South-East Europe Textbook Network

States and Regions

Transregional Projects

(return to home page)

Bosnia and Hercegovina

Vera Katz

Textbooks and curriculum in Bosnia and Herzegovina

The Dayton Peace Treaty signed in December 1995, brought to an end the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina which had started in April 1992 and created the present sovereign state of Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is divided into two parts or “entities” as they are called: Republika Srpska and Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (Muslim-Croatian Federation). So, in Bosnia and Herzegovina there are national boundaries, at first between Republika Srpska and Federation but later in Federation between Muslim and Croatian communities. Each entity (Republika Srpska and Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina) has its own parliament and elected government and educational system. In society of Bosnia and Herzegovina, schoolbooks in subject such as literature, history, geography, art and music both assume and seek to teach the political and social norms of the three parts of society. In Bosnia and Herzegovina there are called “national subjects”. During the period after The Dayton Peace Treaty till now every national community adopted its own curricula and school textbooks. In Republika Srpska there are borrowed from Serbia; Croatian areas took curriculum and textbooks from Republic of Croatia. In Bosniak´s areas new textbooks were published for a new curriculum which was introduced in 1994 before the end of the war. Republika Srpska remain centrally organised, but in Federation there are ten cantons, five have a Bosniak´s majority, three a Croatian majority and two are mixed. In Federation there is a Federal Ministery of Education, Culture, Science and Sport, but real educational power lies with the ministries of the cantons. The Dayton agreement devolves many political functions, including education, to a local level in Federation. But, in Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina there are some private schools in different cantons. So, in five cantons there are Catholic school centres and they are teaching on curriculum of Federal ministery of Education, Culture, Science and Sport. Also, in Bosnia and Herzegovina there are Turkish-Bosnian Sarajevo College, Turkish-Bosnian Bihač College, Persian-Bosnian College. There have some specific curriculum.

Structurally in Bosnia and Herzegovina, in all areas, have kept the pre-war arrangement with 8 years of primary school, followed by 4 at secondary school.

According to the present educational system in Bosnia and Herzegovina, history is compulsory subject in higher grades of elementary school (5th to 8th grade), in all grades of gymnasium (1st to 4th grade) and in the first one or two grades of vocational schools. Average student receives two hours of history teaching per week. Only in gymnasium of Canton Sarajevo history subject is in the first and the second grades, and after that in the third grade if students choose history in a group of social sciences. The school year 2001/2002 started in Bosnia and Herzegovina with three curriculum and the same textbooks in Federation (with Bosniaks majority) from 1994, and Serbian and Croatian textbooks in other areas with Serbian and Croatian majority.

During five months, from July to November, Education Working Group of Federal Ministry made some new curriculum for history and language. It will be some new and different curriculum. It will be presented on the 13th of December, 2001 to the Bosnian-Herzegovinian publicity. After that, the authors will start to write new modern textbooks. It was first priority by the office of the High Representative (OHR) and many international bodies in the educational system in Bosnia and Herzegovina.