Every last child has a right to education

Education is a basic right of every child, and yet there are still children in Bosnia and Herzegovina who are either left out of the education system or drop out of school at an early age and do not complete primary/compulsory education.

Marking of the 20. November the World Children’s Day in Bihać was dedicated to this issue. Within the project „Basic right to education for all children in BiH – Bright4All“ funded by the European Union in the amount of 350,000 Euro and implemented by Save the Children in partnership with Youth Center “Vermont” and the “Žene s Une” Association, in the Primary school “Harmani I” was organized a discussion with students, teachers, parents and citizens about the causes and ways of prevention of school drop-out.

“It is the duty of both parents and the entire society to enable right to education to be fulfilled. Completion of primary and secondary education is crucial to the future of every child. In situations where the child is partially or completely excluded from education, the cooperation of the school and other relevant services, parents and the local community is crucial,” says Harmani I Primary School Director Belmana Trivunić and adds „Through very effective reactions from our professionals, pedagogue and psychologist, director, working with the Social Welfare Centre, and of course, holding parents accountable because they are responsible for their children under 18, we are able to bring them back to school and accompany them from the ninth grade with successfully completed primary school“.

Leaving school is a problem that must be addressed seriously by the authorities, educational institutions, communities, parents and the non-governmental sector. Children who drop out of school are less likely to develop their potential and become useful members of society, and are at greater risk of poverty in adulthood.

“The Bright4All is a three-year project funded by the European Union, implemented by Žene sa Une in partnership with Save the Children and Vermont Brčko. In the first project year, we did a survey in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and based on the results of that research, we piloted a set of services for children at risk of dropping out of education,” says Fatima Šušnjar, project coordinator at Žene sa Une Association.

One of the goals of the Bright4All project is that civil society organisations should strengthen their capacities to be able to contribute, in the long run, to the process of reintegrating children in the educational system and preventing school drop-out.

“Using different social services available to us – including the family support program and others – we have shared what has been done under the project with all the staff involved with the children in the Drop-in Centre. The underlying idea is that, in their everyday work, they should pay special attention to the prevention of school drop-out and provide support with a view to reintegrating children in the educational system,” says Aida Behrem, executive director of Žene sa Une association.

As part of the project implementation in Una – Sana and Tuzla cantons in the FBiH, Prijedor and Bijeljina in the RS and Brčko District, a local action survey on the causes and scope of school drop-out has been conducted covering 1,132 children from these areas in BiH. In addition to direct beneficiaries, the project has major impact on the stakeholders involved and civil society organisations in local communities.