Teacher education in Bosnia and Herzegovina: developments in the post-war, post-communist context.
In: ECER 2010 Education and Cultural Change, 25-27 August 2010, Helsinki, Finland.
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Much has been written about education provision in eastern European countries as they made the transition from communist to more democratic forms of government. Many writers have focused on the importance of education as a tool for modernising society, for example McLeish (2003, p.15) notes that ‘…the reform of existing educational practices be deemed a priority’. However, it is also clamed that many of these countries, despite the rhetoric of reform and the introduction of reforming legislation, have continued to maintain aspects of the ‘old system’ (Weiler et.al 1996, Cerch 1997, Alexander 1999). Educational reform is also important in post-war contexts, Popkewitz (1991 .13) considers ‘school reform’ to be one mechanism by which states attempt to achieve ‘cultural transformation, and national solidarity’, and this is particularly important in newly-formed states.
Several researchers (Dill and Maguire 1998, Fullan 2001, Lita 2004) acknowledge the important role played by thers in implementing change, but it is also acknowledge that this is often difficult to achieve (Fullan 2001, Finnand and Lewin 2003). Leclerq (1996, p.83) notes that teachers’ ‘…capacity for change is not easy. Rapid and spectacular changes in their attitutued and practices are generally rare’. Pritchard (2002, p.57) also believes that, in post-communist countries, educational reforms ‘can be threatened or diluted by teachers reverting to earlier, more authoritarian modes of classroom management and lesson delivery’. It has also been noted that it is difficult to reform teacher education (Popkewitz 1987, Leclerq 1996, Cerych 1997), although ‘substantial innovations’ were successfully introduced in Hungary (Nagy 1998).
My own previous work (Owen-Jackson 2006) found that in Bosnia there was little change in teachers’ classroom practice following the political transition and civil war; many reverted to pre-war practice. Since then the Bosnian government has acknowledged that teaching remains ‘outdated’ and that university education for teachers is often ‘inadequate’ (Ministry of Civil Affairs of Bosnia and Herzegovina 2004).
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