By Maja Tuljkovic – Sarajevo
Although, there is no official data for B&H in regard to children that leave the schools, it is estimated that this number is growing every year. The main reasons for leaving the school are poverty, moving, and marriage. A research on the situation of young people in Federation of B&H, conducted by the Institute for Youth Development “Kult”, confirmed that one in three young persons (33%) in this entity leaves early the education system. A similar situation is in RS as well. The most shocking data is three times more youth in B&H between 15 and 24 years old leave education system than in the countries of EU. The number in EU countries is 13%.
For B&H can be said that there is almost a universal primary education, with equal opportunities for all. However, number of children who leave the school due to various reasons is increasing every year. Besides the above mentioned reasons, children drop out the schools due to the bad behavior, transportation and also because of poverty. According to the available data, a large percentage of children finish the fifth grade, while around 30% of children do not enroll in secondary school. The most tragic is that about 43% of children from the poor groups of population do not enroll in secondary school and exactly this fact closes the cycle of poverty in B&H, because the low level of education maintains the poverty from one generation to another.
According to the research of the Institute of Youth Development “Kult”, 27.9% of children out of the total number of children who has dropped out the school from the schools that took part in survey, they have continued their education at other schools. 18.23% of cases refers to the change of residence, 16.02% of cases refers to marriage, 10.50% expulsion from the school, 9.94 % unstable family situation, 7.73% – bad financial situation, 4.42% delinquent behavior, and health problems and lack of organized transport in 3.87 or 1.66% of cases.
On the other hand, Directors and Teachers state that the most common reasons for non-attendance and leaving the primary and secondary school are the material situation of the family, lack of parents support, losing the will to go to school and problems with the law. 14% of them think that the distance of the school from the house is one the reasons for leaving educational system. Also, 2.2% of children from other ethnic minorities do not attend the school, which is also an alarming rate. They state other reasons as well, such as parents’ level of education, marriages or out of marriage communities, the parents demanding children to work and similar problems.
The institution of Ombudsman of B&H has no accurate data on the number of children who leave schools but they claim that the largest number of children who leave the school is from Roma population. They state that there are positive examples as well, such as the school in Zavidovići, where classes for Roma children are organized, in shortened curriculum and time, so that at least for them to acquire the basic education. All organizations and institutions in B&H which deal with this issue warn that the primary education is a basic human right but to be completely implemented is needed to be fully free – books, school materials and pupils transportation.