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Policy and Regulations in Bosnia and Herzegovina

  1. Overview of the existing Policy and Regulations

In Bosnia and Herzegovina, in the initial formal secondary education, there are 311 schools, 208 of which are VET, which can be technical (four-year education) and vocational (three-year education and training).

In the schoolyear 2017/2018 there was a total of 124.368 students in 311 schools.  The majority of students, 55%, went to technical schools (VET schools with a duration of four years), followed by gymnasiums 23,8% (general secondary education), while in vocational (three-year education) there was a total of 18,2 students.

  • Legislation, roles and responsibilities in vocational education and training (VET)

Bosnia and Herzegovina is a decentralized country comprised of two entities- the Federation of Bosina and Herzegovina (FBiH) and Republika Srpska (RS), as well as Brčko District of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BDBiH) which represents a separate managing unit.

The Constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina defines jurisdictions and responsibilities of each level of authority.

Entities in Bosnia and Herzegovina and BDBiH Cantons in the Entity Federation of BiH


Constitution structure of BiH

On the left side the two entities of Bosnia and Herzegovina (Republika Srpska and FBiH) are represented.

The right illustration represents the constitutional structure of FBiH, which consist of 10 cantons:

I) Unsko-sanski kanton; II) Posavski kanton; III) Tuzlanski kanton; IV) Zeničko-dobojski kanton; V) Bosansko-podrinjski kanton Goražde; VI) Srednjobosanski kanton; VII) Hercegovačko-neretvanskog kantona; VIII) Zapadnohercegovački kanton; IX) Kanton Sarajevo; X) Kanton 10.

In accordance with the constitution of BiH, education is under the jurisdiction of Republika Srpska, the 10 cantons of FDBiH and BDBiH. Each of these 12 administrative units has its ministry of education, education legislation and budgets, and also the rights and obligations stemming from its full responsibility for the functioning of the education system on its respective territory.

The Ministry of Civil Affairs of BiH (acts on state level), is responsible for fulfilling tasks which are in the jurisdiction of the state of BiH, consisting of basic coordination of activities, harmonization of the plans  of entity authorities and defining international strategies, education being one of them. (article 15 law on ministries and other authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina, “official Gazette BiH” number 5/03).

There are three consulting bodies for the education sector in BiH.

The Conference of Ministers of Education in BiH (consulting body responsible for VET), is comprised by the two entity ministers of education, the 10 cantonal ministers of education and the Head of Department for Education of BDBiH. All 14 ministers discuss relevant issues regarding education and trainings. All decisions are adopted by consensus.

There are three education agencies on state level: including VET (web portal APOSO, VET section ( as well as two more agencies on higher education level.

The agency for preschool, primary school and secondary school (APOSO) as an expert institution, founded by the Law on Agency for preschool, primary and secondary school(“Official Gazette BiH”, number 88/07) , is competent for setting standards of knowledge and evaluation of the results achieved; development of the common core of curricula in preschool, primary and secondary education; development of vocational education as well as other expert tasks with regards to standard and quality as prescribed by specific laws and regulations.  The Law on Founding and the Framework Law on Secondary Vocational Education and Training in BiH enable its jurisdiction over VET.

On BiH level, the Framework Law on Secondary Vocational Education and Training in BiH (“Official Gazette 63/08) is adopted. This law defines the basic principles, goals and standards, based on goals and recommendations of the EU. The competent education authorities on entity, cantonal level and BDBiH level, are obliged to adjust their own regulations in accordance with this law.

The Framework Law on Secondary Vocational Education and Training in BiH regulated segments significant for organizing practical education such as:

  • Harmonization of education with the market
  • Duration of schooling
  • Standards of evaluation
  • Associations of schools
  • Counselling bodies etc.

Adult education and commercial jobs are also envisaged by law.

A series of strategic documents in education and training based on UN and EU strategic goals have been adopted on BiH level, with the aim of serving as guidelines for the education authorities in deciding about further development.

Some of these documents are:

  • Strategy for Development of VET for the period of 2007-2013 (“Official Gazette BiH” 65/07)
  • Strategic Direction of Education Development in BiH with Implementation Plan for the period 2008-2015 (“Official Gazette BiH” 63/08)
  • Qualification Framework Basis (“Official Gazette BiH”31/11)
  • Strategy of Entrepreneurial Learning in Education Systems in BiH in the period 2012-2015 with Action Plan for Implementation (“Official Gazette BiH”31/12)
  • Principles and Standards of Adult Education in BiH (“Official Gazette BiH”
  • 39/14)
  • Strategic Platform for Development of Adult Education within the context of Lifelong Learning in BiH for the Period of 2014-2020. (“Official Gazette BiH” 94/14)
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