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EACEA National Policies Platform
Bosnia and Herzegovina

Bosnia and Herzegovina

6. Education and Training

6.4 Validation of non-formal and informal learning

Last update: 19 February 2024

Regulations on academic recognition

The Rulebook on academic recognition regulates the general conditions, methods, procedure, minimum criteria and authorities for the implementation of the procedure for the recognition of foreign educational documents, periods of study, non-formal education and informal learning at University of Zenica. The aim of the Rulebook is to facilitate the international mobility of academic staff and students, and to improve and facilitate recognition procedures.

Non-formal education is education that is acquired outside the official education system but takes place within a flexibly structured learning context aimed at training for work and other social activities, as well as personal development. This education does not lead to the acquisition of a generally recognized public document, but it can be completed by formalized verification of learning outcomes, i.e., acquired knowledge, skills and competences, and by the acquisition of a corresponding certificate. Informal learning is learning that is the result of everyday life activities related to work, family and rest. It is not structured and does not end with the acquisition of a document.

RS Volunteer Service 

The RS Volunteer Service is an independent, non-governmental, non-partisan, non-profit organization that contributes to the development and improvement of volunteering as an activity of general interest for the Republic of Srpska in the territory of the RS with the aim of improving the quality of life, active involvement of citizens in social processes and the development of a more humane and equal democratic society.

The RS Volunteer Service operates at the national and local level, through the daily activities of Local Volunteer Services. Each Local Volunteer Service (LVS) is an info point where interested volunteers or volunteer applicants can get all the necessary information about volunteering. The headquarters of the organization is in Srbac, and since May 2020 the work of the RS Volunteer Service has been managed by the Association of Citizens "C.E.Z.A.R.".

Program goals:

  1. Establishment of harmonized and adequate legal regulation of volunteering, which effectively and adequately supports the continuous and sustainable improvement and development of volunteering in RS.

  2. Development and improvement of adequate and efficient volunteering infrastructure at the local and national level, which creates conditions and opportunities for continuous and sustainable improvement and development of volunteering in RS.

  3. Establishing a framework and methodology for the transfer of knowledge, experiences and information about volunteering in formal and informal education systems, and a clear positioning of volunteering in lifelong learning processes in RS.

  4. In a high-quality and adequate way, continuous promotion of knowledge, opportunities and examples of good practice in the field of improvement and development of volunteering by existing and available electronic, written and other media, and other promotion activities.


Local volunteer service

The local volunteer service is a place where all interested citizens can get information about volunteerism, volunteer engagements and a place where all organizations and institutions can quickly reach the required number of profiled, educated volunteers.

The local volunteer service is a structure that effectively tries to connect a person interested in volunteering with organizations and institutions that need the help of volunteers. The service works to recruit volunteers from the community, which it then refers to other organizations and institutions as needed and upon request. The service was founded with the aim of developing volunteerism and systematically solving problems related to volunteering (protecting the rights of volunteers and users of volunteer services, improving and helping in volunteer management in organizations, recording and rewarding volunteer work, etc.). The main role of the service is to work on establishing a balance between supply and demand for human resources (volunteers) and improving social sector services.

Adult education in BiH

Policies defined that "BiH strives to build a society based on knowledge, at the same time enabling the development of the full potential of each individual."

In this process, it is necessary to include all social, social economic and political actors and through an approach of active coordination to build a partnership between them, with respect for lifelong learning and historical, cultural and traditional values of all peoples and citizens living in BiH. Education development policy in BiH, guidelines and key development goals regarding lifelong learning and adult education are mostly included in the existing strategic documents of the education sector related to education development. An institutional structure responsible for formulating, managing, coordinating and monitoring adult education policies in BiH has been established at various levels of government. It includes authorities, professional institutions, organizations and bodies of various social sectors, in accordance with established constitutional and legal responsibilities.

The institutional picture of the education sector in BiH is a logical reflection of the specific organization of the state defined by the BiH Constitution (federal organization with confederal elements), which consists of two administrative-legal entities (FBiH, which consists of ten counties/cantons and RS) and BiH BD.

Management of education in BiH is carried out asymmetrically according to the polycentric model (centralized in RS and BD BiH, and decentralized in FBiH). RS, ten cantons/counties in FBiH and BD BiH have full and undivided competence in education. Municipal authorities, of which there are 141 in BiH (FBiH - 79; RS - 62), have certain competences in the field of education, and they mainly relate to the establishment of educational institutions, organization and financing of the maintenance of school facilities. Each of the organizational units has established different institutional structures and institutions for the organization and management of education under its jurisdiction, including the field of adult education.

Institution for the education of adults in new occupations, Sarajevo

By establishing the Institute for Adult Education, the aim is to create a platform for launching new educational programs, in order to enable the adaptation of educational programs to the needs of the population and employers in Sarajevo Canton, but also beyond. In this way, the prerequisites for professional training, the acquisition of informal and formal education (through training and retraining) and thereby maintaining and even increasing the number of jobs in Sarajevo Canton will be met.

As part of its activities, the Institute has established cooperation with certain institutions in Sarajevo Canton that have already recognized an interest in co-financing adult education, as an example is the Municipality of Centar Sarajevo, which, immediately after learning about the public competition for the enrolment of the first generation of students, concluded an education contract for a certain number of participants for the acquisition of IV level secondary education, as well as a certain number of participants for retraining from the existing one to another occupation, namely for unemployed participants who are in poor financial condition, i.e. without any financial income.

