QUALITY ASSURANCE AND MANAGEMENT IN B&H
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QUALITY ASSURANCE AND MANAGEMENT IN B&H
The system of higher education (HE) and education in general in Bosnia and Herzegovina (B&H) is based on the constitutional system which defines B&H as a state consisting of two entities: The Federation of B&H (FB&H) and the Republika Srpska (RS), with the District of Brčko being aseparate administrative unit. The entity of the FB&H consists of ten cantons with each of them having its own educational system (Cantonal Government and Ministry for Education). There exist state-level, entity-level and cantonal governments.1 The Dayton Peace Agreement (1995) provided a basis for this deeply divided system of HE. The Canton of Sarajevo is one of ten cantons within the Federation of B&H. Cantonal laws regulate all levels of education. Primary and secondary schools and public universities are financed by Cantonal Governments – specifically the Ministry of Education and Science of Sarajevo Canton. With an estimated population of 4.3 million, B&H has 8 public universities (Sarajevo, Sarajevo-East, Tuzla, Zenica, Banja Luka, Bihać, Mostar-East, Mostar-West) and two public institutions. In addition, during the last ten years many private universities/schools have been established. With regard to degree-based education in the fields of Economics and Management (Business, Business Administration), there are currently 32 higher education isntitutions (HEI) in B&H. This situation is mainly result of the Constitution (Dayton Peace Agreement, 1995) and inadequate legal regulations governing the quality of those institutions.
There is a certain progress in terms of introduction of mechanisms of internal and external quality assurance in majority of HEIs. Unlike other countries, where education in general and HE in particular is centrally controlled by national ministry of education which regulates funding, the B&H case differs. Below these 12 levels, the system is centralized at the university level, in the case of the two integrated universities, or decentralized at the faculty level, in the case of the six other universities, which are loosely coupled associations of faculties. Hence deans and rectors are responsible to the respective cantonal and/or entity governments. Therefore, the organizational control in B&H HE tends to be decentralized, which has traditionally been a characteristic of academic institutions in the region. Cantons cannot be instructed by higher government levels to act in the national interest. First of all, nobody has reached an agreement on what the “national interest” is, and second, the B&H HE system is almost entirely dependent on funding provided by the government(s) in the respective cantons and entities. In the case of B&H HE system, governance is centralized and decentralized at the same time. Centralization implies that the legislation, majority of cantonal and entity laws are strict, overregulated, and inherited from the previous system. The law, for instance, defines management structure, degree structure, study rules, employment rules, and so on. At the same time, at the majority of non-integrated universities, highly independent faculties act as legal entities with their own faculty “rulebooks” implying decentralization at the institutional level 2. Coordination between the Ministries of Education has improved as a result of the establishment of the Conference of Ministers chaired by the Minister of Civil Affairs. A strategy paper on the reform of the education sector, entitled "Directions for Education Development in B&H 2008- 2015", has been adopted. The Council of Ministers made a decision to join the European Quality Assurance Register for HE. Acting Director of the Agency for Development of HE and Quality Assurance (Agency) was appointed in June 2008 www.hea.gov.ba.