Director of the Agency for Higher Education of the Republic of Srpska, prof. Biljana Vojvodić, PhD, reported on the situation in the field of accreditation at the Sixth meeting of the Subcommittee of the Association and Stabilisation Agreement between the EU and Bosnia and Herzegovina on innovation, information society and social policy held on October 20, 2022.
Vojvodić submitted a report on the current state of accreditation of higher education institutions and study programs, as well as on the implementation of the recommendations of the TAIEX expert assessment mission in the field of accreditation in higher education held in February 2020.

She emphasized that the Agency implemented all the recommendations from the experts' report that could be implemented independently, such as the publication of all reviewer's reports, and transparency regarding all participants in the accreditation procedures, including all engaged reviewers. Also, the Agency changed the regulations in the part related to the selection of reviewers, and enabled all students from Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as foreign students, to apply to the list of reviewers. The list is open and reviewers can apply continuously.
To provide insight into the possibility of applying to all interested parties, the Agency has on several occasions informed higher education institutions from BiH and the region, as well as student organizations, that the call for applications is permanently open and available on the Agency's website.
According to her, Republika Srpska further improved study program accreditation methodologies in such a way that three different models were developed, and in addition to the original review model, a cluster accreditation model was introduced, as well as individual study program accreditation. The accreditation model is chosen in agreement with the higher education institution, especially considering the specificities of different institutions, where the cluster model is adapted to large universities that run numerous study programs in all scientific fields.
She particularly pointed out that operative cooperation with the Agency for the Development of Higher Education and Quality Assurance has been established since 2021, which resulted in the smooth development of the process of accreditation of higher education institutions and study programs, as well as the improvement of procedures in this area.
In the Republic of Srpska, there are currently 13 institutions in different stages of the procedure, according to different models of accreditation of study programs. Ten institutions are in the process of accreditation of institutions and study programs, for two institutions the procedure of cluster accreditation of study programs in the field of engineering and technology is in progress, while for one institution the procedure of individual accreditation of one study program is in progress. So far, a total of 75 study programs have been accredited at various higher education institutions, while the accreditation process for 48 study programs is ongoing.
Vojvodić noted that the biggest obstacle the Agency faces in the accreditation procedures of institutions, and especially study programs, is the modest resources of experts on the List of Experts for Quality Assessment and Audit and giving recommendations on accreditation at the BiH level, especially in certain scientific fields and narrower disciplines. "We hope that this obstacle can be overcome by intensifying cooperation with agencies from the region, and by exchanging experts in the field of accreditation," Vojvodić said.
She also added that four institutions (small colleges with a small number of students and study programs) are in the first accreditation process, three of which are in the final stage of the process. "It is important to note that all institutions have initial accreditation as defined by the previously valid laws on higher education from 2007 and later, and therefore all diplomas issued in the higher education system of Republika Srpska are valid." The first licensing procedures, i.e. initial accreditation in the Republic of Srpska were completed in 2007, and the study programs were subsequently subject to relicensing in case of changes, which is a clear indication that a system of external evaluation of institutions and study programs was established at that time and was continuously maintained and then grew into the accreditation process carried out by the Agency today," emphasized Vojvodić.
Representatives of the European Commission assessed the progress in establishing a functional accreditation system of higher education institutions and study programs in Bosnia and Herzegovina as positive, especially praising the establishment of cooperation between the Agency for Higher Education of the Republic of Srpska and the Agency for the Development of Higher Education and Quality Assurance. They also gave their support in securing a sufficient number of experts with the possibility of organizing a new TAIEX mission.