The Department for Secondary Vocational Education, Adult Education and Lifelong Learning of the Agency for Pre- Primary, Primary and Secondary Education, which implements the EPALE project, organized the Final EPALE Conference in Bosnia and Herzegovina for the past two-year period. The Agency for Pre- Primary, Primary and Secondary Education has implemented EPALE project since 2015 with the aim of improving the adult education system in Bosnia and Herzegovina and approaching European educational standards.
Throughout the conference held on 13 and 14 November 2018, eminent adult education experts informed participants about some up-to-date topics in the field of adult education, shared their knowledge and experiences and discussed on current status of adult education in the country and the region.
Over sixty relevant representatives of institutions from the adult education field in Bosnia and Herzegovna participated in the conference, as well as guests coming from region countries - NSS EPALE team members from Serbia, Croatia and Montenegro.
The aim of this conference was to present the working results of NSS EPALE Bosnia and Herzegovina, to get acquainted with novelties in the adult education field in countries of the region and to discuss on one of the focus topics on the Electronic Platform for Adult Education in Europe (EPALE), which is Prison education.
On the first day of the conference Ms Maja Stojkić, Agency director welcomed the participants and opened the conference emphasizing the importance of lifelong learning and development of adult learning policy geared to the labour market needs and employment growth.
Agency Deputy Director, Head of the Agency Regional Office in Banja Luka and EPALE Coordinator in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Mr Siniša Gatarić lectured on the project and its implementation in Bosnia and Herzegovina so far. Also, he emphasized the importance of EPALE platform which represents the unique space for knowledge and experience exchange, taking part in various projects in the field of adult education and many other things useful for everyone who is professionally involved in adult education in Europe.
Ms Žaneta Džumhur, coordinator of e-Twinning project in BiH, presented the activities of the e-Twinning project in BiH.
On the first day of the Final Conference EPALE BiH, guests from the region presented activities of their NSS EPALE teams and shared experiences and examples of good practice from their countries. Ms Marica Vukomanović from the Tempus Foundation of Serbia, Ms Gordana Bošković from the Center for Vocational Education of Montenegro and Mr Mario Vučić from the Agency for Vocational Education and Training and Adult Education of the Republic of Croatia presented the novelties in adult education and EPALE project activities in Serbia, Montenegro and Croatia in the latest period.
In the second part of the first day of the conference Ms Gordana Latinović, Deputy Director of the Employment Service of Republic of Srpska spoke about adult education and labour market in Republic of Srpska, which was the last presentation of the first day followed by conclusions and discussion.
On the second day of the conference the focus topic was "Prison Education ". Ms Branislava Knežić, a professor at the Faculty of Philosophy of the University of Belgrade, addressed the topic: ‘Prison education: social and/or scientific oblivion’, while Mr Milan Potkonjak, a professor of pedagogy and an educator in Banja Luka prison addressed the topic: ‘Education of prisoners in the system for execution of criminal sanctions in Republic of Srpska ‘.
In the second part of day two of the conference a workshop was led by Ms Svjetlana Tubić, EPALE Ambassador in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Firstly, she had a speech on the experiences of the EPALE community in the field of prisons education – the possibilities of its implementation in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which was followed by the working part of the conference. All conference participants were divided into three working groups that discussed on these topics:
- Education and training of prison staff
- Adult education programmes/agenda
- Prisoner education? for a comeback to the community (post-penal approach)
After the conclusions of the second day of the conference, Mr Siniša Gatarić, NSS EPALE team coordinator in Bosnia and Herzegovina closed the conference. During the two days of the conference, the participants had the opportunity to gain new knowledge, to hear many positive experiences from the neighbouring countries and to discuss the issue of prison education in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which should be certainly paid more attention to in the future.