TEMPUS Information day in BiH

On 23 November in Sarajevo the BiH Tempus Office in cooperation with the EU Delegation, organised a Tempus Information Day. The aim was to promote new opportunities within the Tempus Program and other EU programs, with special emphasis on the fifth call for proposals under the Tempus IV Program (2007-2013).

Tempus is an EU program that supports the modernisation of higher education in 27 EU partner countries in Eastern Europe, Central Asia, the Western Balkans and the Mediterranean region, mainly through university cooperation projects.

The EU-funded framework budget for the fifth call for proposals is 78.1 million Euros. There is an additional 12.5 million Euros for partner countries of the – Southern Neighbouring and Eastern Neighbouring area.

Natalia Dianiskova, Head of the Operations Section for Social Development, Civil Society and Cross-Border Cooperation at the EU Delegation, noted that BiH over the past 15 years has actively participated in the Tempus Program, and that there have been around  240 projects in this country worth 32.2 million Euros.

BiH has gone through different periods of reform and various types of cooperation with universities in the European Union, Dianiskova said. It has not always been an easy task, especially when it comes to preparing and implementing projects. We can say that we are satisfied with the level of implementation of the Tempus projects in BiH. Unfortunately, when it comes to the general development of the EU in the field of education we cannot say that we are satisfied with what is happening in BiH.

She stressed that this year’s EU Progress Report found that very little has been implemented in terms of education reform, in BiH and many issues remain unresolved.

Together with the authorities in BiH we are engaged in significant projects that strive to improve the situation in the field of education, Dianiskova said. BiH participates in other EU education projects, such as Erasmus Mundus and Jean Monnet. I have to say that the participation of universities in these projects has been rather weak. Perhaps this Information Day will draw attention to other programs in which BiH stakeholders can participate. Apart from Tempus, we will continue to support the development of education at all levels, from elementary school to university.

Piia Heinämäki, Project Advisor to the EU Executive Agency for Programs in the Field of Education, Media and Culture (EACEA), said that this program supports the reform and reorganisation of higher education systems in partner countries, including BiH.

In the penultimate call we have two projects where the main applicant is from BiH, Heinämäki said. If you look at the implementation of the Bologna Process, which is covered by the Tempus Program, you will see that BH is already quite advanced in its implementation in different segments.

Suad Muhibić, Head of the National Tempus Office in BiH, said that the fifth call for applications to the Tempus IV Program opened on 4 November this year, and the deadline for submission of applications is 23 February next year.

When it comes to the Tempus Program, I would say that you acquire the ability to successfully reform some segments of universities and to apply criteria and reference values that are valid in the European Union, Muhibić said.

Samir Arnautovic, Vice-Rector for International Cooperation, Publishing and Student Standards at the University of Sarajevo, said that education reform in BiH can proceed securely through these EU-supported projects.

Past support of Tempus projects has not radically changed the situation at the University of Sarajevo, but it has given a strong impetus to reform and it has promoted a new approach to work in higher education institutions in BiH, Arnautovic said.

Aida Durić, representing the Ministry of Civil Affairs, said the Ministry has been supporting the work of the Tempus Program for many years and that it recognises its important role in the modernisation of higher education in BiH, in line with EU practices, and promotion of the Bologna Process.

I can emphasise that each year there is an increasing number of interested beneficiaries who submit very high-quality projects and applications, said Duric.