Promoting adult education

Project description

Title: Promoting adult education in Bosnia and Herzegovina
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Bosnia and Herzegovina
Lead executing agency: Ministry of Civil Affairs
Overall term: 2010 to 2016

Bosnia and Herzegovina. Participant at a conference on the theme of adult education in Sarajevo. © GIZ


Unemployment is a major problem in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is both a cause and effect of the ongoing economic crisis in the country. At the same time, a lack of qualified applicants often means that vacancies cannot be filled. One reason is that the country's education system has not adjusted to the changes in the labour market. Moreover, the labour market is based almost solely on formal qualifications. Informally acquired proficiencies and skills are not adequately recognised.


Adults have improved their employment prospects in Bosnia and Herzegovina.


The project supports reforms that improve job-seeker employability by emphasising lifelong learning and introducing modern adult education legislation and qualification frameworks.

The first phase of the project focused on improving the quality of adult education programmes while the second phase now concentrates on firmly embedding changes. An innovative teachers' manual was developed and provided to teacher trainers who were trained during the first phase. The project now provides support to ensure that their knowledge can be passed on to schools throughout the country. The project also promotes the development of a model curriculum for adult basic education and the introduction of a Competence Pass. It will give official recognition to skills, proficiencies and competencies that are not acknowledged by certificates, references or diplomas because the individual acquired them on the job, or through volunteer work, a hobby or day-to-day tasks and family obligations.

The project also supports the rapid introduction of new training programmes. The online database was set up back in 2013 to provide information on training opportunities.

The measures will be enhanced by a media PR campaign that promotes adult education. "Everyday heroes" shows people that learning is a normal activity throughout life – i.e. for adults as well as children.


The first group, comprising 100 teachers, has completed a multi-part training course to enable them to work with adults. Twenty teachers are also being trained as teacher trainers. A teachers' manual was created that is used in Bosnia and Herzegovina and in the region. Twenty-two advisors at the Pedagogical Institute were trained to work with adults. The federation and several cantons are using input from the project to draft new legislation for adult education and create a qualifications framework. Demand for adult basic education has increased, a fact which is reflected in the number of enrolments.

Based on the needs of the labour market, 17 new training programmes have been developed and piloted. The majority of participants have either found new jobs or safeguarded their current position by completing training.

The project implemented an online database with listings of available informal training programmes in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The Competence Pass has been adapted to the needs of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The first group of advisors has been trained and certified. The advisors help job-seekers create their individual Competence Pass.