Conference on Curriculum reform in Vocational Education and Training in BiH: review of the progress in the framework of the Torino Process

On 26 April 2012 in Banja Luka, new cycle of Torino Process 2012 has been launched in BiH. European Training Foundation (ETF) in cooperation with the Delegation European Union to Bosnia and Herzegovina, and under the chaimanship of the BiH Ministry of Civil Afairs, as a coordinating institution and the Vocational Education and Training Department of the Agency for pre-primary, primary and secondary education, organised in Banja Luka a launching event on “Curriculum reform in Vocational Education and Training in BiH (VET): review of the progress in the framework of the Torino Process 2012”  

The Torino Process 2012 supports evidence-informed policy making in BiH, with a view to improving the contribution of VET to sustainable development, and in particular competitiveness and social cohesion. The Torino Process should contribute to improving capacities for comprehensive VET system analysis, policy analysis, and strategic planning. A number of activities have been  organised for 2012 as part of the current Torino Process cycle, building on the priorities established as part of the 2010 Torino process. The focus of these activities will be on facilitating the assessment of progress in the Baseline Qualifications Framework development and VET curricula as well as targeted discussions between relevant stakeholders. An output of the Torino Process 2012 will be a report informing evidence-based policy making in VET.

The ETF Bosnia and Herzegovina 2010 Torino Process Report underlined that education reform is a long term process and that VET reform, as a part of the system, needs to continue in order to meet the requirements of the labour market and to promote access to education and social inclusion. Furthermore, in relation to curriculum in VET, the report makes the following key recommendation:

“3. Continue the adaptation and review of training standards and curricula in order to cover all existing occupations. Involve systematically in these processes VET teachers, trainers and principals.”

Since 2010, there have been important developments in the sector of education and training in Bosnia and Herzegovina. After a lengthy process of policy dialogue where all Ministers of Education in Bosnia and Herzegovina supported the Qualification Framework development, the BiH Council of Ministers adopted the Baseline Qualification Framework in March 2011. There has been progress also on the side of institutional development wherein 2011 the Agency for pre-primary, primary and secondary education and new staff joined the Agency, and its VET Department in Banja Luka. With new staffing, the Agency was able to engage in different activities linked to implementation of the reform in education and VET. Next steps will include more targeted focus on VET curriculum reform, Baseline Qualifications Framework and further development of concepts of modular VET, based on learning outcomes.

The goal of the current and forthcoming reforms in Bosnia and Herzegovina is to reinforce education and training for socioeconomic development and integration into the European education area. This integration of education and training is implemented through ensuring the legal institutional development of the system and introducing standards in VET to enable the free movement of Bosnia and Herzegovina students and the labour force throughout the European area. In this context, the launching event  was focused on the achievements which have been reached by different institutions in relation to the broader framework of VET reform. Review of progress using the Torino Process methodology was focused on VET curriculum. Attention was given to recent developments in the country, particularly in relation to recently conducted evaluation of the implementation of VET curriculum, than the role of different institutions in the VET reform process, and in particularly the engagement of other stakeholders in a broader framework of policy dialogue. Experience from Slovenia, as EU Member State, has been shared in relation to “Curriculum in VET and the role it plays in local development”  

Therefore, this event was organised to further strengthen the awareness amongst key players in Bosnia and Herzegovina on the contribution of evidence informed policy making in VET reform. The objectives were to:
       – present and discuss different tools, methods and approaches used in VET curriculum reform , fine tuning their potential for improving the VET reform process;
       – share lessons learned from EU Member States in VET curriculum reform in order to strengthen the implementation phase in Bosnia and Herzegovina;

       – review the progress with VET curriculum reform with reference to Torino Process methodology that will feed into the upcoming Torino Process 2012 report for Bosnia and Herzegovina;
       – elaborate and agree further action points in order to move forward the VET curriculum reform in the context of overall VET reform in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Participants included education authorities at Bosnia and Herzegovina, entity, canton and Brčko District level, VET Department of the Agency for pre-primary, primary, and secondary education, RS Institute for Adult Education, Association of the VET schools directors, representatives of Ministries of Labour and Employment Institutes, Bosnia and Herzegovina Federation of Employers, Labour Unions, Pedagogic Institutes, VET providers, NGOs involved in VET, donor projects, etc.