Foreword

Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) has expanded access to school education in recent years and international assessments reveal that student achievement is similar to other Western Balkan economies. However, international data also shows that a large share of students in BiH leave school without mastering basic competences and overall performance lags behind the average learning outcomes achieved in OECD and EU countries. The complex governance structure in BiH and limited collaboration across government partners, as well as a range of capacity constraints and the inefficient allocation of resources hinders collective efforts to improve teaching and learning in the country.

Policymakers in BiH should strengthen collaboration between competent education authorities and state level actors to develop targeted and realistic policy reforms. Establishing a culture of evidence-informed policymaking can also help to improve educational outcomes by promoting more accountability and transparency across the country’s education systems and providing quality learning opportunities for all students. Such efforts are crucial to BiH’s economic development and social prosperity.

The OECD and UNICEF undertook this review of evaluation and assessment in the education systems of BiH, in close collaboration with the Ministry of Civil Affairs of Bosnia and Herzegovina and competent education authorities (CEAs) at the entity, district and canton level. In particular, this review provides an international perspective on the country’s educational assessment and evaluation systems and offers recommendations to help BiH capitalise on promising policies and practices that support student learning. The proposals included in this report put teaching and learning as the heart of these practices, meaning that student assessments, teacher appraisals and both school and system evaluations all contribute to the ultimate goal of helping students learn.

This review builds on the longstanding collaboration between the OECD Directorate for Education and Skills and UNICEF. It has benefitted from our organisations’ complementary experience and expertise, providing context-specific analysis of evaluation and assessment in BiH’s education systems.

Above all, we hope that this review will be a useful reference for Bosnia and Herzegovina in its reforms of these systems. As state authorities continue their efforts to provide a common education framework for students all across the country , this review offers informed guidance to assist decision-makers in achieving this and other goals. We hope that this review contributes to the development of education systems that helps every student succeed.

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Andreas Schleicher

Director for Education and Skills and Special Advisor on Education Policy to the OECD Secretary-General

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Rownak Khan

UNICEF Representative to Bosnia and Herzegovina

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