“Thank you all for this wonderful opportunity. First my message to the students, which will be in English.
I will use this opportunity to send an education-related message to young people, not only those present here but all the youth of BiH. I think the context for this message is perfect. The most persuasive and important opinions on education in BiH are those that come from its youth.
Young people in elementary and high schools as well as those on universities have shared their thoughts with us. You do your best to become the best you can be, to be aware, informed, curious and efficient so as to build the best possible future for yourself, your community and your country. You need the best possible education you can get in order to compete for employment and your place under the sun. I know that many young people want to leave BiH. Note however that while you are free to leave and develop your skills to make sure your future spans well beyond the borders of your country in this globally complicated world, I also firmly believe there is a future for you here in Bosnia and Herzegovina. We have seen in Jajce the living proof that your ambitions and opinions can help tackle the issues faced by this country. And it all started with high school students who independently faced the pressure and made their voices heard for defense and conservation of human values in their schools; it came from an example of numerous schools who learn together, with others and from others.
In our efforts to consolidate our activities in this area, it is my pleasure today to reiterate one of tasks of OSCE’s mission to BiH - to do, and keep doing all in our power to improve the quality of your education. Quality education means to utilize the scarce public resources and get the highest return. The return is then spent on quality materials, equipment, teachers and premises, rather than inefficient structures and segregation.
Quality education should be the reflection of your communities, your diversity, your cultures. It should protect your right to follow your academic path without any segregation or discrimination. Our work will continue through many activities, including our existing partnerships with elementary and high schools across BiH. Our successful work on index of inclusivity continues, as well as local cooperation, so we can determine where the improvements are most needed, such as including first language/mother tongue or religion for students from returnee families.
The most important proposition of quality education rests on adoption of skills and values for a better future, which imposes necessity for abolishing discrimination and segregation in education. We will continue to use both our voice and our resources to draw the attention of media and support our partners’ engagement in the International Community, as well as point out positive examples and the importance of working at local level. Activities of OSCE’s Mission to BiH also acknowledge the fact that BiH will for the first time partake in OECD’s PISA testing, a very important process that’s standard measure of quality of education across the globe. Countries that have taken part in this testing have used it as a tool for measurement and comparison, as well as a spark for initiating large scale improvements in the education sector.
I hope that results of PISA testing next year will give domestic officials and education institutions with stronger arguments and incentives for taking necessary steps towards providing the youth of BiH with the quality of education they deserve. Ultimately, we want to tell you and all young people in BiH once again: we hear you and we want to keep it that way. We want to learn from you. Share with us your thoughts, reactions, questions and criticism. We will do all in our power to help you achieve the best results and build the best possible future. I thank you and congratulate you once more.”