Education in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) is bad, and we are not excelling in trying to make it better. Namir Ibrahimovic, one of those who has been part of the education system for a long time, explained how bad the situation is. In such a situation, it is impossible to deal with the modern world.
Ibrahimovic is a professor of native language and literature and director of the “Safvet beg Basagic” elementary school in Sarajevo. He led the curriculum reform in Canton Sarajevo (CS), and recently he became the leader of the education reform in the Una-Sana Canton (USC).
”We are constantly in some reform and there is always talk of some reform, but there are no tangible plans or results. The best possible opportunity for reform was in 2003 when the law on preschool, primary, and secondary education was passed at the state level. At that time, it was decided to introduce nine-year primary education, and it was then expected to change the teaching paradigm itself, to abandon the model that is still used today. There was an effort to have a different system of teaching and learning in the nine-year school. Essentially, nothing has changed,” Ibrahimovic said.
He highlighted the year 2008, when the results of the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) international survey were published, as another opportunity for change.
”The knowledge of the students, who completed the eighth grade, was tested in mathematics and natural sciences. It turned out that they did not have usable, functional knowledge. Then it was stated: Ok, education is not good, let’s change it. A strategy for the development of education was adopted at the level of the Council of Ministers and signed by Nikola Spiric (SNSD) as the then chairman of the Council of Ministers. The strategy predicted what would happen in education from 2008 to 2015,” Ibrahimovic stated.
According to him, that strategy provided for things that led to modernization. He then explained in more detail what this modernization was supposed to mean.
”In order to monitor the quality of teaching, it is planned to introduce a matriculation exam in primary and secondary schools at the state level. It has not gone far in this direction” he adds.
How far we are lagging behind
In an interview, Ibrahimovic was asked how much BiH lags behind in education compared to neighboring countries.
”As for the learning methodology itself, we are not far behind, we are somewhere. What we lag behind in is the attitude towards the quality of what we do, even in such an education system. We in BiH have given up on checking the quality of education, we have given up on answering the question of why we do something, we have given up on helping teachers, we have given up on teacher education, we have given up on teachers’ colleges that do not educate those who will be ready to enter the classroom and work in a more responsible, modern way. Teacher colleges are most often enrolled by students who cannot enroll in the colleges that were their first choice. We lag behind in insisting on better quality work,” he answered.
He believes that we are 20-30 years behind developed countries in this matter.
It can’t be like this anymore
Ibrahimovic agrees that education reform should not lead to the commercialization of education. However, he said that sustainable education in which students do not gain knowledge is not applicable in everyday life. That current education is not acceptable, he referred to the international Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) survey from 2018, which showed that at that time every second 15-year-old was functionally illiterate.
”We have never clarified what the labor market is, what education for the labor market would be like. We really cannot keep a school like this where more than 50 percent of the students, that is, every other child, cannot apply the knowledge they have. They are functionally illiterate. Low-quality schools are largely responsible for this. The education system is not set up in a way to make it better. Children are not different in BiH, Finland, and Estonia, but it is a matter of the system and how it relates to education,” he stated, Klix.ba reports.