The education in Bosnia and Herzegovina needs to be improved as indicated by recent PISA survey results. The importance of change is recognized by many participants of the complex education system in Bosnia and Herzegovina, including: teachers, educational professionals, students, parents and general public. The improvement actions should be based on the objective and measurable indicators obtained by large international studies in education.

This was the focus of the two-day workshop organized in Sarajevo by UNICEF BiH and the Agency for Pre-Primary, Primary and Secondary Education (APOSO), with the support of the Norwegian Embassy. Aimed at the professional public, the workshop attracted a large number of participants from all parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina, including representatives of schools, universities, pedagogic institutes, ministries of education, and international and non-government sectors.

We aim to encourage discussions on topics critical to improving the quality of education in the country on the basis of PISA 2018 results. Nowadays, approximately 617 million children and adolescents in the world do not reach the minimum level of reading and math literacy, although two-thirds of them attend school. This learning crisis is a major global challenge to young people’s preparedness for life, work and civic activism. ‘The known fact is the quality education plays a crucial role in the development of society’, specified Sanja Kabil, Program Manager for Education with UNICEF BiH.

The workshop was led by education experts from Norway, Anne-Berit Kavli, Julius K. Bjornsson, and Žaneta Džumhur, PISA chief analyst from APOSO. The focus was on understanding and interpreting the results of PISA survey in terms of student achievements, broader context of learning processes, and PISA correlation to international trends of curriculum development. The speakers also addressed the teaching competences and student assessment methods while lecturers from Norway shared their experiences on education reform in the Nordic countries.

‘Consideration should also be given to the basic teacher education, their continuous professional development and the support they receive in order to perform their job in the best possible way. Teachers are crucial to improving the student achievements, and without them little can be achieved. It is also important to focus on equity and equity in education. The data show that students in BiH are relatively highly motivated to complete the tasks and the results are higher than in the Nordic countries. This should be the starting point for improvement processes’, stated Julius K. Bjornsson.

The fact that a large number of participants from all over the country applied to the workshop confirms remarkable interest in promoting the teaching and learning and willingness to contribute. Live discussions and sharing of experience demonstrated that every individual in the school system can start the process of improving the education.

‘Regardless of the teachers’ experiences, their competencies need to be continuously perfected, given the ever-changing circumstances. Individual steps, systemic advancements, dialogue, and the continuous dissemination and sharing of the positive practices and resources will surely produce results’, said Žaneta Džumhur.

The workshop material is available on the Education for the New Era official Facebook page.