoever (cantonal, entity or national level). Some elements of SD are incorporated in existing legislation regulating agriculture, forestry, water, energy, regional development, nature protection etc. Yet, these are not integrated into the education process comprehensively. As such, SD is not a clearly defined component of the education system in BiH.

5 ESD in BiH Sustainable development as a concept wider than environmental protection has not been fathomed properly by by education management, teachers, or students. The notion of ESD has been reduced a few courses on environmental protection (biology, my environment, nature and society etc.). The missing element of ESD in BiH is a transdisciplinary approach that encompasses changing attitude and behavior of major stakeholders (children, parents, schools, governments...), which is best achived in the elementary school context over the long term.

6 State of Education System in BiH The education system in BiH is highly decentralized and thus fragmented and disharmonized. Its perplexing structure very much reflects the one of the government. The are many layers of government. Besides the one at the national (state) level, there are other levels of government composed of two entities (Federation of BiH and Republic of Srpska), and Brčko District. FBiH itself is composed of 10 cantons. Each canton is given a high level of autonomy that encompasses constitutional competences, local government and the power to promulgate laws, including those in field of education system.

7 State of Education System in BiH The system of governance in education in BiH includes two subsystems: 1. Management of the organization of financial, legal and administrative aspects education process, and 2. Quality management of teaching curricula (content), methods, evaluation of students achievement, etc.

8 Levels of Regulatory Authorities in BiH At the national (state) level there is Department for Education, Science, Culture and Sports of Ministry of Civil Affairs is responsible for education issues. However the authority of this agency is reduced to coordinating lower administrative agencies and overseeing implementation of the Framework Act on Primary and Secondary Education as well as the Framework Act on Higher Education in BiH. Entity ministries and administrative agencies are actually in charge of implementing these enactments. It is worth mentioning that, at the state-level, there is the Agency for Preschool, Primary and Secondary Education that is focused on ensuring quality of education.

9 Levels of Regulatory Authorities in BiH There are two ministries responsible for education matters at the entity level, in the FBiH, the Federal Ministry of Education, in the RS, the Ministry of Education and Culture. In the Brcko District there is the Department of Education of the Brcko District Government that is responsible for education matters.

10 Levels of Regulatory Authorities in BiH In the Federation, responsibility for education is further divided among 10 cantons. Each canton has its own ministry of education, each implementing separate laws on education. Therefore, the role and powers of the Federal Ministry of Education is reduced to coordinating various ministries and agencies at the cantonal level. Cantonal ministries are thus main regulators of education matters ranging from elementary to higher education. Almost each canton has its own pedagogical institute. The functions and capacities of these institutes vary from canton to canton, and there is an overlap of competencies among ministries and pedagogical institutes

11 Levels of Regulatory Authority in BiH Pedagogical institutes are responsible for determining curricula and monitoring their implementation. They also exercise pedagogical supervision, provide technical assistance to teachers and organize programes of training of teachers.

12 Education Finansing in BiH The education system is financed by the government grom the entity, cantonal and municipal budgets. The share of education funding from the state budget is negligible. The RS allocates around 4% of its GDP for education, while the FBiH gives a little bit more--about 6% of total GDP. Brčko District allocates around 11.2% of its budget.

13 Education Finansing in BiH In BiH the percentage of public spending invested in education is above the regional average, while slightly lower than the EU average. Over 50% of public spending on education is spent on primary education. As much as 88% of all budget resources designated for education are allocated for salaries and social benefits for employees, 8% for material costs, while only 4% of education budget goes for capital investments.

14 ESD in Higer Education Higher education in Bosnia and Herzegovina is highly decentralized (reflecting the constitutional complexities and political strife in the country) in that it is regulated by the Framework Act on Higher Education in Bosnia and Herzegovina adopted in July 2007, which sets the basic standards and principles for the area of higher education, while all other issues in the area of higher education that are not regulated by this enactment are governed by entity laws and cantonal laws.

