In this challenging time of the global environmental crisis, the upbringing of new generations and education in the field of environmental protection is set as one of the most important “TO DOs”. The key for transition to environmentally acceptable social behavior lays primarily in school desks. Educational institutions play an extremely important role in the implementation of this task. Yet, the question arises: has the educational system recognized this need?

The results of available research show that content related to ecology and environmental protection are not satisfactorily represented in teaching curriculums and school activities in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia but, only in rare cases, in exclusively extracurricular activities. Global pollution, waste management and environmental protection depend entirely on the free will of teachers to speak individually on these topics.[1] [2]

Bearing in mind that system transition requires social mindset transition as well, in order to eradicate the current pattern of social behavior, it is necessary to knock on the door of the educational system and offer new models that will raise “more environmentally friendly” generations.

For this purpose, CENER 21’s project Zero Waste Municipalities envisaged an entire set of activities specially designed to hear the needs of the youngest population for adequate education on these topics. In response, within the project, the Manual for teachers titled “Integration of waste management topics in existing school curriculum” has been developed. During last two years, the team of professors, teachers and experts in the field of circular economy and zero waste concept from Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina have been working on the preparation of the Manual.  The manual is created for high school teachers with the purpose of providing them support to include topics of environmental protection and proper waste management in their teaching lessons. The manual is primarily developed with the aim of being applicable and useful to teachers in the daily teaching process. Following the instructions from the Manual, several classes have already been implemented, and it seems that it has also attracted the attention of other high schools in the region. Until today, one by one, 6 high schools in Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina have implemented different subjects’ lessons according to inspiring examples provided within the Manual:

  • Gymnasium “Prva Gimnazija Sarajevo” – two lessons within the subject B.C.S. language including spelling exercise and debate on waste management,
  • High-school center “Nedžad Ibrišimović” Ilijaš – within the subject Biology, the lesson “Importance and benefits of composting”,
  • Gymnasium “Josif Pančić” Bajina Bašta – within the subject Chemistry, the lesson “Recycling process”,
  • High-school center “Hazim Šabanović” Visoko – within the subject B.C.S. language, spelling exercise and discussion on the topic of “Zero Waste concept”,
  • High-school “Krupanj” Krupanj – within the subject Business economy, lesson on circular economy model on examples of the lifecycle of different products,
  • High-school “Posavotamnavska srednja škola” Vladimirci – within the subject Biology, lesson “Decomposing of organic and inorganic waste material”.

The practical application of the Manual strives to motivate students’ to think about different possibilities of using things that have already been discarded and therefore extending their lifespan, and as a result reducing the amount of waste that is disposed of in landfills.

By the end of the project, as part of the set of activities for schools, it is also planned to procure a set of equipment consisting of shredders and injectors in order to enable students to practically apply the knowledge acquired through educational activities.

If we take a better look to all dimensions of environmental sciences and ecology in education, it is obvious that the purpose of these topics in school lessons is not to teach about it, but to create a system which reflects patterns and principles of ecology in already existing school lessons.

During last two years, together with partners from Serbia, CENER 21 has been implementing the project Zero Waste Municipalities which aims to achieve long-term resource efficiency in the waste management sector.

Considering the current waste management system in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia is inefficient, the project mapped 6 pilot municipalities where project activities are being implemented. With a sight focused to the aim, the team has been working on integration of circular economy and zero waste concept in all segments of society collaborating directly with local authorities, waste management utilities and high schools in the project area. Guided with a motto “leave no one behind”, the project provides support throughout educational activities and materials developed for over 90 municipalities in the cross-border region between Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

To find out more visit the project’s official website and to follow project activities on regular basis join projects’ virtual communities “Brojimo do nula(eng. Counting down to zero) on social platforms Facebook and LinkedIn.


[1] Goletić, Š. Stanje obrazovanja o okolišu i održivom razvoju u Bosni i Hercegovini. Mašinski fakultet, Univerzitet u Zenici. 5. Naučno-stručni skup sa sa međunarodnim učešćem ”KVALITET 2007”, Neum, 2007.
[2] Milešević, T. Ekološko obrazovanje i stvaranje ekološke svijesti. Visoka škola Primus. Vol. 1 No. 5 (2013): PRIMUS 5, Gradiška, 2016.