Bosnia and Herzegovina

Overview of QA System

Higher education in BiH has been identified as a priority area of special public interest. Care about the quality of education and its development is becoming a priority in BiH education policies at all levels. Public universities in BiH had started reforms and introduction of policies and practices of quality assurance prior to inclusion of BiH in the Bologna process in 2003. During the 2003/2004 academic year all existing public universities in BiH have been included in the institutional assessment of the European University Association (EUA).

Key documents in the field of quality assurance in higher education in BiH are Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in Higher Education in BiH and Recommendations for Implementation of Quality Assurance in Higher Education in BiH (Decision of the Council of Ministers of 27 December 2007, on the adoption of the documents necessary for further implementation of the Bologna process in BiH - "Official Gazette of BiH", No. 13/08). The third key document which defines the quality assurance system in BiH is the Framework Law on Higher Education in BiH adopted in 2007 ("Official Gazette of BiH", Nos. 59/07 and 59/09) - BiH signed the Bologna Declaration in 2003 at the Conference of Ministers in Berlin, but only the adoption of the Framework Law on Higher Education in BiH has been progress in terms of establishing a common legal framework for the whole country, and the decisive turning point in supporting higher education reforms in BiH in line with the principles and standards of the reform process in the European higher Education Area.

Framework Law sets up the organization of higher education in BiH and the responsibility of the competent authorities. The bodies for enforcement of laws and international obligations of BiH have been established including Agency for Higher Education Development and Quality Assurance, and BiH Rectors' Conference. With the Ministry of Civil Affairs and the Conference of Ministers of Education, BiH has established institutional network with clearly defined competences, responsibilities and tasks that provide favorable conditions for the construction and development of higher education on the basis of accepted strategic objectives, European standards and the Bologna principles.

On the basis of Article 48 of the Framework Law on Higher Education in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Agency for Higher Education Development and Quality Assurance has developed a reference document "Criteria for Accreditation of Higher Education Institutions in BiH" ("Official Gazette of BiH", No. 75/10), Decision on Amendments to the Decision on the Criteria for Accreditation of Higher Education Institutions in Bosnia and Herzegovina ("Official Gazette of BiH", No. 44/13) and the document entitled "Decision on Minimal Standards in Higher Education in Bosnia and Herzegovina" ("Official Gazette of BiH", No. 100/11).

The documents are fully compliant with the document "Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Area" - ESG adopted by the Conference of European Ministers of Education in Bergen in 2005, which was recommended by the decision of the European Parliament and of the Council No 2006/143/EC of 15 February 2006 as the basic document for Quality Assurance in Higher Education in the European Union. From December 2009, the Agency for Development of Higher Education and Quality Assurance became a full member of the International Network of Quality Assurance Agencies in Higher Education (INQAAHE). In February 2010, the Agency received the status of an associate member of the European Association for Quality Assurance (ENQA) and, since May 2010, the HEA is a full member of the Network of Quality Assurance Agencies in Higher Education in Central and Eastern Europe (CEEN).

Legislation in Higher Education

BiH has a complex political and administrative structure that contributes to the creation of a specific environment for higher education. Education in BiH, including higher education, is in complete and undivided jurisdiction of the Republic of Srpska entity, ten cantons in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Brčko District of BiH. Each of 12 administrative units has its own Ministry of Education/Department of Education, the laws and budgets for education. They decide on educational policy and have all other rights and obligations arising from the mandate of the relevant education authorities responsible for the organization and functioning of education in their areas of responsibility.

In addition to the Framework Law on Higher Education in BiH, the legislative framework in BiH includes laws on higher education in RS entity, cantons in the Federation of BiH and Brcko District of BiH. Laws are available. Upon public consultation with all stakeholders, the Agency for Higher Education Development and Quality Assurance produced and published in the Official Gazette and on the Agency website the documents relating to the accreditation process in BiH.

In order to specify the accreditation procedure competent education authorities adopted the following policies and procedures: Rules of Procedure for Accreditation of Higher Education Institutions and Study Programmes ("Official Gazette of Canton Sarajevo", no. 26/13); Rules of Procedure for Accreditation of Higher Education Institutions and Study Programmes ("Official Gazette of Tuzla Canton", No. 18/13 and 9/14); Rules of Procedure for Accreditation of Higher Education Institutions and Study Programmes ("Official Gazette of Una-Sana Canton", No. 17/14); Rules of Procedure for Accreditation of Higher Education Institutions and Study Programmes in Central Bosnia Canton ("Official Gazette of Central Bosnia Canton", No. 6/14); Rules of Procedure for Accreditation of Higher Education Institutions and Study Programmes ("Official Gazette of the Herzegovina-Neretva Canton", No. 4/14); Rules of Procedure for Accreditation of Higher Education Institutions and Study Programmes in the Zenica-Doboj Canton ("Official Gazette of Zenica-Doboj Canton", Nos. 4/12 and 13/13); Rules of Procedure for Accreditation of Higher Education Institutions and Study Programmes ("Official Gazette of Herzeg-Bosnia Canton", No. 2/13) and Procedures for Accreditation of Higher Education Institutions (RSHEAA).

(Source: Eurydice, page updated 9 October, 2017)