Cooperation between school and business at the local level: there is an opportunity, but how to start?

More recently, since 2003, i.e. the Framework Law on Primary and Secondary Education in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and in 2008, with the adoption of the Framework Law on Secondary Vocational Education and Training in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the so-called school autonomy “which especially implies the freedom of the school to design and implement educational content according to the requirements of the local labor market”.
In Republika Srpska, the law is harmonized with the Framework and, according to the current law, “with the consent of the Minister, part of the curricula for vocational education, up to 30% can be determined by the teachers’ council at the suggestion of teachers’ professional assets, taking into account the needs of the labor market of the local self-government unit.”

In the West Herzegovina Canton, the law is also harmonized in a similar way, i.e. “the part of the curriculum that can be designed in schools does not contain, as a rule, more than 30% of the overall curriculum. Part of the curriculum for each professional subject, at the proposal of the professional staff, may be determined by the teachers’ council of the school, with the consent of the Minister. In determining the curriculum, the needs of the local labor market are taken into account. ”
However, the fact that the possibility of harmonizing 30% of curricula according to the requirements of the local labor market is not given, does not mean that it is used.

This is exactly what Moja Budućnost saw as a starting point for designing interventions that, on the one hand, strengthen the capacity of targeted schools to connect with the economy at the local level, and on the other, strengthen the capacity of the economy to adequately identify and timely communicate real demand for occupations. , along with a number of other activities that strengthen the school-company connection at the local level, on which the project primarily operates. All activities are led by school teachers in cooperation with the local economy, and coordinated by representatives of development agencies, chambers of commerce or employers’ associations, where they exist. Where they do not exist, such as Široki Brijeg, all the burden falls on the school staff and their initiative.

During the difficult period of the pandemic, the activities within the mentioned interventions were somewhat slowed down but did not stop – in May, experiences were transferred from the project [2011-2019] supported by the Swiss Government to schools in Trebinje and Široki Brijeg. and in August 2020 to lead the process of revision of curricula for targeted occupations.

Occupations were selected based on the needs of the local labor market – ‘chef’ and ‘tourism technician’ at the High School Center in Trebinje, ‘electrician-electrician’ and ‘CNC technology technician’ at the Technical School in Trebinje; while the profession, ‘mechatronics technician’, was first introduced at the Secondary Vocational School in Široki Brijeg. Curriculum revisions, within the legal preconditions, were successfully conducted in close cooperation with the economy. Ministries have approved revised programs and students of targeted occupations of all schools attend classes in accordance with the needs of the local labor market.
Work on targeted locations will continue during 2021, and guidelines for curriculum revision at the local level are being prepared, so Moja Budućnost intends to share access and successful experiences with all interested schools and businesses throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The curriculum is only one part of the issue of vocational education; 30%, we will agree, is not much but it is enough for the first step.

Who should do it?