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Drafting a common Curriculum: Framework, Bosnia and Herzegovina


Issue: At the end of the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) in 1995, the three main constituencies in the conflict (Bosnians, Serbs, and Croats) had the prerogative to select or develop their own curriculum, leading to concern that curricula would reflect ethnic or religious bias and increase divisions in BiH.

Intervention: Various programmes were undertaken in order to overcome ethnic divisions and set the basis for a common curriculum framework. In particular, UNESCO-IBE, in collaboration with the education authorities of BiH, trained and certified more than 60 curriculum specialists and decision makers representing the three constituencies between 2003 and 2004. The development of a common curriculum framework was perceived as a solution to enhance education quality and equality in BiH. It was intended that this new framework focused on effectively assessing commonly-defined learning outcomes instead of privileging the evaluation of memorised pre-fabricated knowledge that often promoted content with ethnic, religious and/or gender biases. A model of such a common curriculum framework was developed in 2004-2005 within the European Union Education Project for BiH. However, the model framework was not officially adopted although many of its principles were addressed during subsequent curriculum revision processes.

A key lesson learnt in the process highlights the benefits of working with ethnically-mix groups within some commonly-accepted goals and procedures; this is of particular importance in post-conflict contexts when ethnic divisions may be considerable obstacles towards living and working together.

Sources: UNESCO-IBE & INEE. 2010. Guidance Notes on Teaching and Learning, p. 11

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