Distance Learning in Bosnia
by Logan Smith
Distance learning courses have been a great addition to the United States Education system; they allow students to obtain the exact education of their choice no matter where they live or what transportation restrictions they may have. While distance education has been around for many years in the United States, not every country has enjoyed the convenience and ease of web based learning.
Bosnia’s Republic of Srpska is next to enjoy the great benefits of online learning. Their Ministry of Education and Culture has teamed up with a technology company in Banja Luka and together they are creating the technology for distance learning to hopefully improve teaching in schools.
While Bosnia is still considered a poor country, their government has been making major improvements to better their country. According to World Bank, World Development Indicators, Bosnia’s GNP per capita was only about $900 in 1994, and has since grown to $8,970 as of last year. Additionally, Bosnia’s national literacy rate and primary school attendance from 2005-2008 was 98%.
Anton Kasipovic, Bosnia’s Minister of Education and Culture is excited for the new technology, especially to help with education in rural areas of the country. He was quoted saying that “With this technology, we can ensure good results and provide good quality education, especially in areas and in schools where there are unverified teachers or teachers who work hard but do not have enough skills.”
While pilot schools will be introduced beginning this year, the majority of the program will roll out in 2012/2013. Minister Kasipovic was pleased to announce that “With great commitment and enthusiasm, we trained about 11,000 people from the field of education in IT, which makes us unique in the region. Around 500 teachers have also undergone advanced training.”
The distance learning program may have been an initial expense for the Ministry of Education and Culture, however the technology provider is requiring no additional investment and “acquired the ability of exchanging information, learning at a distance, raising the quality of teaching and it was all done at no additional expenditure for the Republic of Srpska Budget,” said Minister Kasipovic.
Nebojsa Ninic, Director of the Bosnian based technology company added that “teachers have been trained to prepare electronic lessons that can be shared through the eLearning portal, which is a great wealth of information that will mostly benefit students. Distance learning also contributes to a better quality of teaching.”
If the distance learning courses roll out as planned, this technology and possibly newer technologies, like learning managements systems (LMSs), will make higher education available to all Bosnians and will promote the ongoing advancement of the Bosnian economy.