Adult education in BiH

Current state and development recommendations

Adult education is a set of learning processes, formal, non-formal and informal, in which adults develop their abilities, enrich their knowledge and improve their technical or professional qualifications or redirect them in order to meet their needs or the needs of their societies. Various scientific disciplines deal with the characteristics and processes of adult learning, and didactic-methodical specificities of the adult education process so that the arrangement of the learning and teaching process has its primarily intentional character as a socially entrusted task. Promoting and public advocacy of adult education and learning that is realized everywhere and always are important activities of communities whose members are oriented towards the concept of lifelong learning. For this kind of orientation to take root in BiH and be witnessed by deeds, and not just declaratively promoted, it is important to ensure a series of assumptions without which it is difficult to build a serious educational system in today's time.

Based on Article 17 of the BiH Law on the Council of Ministers, at the proposal of the BiH Ministry of Civil Affairs, the Council of Ministers of BiH, at the 89th session held on April 4, 2014, made a Decision on the Adoption of Principles and Standards in the Field of Adult Education in BiH.

Content and scope of the Decision

(1) The principles and standards of adult education adopted by this decision represent the legal basis for the action of educational and other authorities - responsible bodies, institutions, organizations and individuals at all levels of government in BiH, as a framework in which they initiate, implement and coordinate their activities in in the field of adult education, in accordance with established competences.

(2) The principles and standards of adult education establish common principles and standards on which policies and legislation related to adult education are based, developed, implemented and coordinated throughout BiH, monitor, evaluate and consider the situation in this area, and agree, propose and take measures for its improvement.

(3) The basic principles and standards defined in the Principles and Standards of Adult Education follow international and European principles and standards in the field of adult education, and respect the specificities of the economic, social and cultural context in BiH.

Research on the recognition and confirmation of informal education in the European Union, Western Balkans and Turkey

Certification implies the publication of relevant documents on education, which confirm that the learning outcomes and skills acquired by a person through formal or informal education have been checked and confirmed by the competent authorities, in accordance with pre-established criteria and standards. After completion of formal adult education programs: primary and secondary education or their individual parts, as well as training and retraining, participants are issued public documents - certificates and diplomas that have the same validity as certificates obtained during regular education or public certificates valid for completed training programs. The name, form and content of public documents acquired in the adult education system are regulated by law or by-laws. 

The education of adults in trades and related activities, as well as the issuing of documents obtained by passing master's exams, is regulated by regulations in the field of adult education and/or trades regulations. After completing the program and checking knowledge and skills, the education organizer issues certificates or another document that is not considered a public document to the participants of the non-formal education program. If, after the completion of informal education, the knowledge, skills and abilities of the participants have not been verified, a certificate or other document that does not have the status of a public document, but from which it will be evident that the participants were members of a certain program and whose knowledge, skills and abilities were acquired, can still be issued provided by the program itself.

Handbook for improving qualifications in professional education and training

An introduction to the evaluation of non-formal education and informal learning

In the Fundamentals of the qualification framework in BiH, lifelong learning, formal education, non-formal education and informal learning are defined as follows:

  • Lifelong learning means connecting formal, non-formal education and informal learning in order to gain opportunities for constant improvement of the quality of life.

  • Formal education is learning that is directed by a teacher or instructor, which is acquired in educational institutions, according to curricula and programs approved by the competent educational authorities and which ends with an appropriate public document.

  • Informal education is an organized process of learning and education aimed at improving, specializing and supplementing knowledge, skills and competences according to special programs carried out by education and training organizers (regular schools, training centers, companies, agencies and the like).

  • Informal learning is spontaneous learning and acquisition of knowledge and skills through everyday activities.

We emphasize that for the evaluation and recognition of informal education and informal learning, it is not necessary to convert informal education and informal learning into formal education in order to achieve the evaluation and recognition of learning outcomes that were acquired in such ways. For individuals who have acquired learning outcomes in such ways and who for some reason need to prove the adoption of certain learning outcomes in the form of public examinations, then this can be made possible for those individuals through clear procedures and criteria for verification in the respective institutions.

Adult education - Developing new skills in the digital age

At the beginning of 2014, BiH adopted the Strategic Platform for the Development of Adult Education in the Context of Lifelong Learning for the period 2014-2020 in order to respond to the challenges of education, which is "constantly changing and upgrading in accordance with the economic, technological and scientific development of society, as well as cultural and other changes that occur both locally and regionally, as well as globally". In this strategic document, the problem of insufficient connection of the educational system with the labour market is recognized, which affects that education as a tool is insufficiently used in the fight against high unemployment, low activity rate, mismatch of labour supply and demand, and low labour mobility rate.

In BiH, the authorities responsible for creating educational policy insufficiently use information on labour supply and demand. As there is a cause-and-effect relationship between the general level of education and the productivity of the economy, this document highlights the need to align education with the needs of the economy's structure in order to reduce the phenomenon of over-education (continuation of schooling for certain profiles that are already registered in the labour market but cannot find employment, and education for those profiles continues).

PRONI Center for Youth Development

General mobilization : The aim of this project is to strengthen and enhance the capacities of youth organizations in civil society to participate in reforms for education and youth employability in BiH. Through the project, a Network of Youth Experts and representatives of lawyer chambers for employment and education has been established, with the goal of strengthening the capacities and competencies of youth organizations in civil society and increasing the influence of lawyer chambers on political development, policies, and strategies in the fields of education and employment. The project seeks to improve the legal and political relationship towards young people through collaboration with relevant employment institutions and relevant institutions at all levels, as well as to raise awareness of the significance of loss of young population in BiH.