According to the Trends in Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS), Bosnian schools are not ready for the knowledge society of the 21st century leaving children without the same opportunities as their peers in the West. This is an unbearable situation which must be changed as soon as possible, said the EU Delegation to Bosnia, OSCE, UNICEF and United States Embassy said in a joint statement Tuesday on the occasion of the publication of the TIMSS results, conducted in 2019.
“With their future at stake, at least 600,000 Bosnian children cannot wait anymore. As demonstrated by the 2018 Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) results and confirmed by the results from TIMSS we saw today, Bosnia faces a learning crisis. That combined with the pandemic could undermine decades of progress and exacerbate entrenched inequalities,” the statement said. “Therefore, it is urgent that the education authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina design and implement comprehensive education reforms, based on the findings of international large-scale assessments, as the same provide detailed data for informed policy decisions.”
The stressed that continued participation in international large-scale assessments is crucial for monitoring and following the developments and trends in education, so necessary adjustments to education reforms can be made.
In that context, the signatories recalled the European Commission’s 2020 Report on Bosnia which notes that participation in such assessments should be taken to track the country’s progress and enhance visibility and comparability in a larger context.
They warned that education reform should be a central pillar of the country’s development efforts.
“To ensure evidence-based education reform, Bosnia should take all the necessary steps for participation in the upcoming international large-scale assessments (Progress in International Reading Literacy Study – PIRLS 2021 and PISA 2022). We call upon the authorities to reach consensus for Bosnia's continuous participation in these valuable assessments whilst ensuring inclusivity and transparency of the assessment processes including through consistent co-operation with and between all education authorities,” the statement said.
The signatories to the statement concluded that competent education authorities at all levels of government must take bold steps now, to create inclusive, resilient and quality education systems fit for the future.