Head of the OSCE Mission to BiH Bruce Berton told SRNA that there is no general agreement on the precise number of “two schools under one roof” phenomenon, as they can be categorized in different ways, depending on whether the number of schools affected by this phenomenon or the number of current locations that provide facilities for these schools are taken into account.
“According to our research, there are 56 schools , 46 primary and 10 secondary, including central and branch schools affected by the phenomenon of” two schools under one roof”. These schools are located in 28 locations, which make 23 primary and 5 secondary schools. This type of categorization is often misused by various institutions to show a decrease in the number of these schools, so one can claim that the actual number of this type of schools is 36”, explained Berton.
He has stressed that this figure refers exclusively to central schools, which are registered as legal entity, excluding branch schools.
Berton has said that, according to the OSCE, none of the authorities has taken any activity since 2005 when several schools in the Zenica-Doboj region were administratively and legally united.
He has noted that by then some schools were administratively and legally united within a single legal entity, under one name and budget, followed by the appointment of a school board, principal and deputy principal, teacher, parental and student councils, and one administrative department.
“In spite of such administrative unification, these schools continue to teach on the basis of two curricula in Bosnian and Croatian languages, thus, in reality, they divide students into mono-national classrooms. However, we see the practice of administrative and legal unification as one positive step forward in order to completely eliminate the “two schools under one roof” phenomenon from the BiH education system, Berton has noted.
He has estimated that a model called “two schools under one roof”, introduced as a temporary measure at the end of the 1990s, clearly represents an example of segregation.
“The Mission continuously calls on all competent authorities to solve this problem and find long-term solution that will bring students closer to each other instead of dividing them on the basis of their ethnic background,” Barton has stressed.
He has reminded that all ministers of education at the Conference of Ministers of Education in BiH, held in 2013, condemned all forms of discrimination, segregation, assimilation and politicization of education in BiH on any basis and emphasized that the right to education is the individual right of every child.
“We call on all relevant authorities to seriously consider their own conclusions and begin real reforms, including moving away from the” two schools under one roof” phenomenon,” says Berton.
Head of the OSCE Mission, Bruce Berton, believes that the introduction of common core curricula based on teaching results would be one of the ways to help, as it allows students of different nationalities to attend classes jointly.