Teacher Education Reform

In a democracy, teacher education must produce ‘teachers who can prepare the students in their classrooms to become effective citizens in a democratic society’ (Pryor & Pryor, 2005, p. 29). Teacher education in post-conflict countries faces additional challenges as well: ‘the system has to respond to the training backlog, an influx of untrained teachers, and the limited capacity of the central authorities to coordinate the wide range of private and donor-sponsored training initiatives’ (World Bank, 2005, p. 51). Teachers in post-conflict countries are asked to prepare students to become active citizens, yet they themselves often lack knowledge of how democracy works (Sobe, 2009) and training in democratic teaching approaches, such as a pupil-centered approach versus a teacher-centered approach (de la Sabionniere, Taylor, & Sadykova, 2009).

The reform and improvement of preservice teacher education at the university level in BiH has occurred concurrently with the initial recovery and development of higher education and has continued reforms along with the Bologna Process. The quality of teachers and teacher education was initially very poor in the immediate post-war years, with some teachers having only a high school degree and little or no teacher education research being conducted (Spaulding, 1998). After an initial assessment of education following the war, an international agency was sought to coordinate the many teacher education efforts (Dizdar, 1996), but no major coordination efforts occurred until 2001 (Perry & Keil, 2012). Quality has improved markedly, but the lack of uniform standards has created very uneven standards across the country, and teaching methods have remained mostly traditional and behind EU standards. Although great efforts have been made in teacher education in BiH to adapt to an ever-changing post-conflict landscape, it has largely remained ‘rather poor, old-fashioned and completely outdated’ and ‘has not changed over the last 12 years’ (Duilovic, 2004, p. 26). Moreover, teacher education in BiH has lagged behind the rest of Europe in terms of quality: ‘Teaching methods, pedagogy, classroom control, didactic, education foundation and teaching practice amount to only about 10 % of the pre-service teacher training, compared to about 50 % in EU countries’ (Duilovic, 2004, p. 26). When progressive teacher education does occur, it is often supported by international NGOs, such as the Open Society Fund (Duilovic, 2004).

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