Teacher Education Reform and the Bologna Process

As described in the previous discussion, the Bologna Process has been pushing reforms to higher education curriculum for more than the last ten years. Like higher education in general, the Bologna Process has had both positive and negative effects on teacher education. ‘For Bologna we changed the curriculum in general at the university and very much changed our programs. At that time we actually changed the whole philosophy of our pre-service teacher training’ (Saric). The move to Bologna required all programs to be revised to the 4+1 or 3+3 models that required five years’ total education to become a classroom teacher. ‘Now to be a teacher, after three or four years for a bachelor’s degree, they now have to reach for the master’s degree program and one of the options within that program is actually to become a teacher’ (Saric). Bologna requirements have also had effects on teacher education programs that traditionally had little or no requirement for courses in pedagogy. ‘In the faculty of sciences, mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, geography, they also produce teachers, but students there had very low level of pedagogical education. Now they must have 60 credits out of 180 credits in education courses according to Bologna’ (Zoric). Although Bologna was officially adopted at the state level in 2003, it took until 2008 for changes to be implemented even in the most progressive programs:

The shift occurred in 2008 and numerically speaking we now introduce close to 50 percent of the courses to do with education, general psychology, general pedagogy and then more specifically to do with the training competencies, like we have the course that is entitled the ‘Foundation of Teachers Competencies’. Then when it comes to the English teacher training department, we did manage to get close to some of the average European models of teacher training programs, and we were chosen by the education department as the best model of a teacher training program in the Faculty of Philosophy. (Daric)

The Bologna reforms also created space in the curriculum for much- needed courses. ‘During the Bologna changes we add courses we needed to add like courses in multicultural rights and intercultural education, so it was good in that way’ (Zoric). Moreover, additions to the curriculum created space for more teaching about democracy. ‘Teaching them for five years according [to] the Bologna Process, I think the majority of them are becoming more democratic teachers, ’cause we had more time to teach democracy’ (Zoric). However, not all programs welcomed the Bologna reforms. ‘Some departments—German language, for example, and history—they don’t want to teach future teachers more pedagogy. They only have 6 percent pedagogy. They have opinion [that] if you are good in your profession, you will be a good teacher’ (Zoric).

In accordance with Bologna, universities were requiring five years of education to become a teacher. Meanwhile, local ministers of education were allowing graduates to teach after only a three-year bachelor’s degree. ‘Ministers of education signed the documents to allow students who completed just three years of studies at this faculty to become teachers. To be able to work in primary schools and some secondary schools’ (Daric). This decision was problematic because programs had been revised to produce competent teachers at the end of five years, not three. ‘With Bologna, in a three-year program, they have not proved themselves to teach. We did not plan for them to be ready’ (Saric). The reason for the ministers’ decision was complex and related to the general economic situation in BiH:

I think they have the opinion there is a big unemployment in the country and probably the whole system of education should help sort of accelerate education even in this professional field and that we should produce people who would be ready after three years to cover some sort of jobs in the schools so that they can develop themselves. (Saric)

As of 2015, several teacher education programs in BiH were still working to be in compliance with the Bologna Process, and the requirements for initial teacher licensure and employment still varied across the country. What follows in Chap. 8 is a summary of the major findings presented in this volume, additional thoughts about the future of education in BiH, and the recommended next steps for BiH.

 
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