Education for Employment, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Education for Employment, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Teachers as a Key Element of Education Quality

A successful three-day training on “Occupational Standards and Building a Professional Community” was held in Teslic from February 8 to 10, 2023. Organized by the Education for Employment in BiH project, this training was a result of productive activities carried out by the Working Group (WG) for Continuous Professional Development of Teachers.

The WG had been intensely working on setting the ground for continuous professional development of teachers, and it developed a model of study programmes for the continuous improvement of teachers based on learning outcomes and key competencies, including entrepreneurial and digital competencies.

The goal of the training was to introduce the attendees to the developed model and instruments that enable lifelong learning and continuous professional development of teachers.

“During these three days, the participants of the training have the opportunity to acquire new knowledge that can help them design a more efficient and better practice of additional teacher training in their work environment and in different administrative units. Therefore, the project gives them useful tools, which facilitate the subsequent intervention within the educational system,” explained Namir Ibrahimović, the Principal of Savfet-beg Bašagić School in Sarajevo and the Advisor for Continuous Professional Development on the project.

His colleague Nedim Krajišnik, the CEO of the Centre for Educational Initiatives Step by Step, and also the Project Advisor for Continuous Professional Development, emphasized the following:

„If we start with the premise that teachers represent the key element to the quality of education, and that investing in teachers is the only way to reach the high quality educational system, the goal of this training, as well as of all activities previously conducted within the project, was to provide necessary assistance. For us it is important that the trainees, within seven previously defined standards, understand the essence of changes which are about to happen. Occupational and professional standards should be seen as an instrument for improvement of the entire educational system. These standards are required if we want the system to become more substantial and our schools to be of a high-quality, offering our children more knowledge and higher competencies. “

Occupational and professional standards, as introduced at the training, have been generally accepted by EU countries, and include: planning and programming, learning and teaching, creating learning environment, monitoring and evaluation, establishing cooperation with families and the community, professional development, and development of schools and educational system.

These standards were discussed at the training workshops, and all participants had an opportunity to be provided with guidelines and recommendations on specific steps that might help them in reaching those standards and initiating positive changes in their own environments. During the training, instruments for assessment of teaching needs were also presented. These instruments are developed by the project and they enable identifying deficiencies in educational process, as well as ways of overcoming them.

Over 30 participants from all over the country participated in the training held in Teslic, including representatives from ministries of education and pedagogical institutes in charge of developing and implementing educational policies pertaining to continuous professional development of teachers, as well as representatives of schools and members of project working groups who expressed their interest in attending the training.

One of the participants Radmila Kocić Ćućić, the Head of Department for General and Artistic Education of the Ministry of Education and Culture in RS, and also the member of the project WG on Continuous Professional Development, believes that the training in Teslic was very well organized, since it gathered representatives from all segments of the educational process.

“The exchange of experiences between the participants of this training is extremely useful. It helps us face a unique set of challenges in front of us, and it is always the best way to learn new things. All participants, including representatives from the ministries and pedagogical institutes, school principals, as well as direct practitioners, i.e. teachers, were given a chance to share their opinions. The Ministry I come from has developed the most recent education strategy for period 2022-2030, and professional development represents one of its fundamental strategic postulates for achieving the better quality of education”, says Radmila Kocić Ćućić. She adds that it is crucial all experiences and knowledge acquired at these types of workshops are transferred into specific steps and practices applied by various institutions the participants come from.

In order to standardize the quality of teachers and the teaching process in different educational institutions throughout the country, it is both the privilege and obligation of teachers to continuously develop their professional skills in defined areas.

The WG for Continuous Professional Development of Teachers is primarily composed of representatives from the ministries of education and pedagogical institutes. It has been conducting activities within the Project Component 3 – Reform of Initial and In-Service Teacher Training.

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.