High school students and activists rallied at the seat of Central Bosnia Canton to protest segregation in schools, but their demand for a nation-wide end to so-called two schools under one roof was described as a hard-to-achieve ambition by the canton’s education minister.
The Bosniak and Croat high school students in the town of Jajce succeeded in their fight against the canton’s government, forcing it to reverse its decision to divide them into two separate, ethnically based schools. Emboldened by the victory, they called on students in the rest of the country to join them in Travnik on Tuesday to request the unification of other schools in the Federation entity where Bosniaks and Croats attend separate classes in the same building.
However, the canton’s education minister Katica Čerkez told the protesters that the segregated schools were a problem rooted in the very constitutional fabric of Bosnia. Čerkez, known for her affirmative positions on segregated schools, said the protesters should take the win in Jajce and “go to a disco”, according to local media.
After the Bosnian war of the nineties and the de facto division of the country along the ethnic lines, Bosnia’s three main groups – Serbs, Croats and Bosniaks – have each their own national curriculum and each is taught in the Serb, Croat or Bosnian language, although linguists say they are essentially one language. “Two schools under one roof” were formed in mixed Bosniak-Croat communities in the Federation entity, where Croat and Bosniak children attend classes according to their national curricula. They use the same building but are physically separated.
All attempts to unify education have failed so far.