15 The Structure of HE in BiH The universities in BiH are financed from the cantonal budget (in RS from the entity budget) mainly and partly from tuition fees. There is an issue that burdens financing higher education regarding the absence of a midterm financing strategy and effective evaluation mechanisms that would ensure a results-based allocation of funds. Budgets for higher education institutions mainly cover their operating costs. In this situation, it is difficult to implement reforms without having a clear strategy and sufficient funds for implementation. Under the existing system, higher education institutions receive funds based on the number of students enrolled. Higher education institutions do not have a legal obligation to justify effective use of funds, which can negatively affect the quality of education

16 The Structure of HE in BiH Universities organize undergraduate and graduate studies in accordance with the relevant laws. Studies can be organized in two semesters, e.g. fall and winter semester, and by the year of studies. Curricula for postgraduate studies are developed by universities or their units, and include general and joint courses that are offered in the first and second year of studies. University is required by respective ministry of education to develop and update the register (a data base) of all study programs offered in the academic year, as well as to provide the names of teachers responsible for teaching selected courses. The University has established institutions and teaching service units in charge of monitoring the implementation of the teaching process

17 The Structure of the HE in BiH Universities may organize their curricula according to their needs inasmuch as the consent issued by a cantonal ministry that is a prerequisite for those curricula to enter into force. The diploma supplement (DS) is issued as required by the law. Academic staff is formally appointed through public competition, in accordance with the law, and generally accepted professional standards. However, since the accreditation has not started as yet in BiH, there is an issue as to political interference into the appointment process. The level of investment in research and development (R&D) activities is not sufficient to cover the needs of research, and it is low according to most international standards. Investment in R&D is an important element of the modernization of the higher education system of any country. BiH and universities alike need to increase investment in research and development in pursuit of the desired level of development.

18 Missing elements of ESD in BiH The overarching task of education is to enable people to live together in ways that contribute to sustainable development of their communities and polities. However, in BiH at present, education often contributes to unsustainable living because of the lack of opportunity for participants in the education system (learners) to question and eventually change their own lifestyles and the systems of values as well as models of behavior leading to unsustainable models and practices. A remodeling of formal education structure and its content content towards sustainable development is thus highly recommended. This includes helping students understand what sustainable development requires from the both global and local perspective, and also empower them to use their own capacity for critical reflection in order to reorient themselves towards systemic and future-oriented way of thinking, as well as motivate themleves to consider actions towards sustainable development.

19 The Main Problems Hampering Promotion of the ESD in BiH Besides main challenge posed by absence of political cohesion (e.g., resulting in lack of of accreditation of HEIs in BiH, which has not begun in earnest due to political obstruction), compounded with the second challenge manifested as confounding (not clearly defined) relations and division of tasks and responsibilities among main stakeholders, including relevant ministries, pedagocial institutes, HEIs, and QA agencies, the BiHs education system in general and higher education in particlular face another crucial challenge as there is no political will in the country to treat the introduction of ESD as one of the countrys priorities.

20 Need for promoting TDR In order to increase outreach of and effectiveness of the education system in BiH in a quest to develop a knowledge based society, there is a great need to increase and acquire new funding recourses for introducing TESD programs aimed at conducting internationally recognized, academically excellent and problem-oriented transdisciplinary research and teaching on environmental, social, legal and economic aspects of sustainability. These programs should draw on various social and natural science disciplines, including ecological economics, environmental economics, legal science, policy studies, development studies, business and management, geography, sociology, science and technology studies, ecology, environmental science and soil science in our work.

21 Need for Reform Introducing ESD is too a challenging socio-political-cultural task, broader than any formal curriculum can aspire to encompass, which requires revisiting and even abandoning traditional didactical and pedagogical models of knowledge transmission, replicated in formal education systems throughout the world, currently precipitating unsustainable development both globally and locally. Education thus needs to be restructured into education for sustainable development and research into TDR that should strive for more than reducing deficiency of knowledge towards including an attitude to act based on the interactive stimuli from the immediate natural and socio- economic environment.

22 Need to Reform In line with the UNESCO (2009) report, there is a need to include the ESD into formal education so as to make adjustments, either minor or substantial, to the existing education system in BiH, with all its previous strengths and weaknesses. The ESD content should be construed as an integrative, cross-curricular theme that can bring together many of the single issues that schools are already expected to address (UNESCO, 2009, p. 48.)

23 Reccommendations Establishing the ESD is BiH provides a long-term toolkit for a sustainable future. By planning and undertaking the important task of implementing the ESD in BiH, policymakers shall open the way to a more sustainable future for their community and nation. When introducing the ESD in BiH it must be locally relevant and culturally appropriate, reflecting the environmental socio-economic and legal tradition of the BiHs community. The ESD and TDR in BiH should be introduced through a democratic processthe one of public participation in which stakeholders from across the community can express their visions for a sustainable community and expectations as to what an education reoriented towards sustainability should include. The premise is that each discipline, teacher, and administrator from all levels of education can contribute to ESD according to the strengths model. Communities and school systems should work proactively and jointly to sustainably achieve community goals.


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