Getting ready for first day of school
Refugee and migrant children diligently learn Bosnian language before going to school
BIHAĆ, JANUARY 2019: At the entrance to the Pedagogical Faculty in Bihać, children’s swift steps are echoing, and the girls and boys excitedly run towards the classrooms. Refugee and migrant children from the accommodation centers Sedra, Borići and Bira in Bihać have the opportunity to learn the Bosnian language, and so get prepared for going to regular school, which will happen soon.
For the majority of them, this is the activity they waited for a long time. Learning is a symbol of normal life, stability, and freedom. These girls and boys want a childhood that their peers from the host countries have. Getting out of the accommodation center and bus transportation, being in school benches, hanging out, working with teachers – are the moments they are rejoicing.
“We are pleased that about 200 children will get the opportunity to get into the regular school system in the Una-Sana Canton. We are grateful to the partners from the Pedagogical Faculty at the University of Bihać, as well as to the financial support of the European Union. The fact that the children of the domestic population are also getting the opportunity to learn something new, meet interesting peers from other countries and, by listening to their stories, enrich their understanding of the situation, learn about other countries and cultures and demonstrate firsthand how quality education adapts to each student, is also making us very happy,” says Sanja Kabil, Head of the UNICEF Education Department in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Some of the children already speak Bosnian well, and others will quickly learn it too. For the majority of refugee and migrant children, the adoption of a foreign language is not a problem because they already speak a few. Apart from the native languages of the countries from which they come, such as Farsi, Dari, Pashto or Urdu, the majority of children also know Turkish, Greek or Serbian – the languages of the countries where they temporarily resided. Also, everyone speaks English very well.
The Bosnian language training conducted through the European Union’s Financial Support, is part of the UNICEF’s efforts to help, protect, and promote the rights of the children of migrants and refugees in Bosnia and Herzegovina.