Education for Employment, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Education for Employment, Bosnia and Herzegovina

By strengthening human resources and mutual cooperation, we build social capital for the future

“Investment in human ability, in human resources, is an essential resource of the contemporary economy. Human potential comprises employees’ abilities and capabilities. It is, in reality, fundamental for success of every organization, so, investing in human resources represents the most prosperous investment nowadays. It is also important for the personal development of every individual, which entails the continuous acquisition of new knowledge and experience, as well as a change in attitudes, because the exchange of ideas leads to different thinking,” says Biljana Knezović, Head of the Legal Affairs Department at the Mostar Institute of Education and a member of the Human Resource Development Working Group (HRDWG) at the European Union project “Education for Employment in Bosnia and Herzegovina”, whose fourth meeting was held on June 23 and 24 in Neum.

One of the more important goals of the Education for Employment project is to improve human resources in the education sector, and efforts are being invested within the project component “Human Resources Development in Education Sector” to strengthen the capacities of employees in the BiH institutions where educational policies are created.

“This project component focuses on universal human potential enhancement in education. Our ultimate objective is to provide decision-makers with information, skills, and competencies for administering educational policy and comprehending educational changes. Also, we want to empower people from these institutions in the domain of strategic thinking regarding the position of education in relation to other social subsystems and their mutual connections,” explains Jasna Kovačević, Associate Professor at the Faculty of Economics at the University of Sarajevo and Senior Expert for Human Resource Development in Education, within this project.

Within the project component, a professional training program was developed for employees in the ministries of education, pedagogical institutes and agencies in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The program is divided into four modules, namely Educational Reforms and Policies, Strategic Planning and Project Management, Management of Changes in the Education System, and Monitoring and Evaluation of Reform Processes.

The second module on “Strategic planning and project management” was held at the two-day meeting in Neum, and Jasna Kovačević comments on this:

“Given the significant absence of knowledge and ability in the field of strategic planning and management in our circumstances, we attempted to provide participants with a road map for strategic thinking and developing strategic documents through this program. I believe the workshop was beneficial to the participants. Many topics were opened up for them to explore in their environments following these trainings.”

This program addresses the genuine development requirements of educational systems in BiH and covers topics linked to current educational trends in the EU. The emphasis is on the importance of developing existing capacities and professional empowerment of people who already hold influential positions in public institutions, as well as on strengthening the capacities of individuals who can influence the effectiveness of organizations, i.e., the institutions in which they work.

Members of the Human Resource Development WG are primarily employees of ministries of education and pedagogical institutes, but during this training, the WG operates in an expanded composition. Their work colleagues, who are directly involved in the creation of strategies and strategic documents, are also included in the training sessions, in order to further multiply the learned practices and enable them to better penetrate the activities of these institutions.

Almir Sivro, Expert Advisor for Education at the Zenica-Doboj Canton Pedagogical Institute and member of the Human Resource Development WG, believes that strengthening human capacities and participation in these trainings is very important for educational institution employees, because they further disseminate the acquired knowledge to their colleagues, but also to teachers, who then pass it on to the students.

Almir Sivro also sees the collaborative effort, cooperation with others, and possibilities of direct exchange of experiences as significant benefits of membership of this WG.

“This work and cooperation with others are not only useful, but also crucial and necessary for us. Why should each administrative unit work on specific laws and documents, if we can join forces and accomplish more in less time, relying on mutual experiences? These meetings are very beneficial for us because we expand our social capital, get to know each other and therefore have the opportunity to get in touch more easily in the future and exchange useful information and knowledge,” says Almir Sivro, adding that he would like to see this collaboration grow:

“We are all aware that we live in a complicated and complex country, and that we do not have an abundance of resources to waste. That is why, if we join forces, we can accomplish a lot more successfully and easily!”

Biljana Knezović also believes in the value of mutual collaboration and the exchange of experiences:

“The projects have multiple purposes, including connecting people, exchanging perspectives, identifying good practice elsewhere and applying it in our own working environments. I believe the projects are also intended to serve as a type of socialization, allowing us to break away from the confines of daily office activity, make new acquaintances, widen our own perspectives, and develop beneficial relationships that will stay with us.“

In September, the Human Resource Development WG of the Education for Employment in BiH Project resumes its activities, ready to tackle new challenges in its work, as well as the administrative and political complexities of the country in which we live.

According to Jasna Kovačević, a senior expert on the project, within this WG the project attempts to foster constructive thinking, that is, not to expend too much energy on topics that cannot be directly impacted, but to focus on what can be done in each administrative unit.

“We can overcome many difficulties if the focus on these processes is not what we disagree about, but what we agree on, which is a happy child, a child whose talents and potentials are nurtured. We may strive for this in every setting in Bosnia and Herzegovina, in every entity, canton, municipality, or school, and the consequences will spread throughout the nation, without even mentioning the state strategy. Our mission is a happy child who realizes his/her full potential, and our field of activity is the one where we can really make a difference!” says Jasna Kovačević.

In order to overcome the high unemployment rate and a huge mismatch of the education and training systems with the demands of the labour market, the EU-funded project “Education for Employment, BiH” aims to produce human resources in line with the labour market needs in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The project assists BiH authorities in improving capacity and structure for planning the educational process and quality of educational outcomes.