Education to Employment: EU continues to help BiH to improve its education system with new project worth €2.6 million

In the past 15 years, educational reforms have been implemented in Bosnia and Herzegovina with a focus on strengthening higher and general education, vocational education, and adult education. However, several surveys as well as the latest report of the European Commission point to a large disparity between the knowledge and skills of jobseekers coming out of the education system and the needs of the labour market.

Within the project “Education for Employment” that was launched today, the European Union provides €2.6 million to assist BiH authorities in improving the capacity and structure for planning the educational process and the quality of educational outcomes. The project will address the existing shortcomings, given the mismatch of the education and training systems with the needs of the labour market, through the development of modern lifelong career guidance services, as well as better higher education and vocational education and training.

To facilitate the transition from education to the workplace, career guidance policies need to be improved. According to the experience of European countries, an appropriate career guidance policy can influence the planning of enrolment policy and reduce the unemployment rate. Some of the Western Balkan countries have joined the European Network for Lifelong Career Planning, which BiH plans to do.

The increasingly different needs and expectations of teaching staff have led to the diversification of teacher training needs, thus the project will further improve human resources in the education sector, which will include teacher training and capacity building of education staff. The project will also help develop new study programmes and curricula for teacher training colleges based on learning outcomes, which will include modern teaching methodologies and key competencies, according to the adopted qualification and professional standards for teachers.

“Today’s meeting, among other things, implies the official start of the implementation of the project that will last for 30 months, for which the European Union has allocated €2.6 million in order to improve the quality of education in BiH and its approximation to EU standards in terms of harmonisation of human resources – education with the needs of the labor market. I would like to remind that the project ToR, the implementation of which we are starting today, was approved by all educational authorities in BiH, and that its implementation should take place through 4 Components, as follows: Component 1: Transition from education to work; Component 2: Quality Assurance in Higher Education; Component 3: Reform of initial teacher education; Component 4: Human Resources Development in the Education Sector”, said Adnan Husić, Assistant to the Minister of Education of the Ministry of Civil Affairs of BiH.

In order to strengthen the link between education and employers, an assessment will be carried out to allow a long-term forecast of future labour market needs. Based on this assessment, the project will include training of relevant staff in both sectors to enable regular assessment and forecasting, as well as the development and proposal of different models of cooperation between vocational education and training institutions, higher education institutions and employers, keeping in mind the best practices in the European Union and in the region.

On behalf of the European Union I am very glad to kick off this project which will address very relevant areas of education in BiH, in particular the reform of teacher training and the development of a model for monitoring of progress of reform processes based on external assessments of education systems through international tests of students such as PISA, PIRLS, and TIMMS. When PISA results of the students of BiH have been published earlier this year, it emerged that there is substantial work to be done in order to elevate these results to the level of EU average” said Gianluca Vannini, Head of the Operations Section for Social Development, Civil Society and Cross-Border Cooperation of the EU Delegation to BiH.

The “Education for Employment” project will help strengthen the capacity of staff in the Ministries of Education in BiH, agencies, pedagogical institutes and schools to be able to regularly assess the situation in the education sector and use the results of this assessment for research and planning of educational policies. This will enable experts in the education sector to analyse and transform the results of external testing of students (both at the national level and international testing, such as PISA, TIMSS, PIRLS).

The project “Education for Employment” should address the further development of entrepreneurial competencies in BiH, initiate a policy discussion, as well as offer pilot activities in the field of digital competencies. It will last 30 months and is extremely important both for strengthening the education system and for economic development in BiH.