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Reimagining education in Bosnia and Herzegovina: A Resident Coordinator Blog |


“When I was first appointed as the United Nations Resident Coordinator two and a half years ago, it was clear to many that beyond the interruptions of COVID-19 During the pandemic, the education system is managing complex and long-standing obstacles, including a highly decentralized education sector, outdated infrastructure, and declining student numbers.

These obstacles have contributed to educational challenges across the country. For example, in 2018, a Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) assessment found that 15-year-olds from Bosnia and Herzegovina fared significantly worse in reading, math, and science than (the United Economic Development and Cooperation ) The OECD average, despite having a relatively high level of expenditure per student relative to the country’s Gross Domestic Product.


Ingrid Macdonald, UN Resident Coordinator in Bosnia-Herzegovina

UNICEF BiH / Adnan Bubalo

Ingrid Macdonald, UN Resident Coordinator in Bosnia-Herzegovina

From Crisis to Opportunity

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the education of more than 400,000 students across Bosnia and Herzegovina, bringing these challenges to light. However, it also gives the UN a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to support education reform authorities across the country.

As the pandemic broke out in 2020, UN agencies in Bosnia and Herzegovina came together to make education a central focus of our COVID-19 recovery efforts. Rapid needs assessment March to April 2020 by the United Nations children’s agency (UNICEF) and the United Nations educational, cultural and scientific agency (UNESCO) is the basis for shaping a United Nations educational rehabilitation program.

The Foundation, a joint project, was launched under the leadership of UNICEF and UNESCO, in partnership with the International Labor Organization (ILO) and United Nations Volunteers (UNV), called ‘Reimagine education for disadvantaged boys and girls during and after COVID-19’.

The project is one of only 18 globally to receive support from the United Nations Secretary-General’s COVID-19 Recovery Fund and the only one to focus on education. More importantly, this project is a catalyst to strengthen the UN’s support for the authorities to strengthen cooperation between government ministries, improve teaching capacity, modernize equipment and improve teaching and learning. ICT equipment and develop new digital learning platforms.

The immediate impact was clear. Between February 2021 and March 2022, UNICEF, UNESCO and the ILO provided 2,498 teachers with training in digital learning and teaching, and provided 664 digital devices (laptops and assistive technology) for 110 schools (26% of all schools).
September 15, 2022-bosnia-education-presummit.jpeg

Towards shared educational commitments

As the COVID emergency recedes, it is clear that the learning resources, training and equipment provided by the United Nations have helped enhance cooperation between the country’s many education ministries and stakeholders. other.

Building this sense of synergy and partnership, ahead of the Transformational Education Summit, under the coordinating leadership of the Department of Civil Affairs, and in excellent partnership with Entities, Cantons and Brcko District, the United Nations in Bosnia and Herzegovina convened a series of three pre-Conference consultations with nearly 1500 participants from the governmental and non-governmental sectors, schools, academia, youth and Private area.

More than half of the participants (845) who attended the consultation were under the age of 30. After a summer of inclusive dialogue and discussion, education regulators submitted their Report and Statement of Commitment to the New York Transformational Education Summit Secretariat.

This declaration was adopted by 16 Ministers responsible for educational affairs at different levels of administration in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It represents the first nationwide policy stance on education adopted in twenty years.

Moving forward, UNESCO and UNICEF are working with the support of relevant education authorities to develop an action plan focused on implementing the commitments outlined in the Declaration.

The value of our joint efforts to transform and unify educational curricula across Bosnia and Herzegovina has also been recognized by our partners. As part of the European Union’s extensive support for Bosnia and Herzegovina, the EU is considering a stronger commitment to support education over the next 10 years, with UNESCO and UNICEF actively assisting in identifying education-related priorities.

The path to lasting transformation

As we prepare for an exciting week of dialogue, discussion and engagement during the Education Transformation Summit in New York, I feel proud of the steps we have taken to support the government. reform the education sector in Bosnia and Herzegovina and build a more inclusive education, a high-quality learning experience and suitable for all.

While Bosnia and Herzegovina still faces many challenges on the road towards quality education, over the past two years I have learned that, with clear global leadership, is supported by financial resources. joint support, and true partnerships across the United Nations with the authorities, we are currently uniquely located in Bosnia and Herzegovina to make educational changes that are once generational. this. “



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