Project “Reimagining Education” officially completed
The foundations are set for future transformation processes in the education sector
Sarajevo, April 7, 2022: Final ceremony at the UN House in Sarajevo today marked the end of a Joint United Nations project in Bosnia and Herzegovina entitled “Reimagining Education for Marginalized Girls and Boys during and post COVID-19 in BiH”. The project was jointly implemented by UNICEF, UNESCO, International Labor Organization (ILO) in BiH, and the UN Volunteers (UNV).
At the closing ceremony, UN Resident Coordinator in BiH Dr. Ingrid Macdonald pointed out that challenging times are also times of opportunity, adding that she is especially proud that the project has set the foundations for future transformation education processes.
"The United Nations in BiH support educational authorities, teachers, students and parents. Our ultimate goal is that no child is left without access to education, because that is the basis and future of every society," she said.
The project was created in response to the challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and learning losses that occurred. The gender-sensitive approach, undertaken by the Project focused on prevention of school dropouts, especially within the most vulnerable categories of students. The project covered the three administrative units – Republika Srpska, West Herzegovina Canton and Una-Sana Canton, and was implemented in cooperation with the Ministry of Civil Affairs of BiH, as well as the Ministry of Education and Culture of Republika Srpska, Ministry of Scientific and Technological Development, Higher Education and Information Society of Republika Srpska, Ministry of Education, Science, Culture, and Sports of the West Herzegovina Canton and the Ministry of Education, Science, Culture, and Sports of the Una Sana Canton.
The Minister of Civil Affairs of BiH, Ms. Ankica Gudeljević, said that after summarizing the project’s results, she can say that the main goal of the project has been achieved, that being:
“Responding to the challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and incurred learning losses through a gender-sensitive approach, and encouraging both parents and students not to give up on learning. The results of the project have created an opportunity to build educational systems that are more resilient, more adaptable to the needs of students, righteous and more inclusive.“
Project “Reimagining Education” was launched in March 2021 and after a year of implementation completed with impressive results that are more than numbers, but certainly emphasize the volume of beneficiaries reached.
At the Closing Ceremony, Dr. Rownak Khan, UNICEF Representative in BiH underlined the results of the project achieved in a relatively short period of time, with a special reference to its gender aspect, and stressed the importance of its continuity after the formal completion:
“The project has officially come to an end, but at the same time the legacy created through this project remains. One of the crucial outcomes of this project is knowledge which is continuous and remains with the targeted stakeholders.”
A total of 2,050 teachers and educators participated in capacity development activities for quality distance and blended learning, through trainings and webinars on media and information literacy, digital skills improvement, digital tools developed by Microsoft for distance learning and blended learning, inclusive education and teacher’s well-being for teachers. The project also focused on mitigating the negative impacts of COVID-19 by allocating a total of 7,090 hygiene packages to 158,411 primary and secondary school students.
Speaking at the Closing Ceremony, Mr. Siniša Šešum, the Head of the UNESCO Office in BiH, emphasized the importance of coordination:
"Through this project, coordination has been strengthened and that was really needed in BiH." What is also significant is the joint work of UNICEF, ILO, and UNESCO and this is the first project in BiH where the three agencies with the mandate in education within the UN system have acted together to help recover the education system and facilitate mitigating the very consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. "The greatest value of our Joint project is a systematic and comprehensive approach, and we have not left out any level of education authority," Šešum said.
The head of the ILO office in BiH, Ms. Lejla Tanović, said that she was satisfied that this organization had contributed to the success of this complex project.
"The project had many segments, but each segment was successfully completed thanks to those who participated in the implementation, including managers, employees, educational institutions, ministries, pedagogical institutes, managers and teaching staff of schools with whom we cooperated. We have also demonstrated that a lot can be achieved in a short period of time. With cooperation and good coordination, we have managed to achieve the expected outcomes. "
The project also resulted in seven research papers and assessments aimed at strengthening the policy-making process in the education sector, on quality of education and needs of teachers in primary, secondary and higher education, including TVET education; mental health and teacher’s well-being.
Technical standards for ICT tools in BiH education systems have also been introduced, an important document that responded to disagreements over access to ICT equipment in schools and also provide a minimum standards for the ICT equipment. This activity is expected to help education authorities to standardize and harmonize resources in educational institutions across the country. The delivery of ICT equipment and assistive technologies for marginalized groups of children in schools in the above three administrative units is under way, and selected schools will receive that equipment in the coming months.
The project is funded by the global UN Fund for Response to COVID-19 , which was formed in the response to the COVID-19 pandemic by the United Nations Multi-partner Trust Fund (MPTF).