Education System of Bosnia and Herzegovina

Geographical Position

Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) is located in southeastern Europe on the Balkan Peninsula, bordered by Montenegro to the southeast, Croatia to the south and north west, Adriatic Sea to the south, and Serbia to the east. 

Bosnia and Herzegovina in Brief

Capital: Sarajevo (largest city)

Official languages: Bosnian, Serbian, and Croatian 

Government: Federal parliamentary republic

Currency Convertible mark (BAM)

Internet domain: .ba

Education Profile of Bosnia and Herzegovina

Bosnia and Herzegovina is defined as an independent state encompassing two entities:
  • The Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (FBIH)
  • Republika Srpska (RS)
The education sector is managed by the 10 cantons of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Republika Srpska and Brcko district. The Ministry of Education administers the education system in Bosnia and Herzegovina (Bosna i Hercegovina). Education in Bosnia and Herzegovina is compulsory for all children aged 6 to 15. Compulsory education in Bosnia and Herzegovina is free of charge, but parents are required to pay for transportation, food and books. 

The education system in Bosnia and Herzegovina comprises of four levels:
  • Kindergarten education
  • Primary education
  • Secondary education
  • Tertiary education

Preschool Education

This educational level is optional. Children up to the age of 3 years attend daycare centres in Bosnia and Herzegovina. These centres focus on physical care. Kindergartens in Bosnia and Herzegovina cater to children aged 3 to 6/7. In Bosnia and Herzegovina, there are special kindergartens also available for children aged 3 to 7/9. The kindergartens are funded partly by the state.  This level provides basic numbers and alphabet knowledge and prepares children for primary education. 

Primary Education

Primary education in Bosnia and Herzegovina is compulsory to attend for all children aged 6 to 15, and is free of charge at public schools. Primary education is divided into three cycles: 
  • Cycle 1 caters to children aged 6 to 9
  • Cycle 2 caters to children aged 9 to 12
  • Cycle 3 caters to children aged 12 to 15
In Bosnia and Herzegovina, along with the regular primary schools that focus on academic subjects, there are ballet and music schools also available. 

Secondary Education

Secondary education in Bosnia and Herzegovina is not compulsory to attend and is for children aged 15 to 18. In Bosnia and Herzegovina, there is general secondary education or gymnasium, and vocational and technical secondary education.
  • General secondary education (Gimnazija) in Bosnia and Herzegovina is of 4 years duration, which emphasize on academic subjects. At the end of this level, students are required to undertake a Matura exam that lead to their admission to higher education institution. 
  • Vocational and technical secondary education last for 3 to 4 years, depending on the field of study. 

Tertiary/Higher Education

Tertiary education in Bosnia and Herzegovina is offered by public and private higher education institutions- universities, art academies and faculties.  

Higher Education Qualifications

The higher education system in Bosnia and Herzegovina has three degree levels:
Undergraduate: This level is of 3 to 4 years’ duration, and lead to the title of Bachelor of Science or Arts. 
  • ECTS: 180 to 240 credit points
Postgraduate: This level is of 1-2 years duration and lead to the title of Master of Science or Arts.
  • ECTS: 120 credits
PhD/Doctorate: Students who have complete master’s studies are eligible for PhD studies in Bosnia and Herzegovina. This degree programme is of 3 years duration, and leads to the academic title of Doctor of Arts or Doctor of Science.

Some of the universities in Bosnia and Herzegovina also provide postgraduate specialist programmes of 1 to 2 years duration that lead to the title of specialist. 

To know more about the education system in Bosnia and Herzegovina, read the post "Overview".

Admission Requirements

Admission requirements vary depending on the level of study and programme of study. For admission to the undergraduate study programme in Bosnia and Herzegovina, students must have completed secondary education and passed Matura exam. 

Grading System

School Education Grading Scale

The primary and secondary schools in Bosnia and Herzegovina use a 5-point scale. The lowest passing grade is 2.

 Grading scale Grade description (In English) Grade description (In Serbo-Croatian) US Grade
 5.00 Excellent Odličan A+
 4.00-4.99 Very GoodVrlo Doba   A
 3.00-3.99 Good Dobar B
 2.00-2.99 Fair/Satisfactory Dovoljan C
 1.00-1.99 Unsatisfactory/Fail Nedovoljan F

Higher Education Grading System

The higher education institutions in Bosnia and Herzegovina use a 10-point grading scale. The lowest passing grade is 6.

 Scale Grade description (In English) Grade description (In Serbo-Croatian)US Grade 
 10.00 Excellent Odličan  A+
 9.00-9.99 Very Good Vrlo Doba A
 7.00-8.99 Good Dobar B
 6.00-6.99 Satisfactory/Sufficient Dovoljan C
 0.00-5.99 Unsatisfactory/Fail Nedovoljan F

Language of Instruction

The language of instruction in Bosnia and Herzegovina is Croatian, Bosnian and Serbian. 

Academic Year

The academic year in Bosnia and Herzegovina runs from October to June, with holidays from 1 July to 30 September. The academic year is divided into two semesters:
  • Fall semester: Starts in early October and concludes in mid-January
  • Spring semester: Starts in early February and concludes in late May. 

Accreditation

Agency for Development of Higher Education and Quality Assurance

The Agency for Development of Higher Education and Quality Assurance in Bosnia and Herzegovina started operating in 2008 December. The Agency determines the criteria for accreditation of higher education institutions in Bosnia and Herzegovina, defines the quality standards and norms, restructures the courses of study, provides recommendation for licensing of higher education institutions and its courses, and represents the country in international organizations that handle quality assurance in tertiary education. 

Contact details:
Ulica akademika Jovana Surutke 13
78000 Banjaluka
Phone: 387 51 430 510 / 387 51 430 510
Fax: 387 51 462 302
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