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Third pre-seminar assignment

Bosnian Team

The state of Bosnia and Herzegovina is still going through the period of transition in
numerous areas, including: the process of democratization, economic transition, post-war
recovery, state-building efforts and the initiative to build peace. The country aspires to joining
the European Union and is working towards meeting the pre-accession requirements. In this
phase, in which complex reform processes are taking place, the Mission of the Organization
for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) to Bosnia and Herzegovina is providing
support to solving difficulties and problems within the process of reforming the education
system. Education is a public activity which concerns almost every household, almost all
adults went to school, and almost every family has children who go to school. This is why the
education reform is something that the whole country and all of its citizens care for.
Bosnia and Herzegovina acceded to the Council of Europe on 24 April, 2002 and one
of the CoE post-accession requirements for BIH was the adoption of the Law on Schools
within two years from the date of its accession to the Council of Europe. The Education
Reform Strategy was presented by the Bosnia and Herzegovina authorities to the Peace
Implementation Council in Brussels on 21 November, 2002. The Education Reform Strategy
is a comprehensive document drafted by local education professionals and representatives of
relevant institutions, as well as parents, teachers, students and the international community
representatives. The Strategy consists of the goals of education reform and the key objectives
needed to deliver them. The principle goal is primarily to develop a high quality, modern,
depoliticized education system in Bosnia and Herzegovina that will ensure full and equal
access to education for all. Ever since it was signed, the Education Reform Strategy has
served as a basis for the education reform plan and as guidance to numerous working groups
and experts who relied on the Strategy in their attempts to deliver the pledges made in the
Strategy. The progress made in the implementation of the Strategy also ensured the conditions
necessary for the adoption of a Framework Law on Primary and Secondary Education in
Bosnia and Herzegovina and the legislation at the levels of the cantons, Republika Srpska and
the Brko District, which ensures: the necessary legal framework, a structure and mechanisms
for an accelerated adoption of standards and norms in education, which will lead to the
establishment of a system comparable to other systems in Europe. As political agendas have
dominated the entire education scene in BIH, the quality of education and standards have
suffered most; the curricula and textbooks, in most cases cut along ethnic lines, vary from one
region to another; teachers who have just completed their education are sometimes struggling
to come to grips with real world challenges. It is estimated that around 92.000 young people
left Bosnia and Herzegovina in the period between 1996 and 2001. Recent surveys reveal that
nearly one fourth of young people would like to leave BIH forever. The education reform in
Bosnia and Herzegovina should be implemented at an increased pace as young people have to

be sure that they will receive quality education which they need in preparing for the future,
regardless of their place of residence in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
As a signatory to several international treaties, Bosnia and Herzegovina is
obliged to guarantee the right to education to every child. The treaties include: the
International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights; the UN Convention on the
Rights of the Child; and the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and
Fundamental Freedoms. In addition, upon its accession to the Council of Europe in 2002,
Bosnia and Herzegovina undertook a number of post-accession commitments, including the
obligation to maintain and continue reform in the field of education and to eliminate all
aspects of segregation and discrimination based upon ethnic origins.
Just as all citizens in a democratic society have their rights and duties, also schools,
parents and students have a series of rights and duties in school. This means that all of them
are co-responsible for the social development and professional training of students during
education. When all parties are aware of their rights and duties, then it becomes clear what
they can expect from each other. In this way, the foundation for a successful dialogue and
useful cooperation is built.
Governance in schools in Bosnia and Herzegovina

General questions about school managements for both primary and secondary
education are regulated by the Framework Law on Primary and Secondary Education in
Bosnia and Herzegovina. In accordance with the acts of these law entities, cantons and Brcko
District have the right to further regulate all the issues regarding schools management
including relationship between school and public administration. The Framework Law
regulate the work of administrative bodies such as school boards, principals, parents council
and schools expert bodies such as Teachers Council and Class Council.
Each school shall have a school board. The school board members are elected from
school staff, school founder, local community and parents, in accordance with the legally
proscribed procedure, and based on principle of equal representation of the above structures.
The school board consists of parents, school staff, representatives of local community and
representatives of the founders, by the principle of equal representation. The composition of
the school board must reflect the ethnic structure of students and parents, school staff and
local community, as it is recorded at a relevant time, in principle, according to the 1991
census in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Performance of duties of the school board members shall
be voluntary and without payment.
School principal is appointed by the School Board. The principal is elected on the basis of
professional and moral standards.
The school boards of both primary and secondary schools advertise the vacancy for a post of a
school principal no later than three months prior to the expiry of the term. The vacancy is
advertised in the press.

Principals report to the School Board which has the authorities to resolve them of the position.
In some cases the residing minister can also resolve the principals of their duties.
School Management and Governance

The following are the school bodies:


a) School board
b) Principal
c) Parent Council
d) Student Council
e) Professional school bodies.
1. School board
The school board is responsible for developing and implementing the school policy,
general school management and efficient use of human and material resources.
2. School principal
The principal is responsible for daily management of the school and guidance of
pedagogical activities of the school.
3. Parent council
If education process is to be successful, it is necessary that parents of students are
informed regularly about all events in school, to be active participants in school activities.
This is why parents of students have the right and schools have an obligation to assist parents
in establishing a parent council. The council members are selected by parents themselves.
The parent councils:
a) Promote interests of the school in the community, in which the school is located,
b) Present the views of students parents to the school board,
c) Encourage the engagement of parents in the work of school,
d) Inform the school board about their positions when they deem it necessary or at the request
of the school board, on every issue regarding the work and governance of school,
e) Take part in the development and implementation of the relevant projects which encourage
and improve education process in school, and
f) Nominate and elect representatives of parents to the school board

