Teachers in Bosnia’s Tuzla Canton to Use BIRN Database of Facts about War

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Minister says best way for school pupils to learn the truth about the 1992-5 war is by using BIRN’s ‘high-quality interactive platform’.

Photo: Minister of Education in Tuzla Canton Ahmed Omerovic (L) and Denis Dzidic BIRN BiH (R) / BIRN

BIRN Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Ministry of Education of Tuzla Canton signed a memorandum of cooperation, which includes the use of the Database of Judicially Established Facts about the War in BiH in the teaching process, as teaching material in history classes.

The MoC was signed in Tuzla on Monday by Denis Dzidic, director of the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network of Bosnia and Herzegovina, BIRN BiH, and cantonal education minister Ahmed Omerovic, who expressed satisfaction that Tuzla Canton was the first canton in Bosnia’s Federation entity to formalize cooperation.

“Following [the signing of] this memorandum, we shall recommend schools to use all data from this high-quality database during the teaching process. Our goal is the truth. Our goal is for schoolchildren to learn the truth and the best way is by using facts judicially established by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, which BIRN BiH has done in a high-quality manner through an interactive platform,” Omerovic said.

In late March, BIRN Bosnia and Herzegovina presented the Database of Judicially Established Facts about the War in BiH to teachers, experts and the media in Sarajevo.

The database contains information from all verdicts handed down before the Hague war crimes tribunal concerning crimes committed, video testimonials of survivors and victims tailored to students, as well as class preparation materials containing activities to assist teachers in holding classes about topics from the recent past.

“For two years, we have been working on collecting all judicially established facts and verdicts by the Hague tribunal and we hope that this will be a unique tool which will help educational workers, who are now trying to teach children about what happened during the past war on the basis of facts, not on the basis of certain interpretations, and that this will enable them to do that in a simple manner,” Dzidic said.

He added that, by signing the Memorandum and using the Database in the teaching process, he hoped to encourage an educational system that does not incite hatred.

In late April, the Pedagogical Institute of Tuzla Canton, on the request of the Education Ministry, issued a positive expert opinion about the use of the Database, recommending teachers of the ninth grade of elementary schools, as well as the second and fourth grades of secondary schools, to use it as a tool for processing and preparing topics for history lessons in all schools in Tuzla Canton.

One of the goals of the Database is to create fact-based sources of information that contribute to the fight against disinformation and improvement of media literacy.

Dzidic said BIRN BiH’s next goal was to complement the Database with facts judicially established by the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina. A similar memorandum would soon be signed with the Education Ministry of Sarajevo Canton.