How to overcome segregation? – Inclusion and equality in education in Bosnia and Herzegovina

The field of education in BiH is characterized by numerous problems. One of the most visible and the most present in the public sphere is certainly the complex problem of discrimination and segregation, which is probably most visible in the case of „two schools under one roof". The common denominator in this context is the separation, which persists in educational systems in BiH, primarily on two grounds. On one hand, relevant international, as well as national, actors have been pointing for years to the unacceptable practice of physical separation of children along ethnic lines in BiH schools. On the other hand, insufficient efforts of BiH authorities in ensuring the inclusion of children with disabilities and special needs in the regular education process are also subject to criticism. Despite the authoritative and vocal criticisms from relevant international instances, progress in combating segregation in education in BiH has been slow and limited. Thus, the practice of "two schools under one roof" is still justified by the right to one's own language and identity, while as the main excuses for the failure to ensure the inclusion of children with special needs are still cited the complexity of such intervention in the education system and lack of resources.

Therefore, on 30th of May 2017, Analitika has organized a conference "From discrimination to inclusion and equality in education in Bosnia and Herzegovina" with the aim to gather relevant stakeholders from the governmental and non-governmental sector, as well as experts and  representatives of international organizations, to discuss the different dimensions of discrimination and segregation in education in BiH, and to identify,  in a constructive atmosphere, key challenges, achievements and possible paths for progress in this field. The conference was structured around two panels. The first panel  focused on the issue of inclusion in education, whereas the second panel  dealt with the issue of language and identity, i.e. “national group of subjects” on the one hand and on the other hand with the issue of striking the right balance between integration and respect of the right of one’s own language and identity in the educational process. The content inspired many interesting questions and comments which contributed to a very lively and fruitful discussion after each panel.

Conference report on B/H/S languages is available HERE

Conference was organized within the project:  Equality for All: Civil Society Coalition against Discrimination. Project is implemented by Mediacentar Sarajevo, Analitika – Center for Social Research,  Rights for All and Vaša prava BiH. This project is financed by USAID and Open Society Fund Bosnia and Herzegovina.