Friday, December 7, 2007


SARAJEVO, Bosnia ( December 7,2007) - In this still-divided society the "art of compromise," essential to democracy-building, does not come easily, noted the Head of the OSCE Mission to Bosnia, Douglas Davison in opening remarks to a regional conference on "Educational for All" in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo.

When people contemplate this state of affairs, he added, they sometimes notice that Bosnia's divisions are "both reflected and reinforced in its schools."

Instead of providing "an education for all," Davidson argued schools in Bosnia are still "largely divided along ethnic and religious lines." Parents tended to seek "to ensure their children are safely ensconced in schools where everyone, or almost everyone, is jut like them" and thus gain an "education for some."

Although preceding generations had mingled across ethnic lines, this had not been enough to prevent war. What does it portend, he asked, for a country whose citizens attend schools that "often instruct with books and materials that suggest to these citizens that they are not even living in that country"?

The realization was slowly spreading, though largely among the international community, he argued, that there is a need for "some kind of fundamental reform of education in Bosnia." In its absence the country's future as a "nation-state made up of many different kinds of people" living in relative harmony might be at risk.

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