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Bosnia and Herzegovina showcase pioneering schools during Global Entrepreneurship Week

Year/Date: 18/11/2011


Education and economy stakeholders in Bosnia and Herzegovina got more than they bargained for when they gathered in Sarajevo, 17 November, to celebrate Global Entrepreneurship Week. At a conference called by the Ministry of Civil Affairs which coordinates education developments in the Western Balkan country, delegates heard at first hand from a number of schools that have embraced the entrepreneurial learning agenda – and to good effect.

The conference was the culmination of a strategy development drive comprising all constituent parts of the state of Bosnia and Herzegovina, including the world of business and civic interest groups. The strategy includes an action plan to get running in 2012.

Congratulating the ten person team behind the strategy, the ETF’s Anthony Gribben pointed to a number of factors which he considered critical to the strategy’s success, including cross-stakeholder partnership. ‘A shared agenda is imperative in building a lifelong entrepreneurial learning system,’ he told the meeting. But he recommended a better engagement from the higher education community into the developments.

The strategy has already been considered by 13 education ministers in Bosnia and Herzegovina where education developments are decentralised to cantonal level. It will now be considered by the Council of Ministers of Education at state level. The Council provides an education governance framework for the state of Bosnia and Herzegovina. A ‘green light’ from the Association of Employers of Bosnia and Herzegovina for the strategy demonstrates the importance that the business sector attaches to the issue.

Daria Duilovic, Head of Education Policy at the Ministry of Civil Affairs, the state-level body responsible for education affairs, added her congratulations to the strategy development team. A core message in the strategy is that ‘entrepreneurial learning is not to be understood as how to convert young people into entrepreneurs but rather to stimulate more entrepreneurial individuals,’ she said. This concept of entrepreneurship as a key competence within the strategy draws directly from the EU’s recommendations for key competences for lifelong learning.

Addressing the meeting, Slobodan Markovic, Director of the Agency for SME Development of Republika Srpska, one of the entities making up Bosnia and Herzegovina, reinforced the notion of key competence. ‘Business is not about money,’ he said, ‘it’s about people and the dynamic they create in generating ideas, solving problems, finding opportunities.’

The key competence drive came through when teachers from schools from Brcko and Banja Luka shared their development work into the conference which generated great interest from delegates. The schools’ developments centre on curriculum innovation and teacher training, led by a teacher development expert team.

The meeting also heard from other experts working on entrepreneurship promotion outside the formal education system and where linkages needed to be considered. Azra Berilo of MI BOSPO, a women’s entrepreneurship support network, underlined for example, how networking for women constituted a learning outlet for women whose family responsibilities prevented access to more formal training on offer.

Jadranka Mihic of the EU Delegation to Bosnia and Herzegovina thanked all stakeholders for their concerted efforts in elaborating the entrepreneurial learning strategy. The strategy-building exercise had the financial support of the European Commission with follow-up options now on the table.

For more information on the conference or other ETF activities in Bosnia and Herzegovina, contact Margareta Nikoloskva, ETF Country Manager

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