The 5th Subcommittee meeting on topics related to Education, Culture, Youth, Research and Innovation, Information Society and Social Policy between the EU and Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) was held on 22nd March, by video conference. Representatives from the European Commission (Commission) discussed with relevant authorities the most recent developments in these areas. The meeting was co-chaired for the EU by Mr. Alberto Cammarata, Deputy Head of Unit for Albania and BiH at the Directorate General for Neighbourhood and for BiH, by Mr. Adnan Husić, Assistant Minister from the BiH Ministry of Civil Affairs.
The Commission took note of the efforts done by the authorities to overcome the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic in different areas and underlined the importance of implementing a coordinated approach.
The Commission expressed concern that participation in the next education large-scale assessments Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) and Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) rounds of testing is still not ensured and urged the authorities to inform about their final decision regarding participation in PISA 2022, by end of March and in PIRLS, by end of April. The Commission welcomed the adoption by the Council of Ministers of the policy document “Improving the quality and relevance of vocational education and training in BiH”. In addition, the Commission stressed the importance of ensuring a fully functional system of accreditation of Higher education institutions and study programmes and to follow-up on the recommendations provided by the EU experts in this regard.
BiH authorities were encouraged to take steps to adopt a digital strategy and to ensure that BiH takes advantage of EU digital related programmes. BiH authorities were urged again to adopt without further delays the new law on electronic identity and trust services for electronic transactions (e-Signature) with a single supervisory body for the whole country in line with the EU acquis and were encouraged to develop a strategy on cybersecurity.
The Commission noted positively the good results BiH has achieved in the EU’s research and innovation framework programme Horizon 2020 and invited the authorities to finalize the research infrastructure roadmap. The Commission expressed concern regarding the delay in the process of drafting the Smart Specialization Strategy and BiH’s participation in the European Innovation Scoreboard. The Commission underlined the importance of adopting and start implementation of the employment strategies at entities and country-wide level. The Commission encouraged BiH to set up an inter-ministerial task force involving relevant ministries, the agencies and stakeholders to develop a Youth Guarantee Implementation Plan.