The Bosnia and Herzegovina K-12 Education System

The Federal Ministry of Education and Culture coordinates with 10 cantonal ministries of education to manage the K-12 education system in Bosnia and Herzegovina. 

Understanding the K-12 Education System in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Preschool Education

Preschool education in Bosnia and Herzegovina is not compulsory. This form of education is offered by daycare centres and kindergartens. Children up to the age of 3 may attend daycare centres, and children aged 3 to 6 attend kindergarten in Bosnia and Herzegovina. This educational level develops the intellectual, creative, physical, social and communication skills of the children, extending their knowledge about world, self and others. This level prepares children for school. 

Law on pre-primary education: Law on Preschool Education
Year: 2007

Primary Education

Primary education in Bosnia and Herzegovina is compulsory to attend. This educational level word towards developing the child’s abilities and potential, and develops critical and creative thinking skills. 
  • Duration: 9 years
  • Ages: 6 to 15
  • Grades: 1 to 9
This educational level is divided into three cycles:
  • Cycle 1 cover grades 1 to 3 
  • Cycle 2 cover grades 4 to 6 
  • Cycle 3 cover grades 7 to 9 
Curriculum: Mathematics, biology,  language and literature, history, first foreign language, knowledge of nature, second foreign language, computer science, physics, technical education, chemistry, society and environment, art education, geography, health and physical education, music, ICT and technology.

Secondary Education

Secondary education in Bosnia and Herzegovina is not compulsory to attend. But students who wish to go for higher education are required to undertake this level.  Secondary education in Bosnia and Herzegovina is of two types:
  • General secondary education
  • Vocational and technical secondary education
Secondary education in Bosnia and Herzegovina is offered in general, technical, religious, arts and special education schools. 

General Secondary Education (Gymnasium)

General secondary education in Bosnia and Herzegovina prepares students for higher education. 
  • Duration: 3 years
  • Grades: 10 to 12
  • Ages: 15 to 18
Curriculum: History, language and literature, chemistry, mathematics, first foreign language, sociology, biology, second foreign language, geography, Latin, computer science, psychology, music, physics, physical education, philosophy, and fine arts.

Certificate awarded: Diploma of secondary education (Svjedočanstva o zavrsenoj srednjoj skoli)

Secondary Vocational Education

Secondary vocational education in Bosnia and Herzegovina focuses on practical training. This level provides education related to a specific job. 
  • Duration: 2 to 3 years
Certificate awarded: Diploma

Matura Examination

At the end of secondary education, students must take a school leaving examination-Matura. Those who pass the examination are given a certificate of Matura exam. Student who hold the certification are eligible for higher education in Bosnia and Herzegovina. 

Compulsory subjects: Mother tongue, mathematics, and first foreign language.

Optional subjects: Biology, history, chemistry, philosophy, psychology, computer science, and physics. 
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