4. Student council
In order to enable students to take part in decision-making in schools, the school helps
students to establish a student council, which:
a) promotes interests of the school in the community, in which the school is located,
b) Presents positions of students in the school board of the school,
c) Encourages the engagement of students in the work of school, and
d) Informs the school board about its position when it deems necessary or at the request by the
school board, on every issue regarding the school performance and governance.17
5. Professional school bodies
Each school has its professional bodies: a teacher council, a class council and a
specialist group. The powers, composition and operations of professional school bodies are
defined in greater detail by the education legislation at the entity, cantonal and the Brko
District levels and the school bylaws. In order to establish modern school governance, we
have to ensure the good governance principles19, which are:
Legal security
Openness
Accountability
Effectiveness and efficiency
Publicity and transparency
Democratic participation in schools activities
Democracy in schools also implies the participation of both students and parents in
decision making processes, precondition of democratic school governance and heritage, when
authorities were not questioned but obeyed. Principals today represent one component in
school governance, but it also should there should enough space for other interested parties in
educational process. In Bosnia and Herzegovina there are some institution within school
system, such as Students Council and Parents Council that could become place where both,
students and teacher, can express their opinions and ideas. However the existence of other
institution through which the voice of parents and student would be heard is a necessity.
In the past few years the progress is evident, schools have dedicated much more
attention to the Inclusion in education, and they promote tolerance. However students and
parents need to be more included in decisions making process, but also principal need to go
through an extensive education.
Depoliticization of educational system is needed, and appointment of principals should
be based on their expertise and abilities instead of their political orientation.

The role f principal in securing schools autonomy is extremely important. Good


school governance is significant for respecting principles of non-discrimination and equal
opportunities for all students. The result of such practice is that schools are becoming the
ground for development of democratic processes in society.
Democratic governance is extremely complex process. Reasons for this are partially
objective such as lacking of law regulations, improvement strategies, but also the curriculum
itself.
There are also subjective aspects that make democratic governance in school much harder to
establish and maintain.
Ethos, practice but also tolerance and moral values promoted in school have a significant
impact.
Opposite to the general belief principals, according to the research, are not against parents
participation in schools life.
Parents play an important role in schools life. They are initiators, organizers and
participants in various activities such as sport or humanitarian actions which contribute to
school. Often these actions are connected with fundraising, but alone participation of parents
is considered as an enormous benefit for school and local community.
School should be place where each individual could grow and develop as a responsible
participant in democratic processes, and it should be an institution that is constantly
developing and contributing to positive changes in society.
It is necessary to encourage the participation of all structures in the schools work regardless
of the position they are holding. By respecting this principle, all structures have the right to
present and achieve their needs. Special attention should be directed toward students and
teachers participation in schools life. Their voice need to be acknowledged and accepted in
schools work and management via their representatives.
The principal is elected on the basis of professional and moral standards, and on the
basis of the quality of program for development and work of the school suggested by the
candidates. This person need to be expert, need to have ability and rich knowledge in order
to run the schools activities, highest moral standards, and dedication toward the protection of
human right in the school.
Principals and school, under conditions they are provided and adequate improvement and
training along with continuous support, are the pillars of democratic governance in school.
Supporting teachers and principals implies improvement of their knowledge and skills but
also development of mutual trust. Working towards raising reputation of teachers in
community is also very important, just as higher and better recognitions for education, teacher
and principals. Democratization processes that start at the bottom and are initiated by the staff
are very significant and deserve special attention.

Bosnian educational system, like many others, has been subjected to many changes
during past few years. Even today some new ideas are being implemented.
The main responsible for enforcement of education in school is principal.
Principals mandate lasts four years. Principal is also responsible for democratic governance
of school, and also manages parents organizations, local media groups. We quite like the idea
of Professor Gunnar Berg that limits are sometimes wider than we think, because sometimes
we have to work outside of given boundaries. Principal also has a great collaboration with
school board, which represents local political majority. We often invite members of School
board to our celebrations and other activities.
Principal also often visits schoolyard, classrooms and interacts with students and teachers, and
participates in many activities done by clubs in our school.
Staff meetings are held at least once a month. All staff members are acquainted
with all the information prior to meeting. All staff member are also play relevant role when it
comes to making decisions.
Students Council also plays an important role in democratic governance of school.
They participate in all students activities; organize events such as Disco Day, garage sale,
and many others. Each class has one representative at Students Council.
When it comes to public accountability we have great relationship with our local
community, and NGOs. We also have a good cooperation with our Parents Council. We work
closely on different projects with Parents Council. Sometimes initiator of projects is Parents
Council, and we give our input. In cooperation with Parents Council and Students Council
we have also organized fairs, visits to local media and local enterprises. We work together on
finding new projects, working together on new ideas how to improve our current situation,
and familiarize our students and our community with their rights.
We quite liked all the tips and suggestion, especially those concerning staff
meeting and Students Council, and would implement vast majority of the tips in our work in
the future. As we have previously stated we would like to focus our work on strengthening
and deepening our relationships with local community and NGOs, and developing and
implementing projects together with those organizations.

Team members:
Daira Zjaki
ejla Bjelopoljak
Anela Brko