FACT SHEET: Education for a Just Society in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Project Snapshot
Total Funding:  $1,298,366*
Start Date:  July 2013
End Date:  July 2016
Implementing Partners:  Center for Educational Initiatives Step by Step and proMENTE
   *Includes 10% matching funds from Open Society Fund BiH
The Challenge
The education system in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) perpetuates ethnic and other divisions by teaching separate and often contradictory accounts of history, with different curricula for culture and language classes and, often, physical separation of students from different ethnic groups. Recent studies clearly demonstrate that the BiH education system discriminates against children on the basis of their ethnic, religious, political and economic backgrounds. The education system is not teaching universal values of citizenship, tolerance and inclusion to BiH youth. 
Our Program
This program, Education for a Just Society, aims to change the educational system in BiH to reflect a vision of a society that promotes peace and reconciliation, and encourages all BiH children to envision and build their future. It is a holistic approach to educating BiH youth that goes beyond the mere physical integration of students, to bring about reconciliation, sustainable peace, and societal cohesion. Interdependent components of this activity include the revision of curricular materials, integrated settings, and alternative pedagogical methods. By empowering teachers and students to become leaders in their schools and communities, the project will provide the scaffolding for systemic changes.
Implementation and Expected Results
The project will target schools in 18 communities throughout BiH, and involve 1,800 students and more than 270 teachers, policy makers and educational professionals. School principals and teachers will participate in intensive training and mentoring to increase the use of pedagogical methods that facilitate democratic practices in schools and enhance respect for diversity. They will be provided with additional training and support in order to help them lead changes in school cultures, policies and practices. The teachers and 30 expert trainers will develop model lesson plans that promote social justice and cohesion. All lesson plans will be posted on the Open Curriculum webpage, an alternative online professional tool to encourage teacher participation and decision making, build ownership, and serve as a model for systemic curriculum changes. Students will regularly exchange and provide peer review and feedback for each other’s work, which will allow them to learn firsthand about other BiH cultures and overcome stereotypes often present in educational materials, the media, and their communities. Together the students will prepare 18 community and three national events to share their visions for a peaceful future. To influence systemic changes in curricula and pedagogical approaches, representatives from 10 ministries of education and eight pedagogical institutes throughout BiH will be involved in all stages of project implementation. 

Last updated: November 21, 2013

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