The joint project “Strengthening Higher Education in BiH”
28th December 2005. – 27 January 2008.
This joint project of the European Commission and the Council of Europe was launched to help BiH to meet its obligations regarding Bergen Communiqué in May 2005: namely, the preparation and introduction of state-level functions for recognition of qualifications and assessment, evaluation and accreditation in higher education, based on the best European and international practice.
Project budget amounts to € 364.000
Through technical assistance, training and development instruments and policies of reform, together with BiH counterparts in higher education, the project has helped BiH to adopt the reform of higher education in accordance with the requirements of the Bologna process. It enabled BiH to report significant progress in the conference in London in May 2007.
The focus of the project
was on three important and interrelated areas within the Bologna process.
- Recognition of degrees and study periods, which refers to the assessment and recognition of individual degrees and study periods which have been acquired abroad, and provision of similar information requested from abroad regarding degrees and study periods acquired in BiH.
- Quality assurance and accreditation, which refers to the evaluation and improvement of higher education institutions and programs they offer.
- The framework for BiH higher education qualifications, which is a description of the education system that is internationally understood. It sets benchmarks for the knowledge and competencies to be acquired in order to obtain academic qualifications or diplomas, and is designed to ensure consistent use of the names of qualifications.
- Creating basic strategies and guidelines for implementing the Bologna reforms in BiH
- National Action Plan to improve procedures for the recognition of qualifications in accordance with the Lisbon Recognition Convention (National Action Plan is a document submitted by each member of the Bologna process in December 2006. Together with its biennial report on the Bologna reforms)
- Model for the Diploma Supplement issued by the BiH universities
- Handbook for the Diploma Supplement
- Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in Higher Education
- Recommendations for their implementation
- A generic framework of higher education qualifications in BiH
- Recommendations for its implementation
These documents are made in a bottom-up process. They are made by working groups of BiH involving all public Universities in BiH, students, state and entity ministries and six international experts of the Council of Europe. These documents have been approved by all public Universities, all the ministries responsible for education including Brcko District and adopted by the Council of Ministers on 27th December 2007. Adoption of these documents was thus “affirmative” act and not “normative” decrees from the top.
- Activities regarding provision of information and recognition: capacity building in the Ministry of Civil Affairs (staff training and technical assistance in order to appropriately respond to requests from abroad, help with setting up a web site, including BiH in ENIC-NARIC network and website, see www.enic-naric.net)
- Activities regarding all three main fields of the project: capacity building within ministries and universities through working groups of BiH and training by international experts and the establishment of the group of “Bologna promoters” among public universities (one initial training and provision of tools for dissemination)
- Activities regarding recognition and quality assurance: development of detailed recommendations for establishing “Agency for Higher Education and Quality Assurance” and “Center for Information and Recognition” as described in the Framework Law on Higher Education of Bosnia-Herzegovina from August 2007.