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Center for Educational Initiatives Step by Step
(Centar za obrazovne inicijative)

Photograph of six children in classroomThe Center for Educational Initiatives (CEI) is a unique association of parents, teachers and other participants in the education process from all over Bosnia and Herzegovina, gathered with a view to organize, realize and support educational activities and initiatives based on principles of democratic civil society. Professional staff of CEI develop and deliver training programs for participants in the education system including, among others, education experts, teachers, school directors and parents. CEI has established a network of six model training centers across Bosnia & Herzegovina, which provides for rapid information exchange and coordination of activities.

Staff from CEI have been developing and implementing the Step by Step Program, the only early childhood program to operate continuously in Bosnia in the post-war period, since 1996. The program has helped to rebuild the early childhood education system that was badly damaged during the war, providing comprehensive training and, initially, rebuilding physical infrastructure in cooperation with other donors. Step by Step is remarkable for its ability to cooperate with local governments in all 11 cantons of Bosnia. Experts from universities and ministries throughout the country have agreed on basic standards for early childhood education, an important step towards creating a unified policy on the federal level.

In addition to further development of the Step by Step preschool and primary school networks in Bosnia, CEI's new initiatives in 2002-2004 include a full-scale reform project designed and implemented in collaboration with UNICEF Bosnia. This project will provide training for primary teachers in every school across Bosnia & Herzegovina during the 3 year program period and will set up a sustainable system of providing child-friendly training and school improvement consulting on the basis of model centers located in each canton. Ongoing projects include:

  • Extension of Step by Step to two Roma communities, in cooperation with Open Society Fund B&H, local governments and the Norwegian Embassy
  • Implementation of the Reading and Writing for Critical Thinking Project, a teacher training project, which will be implemented initially in upper grades in cooperation with the International Reading Association


  • SOS Kinderdorf
  • Catholic Relief Services (CRS)
  • Open Society Fund Bosnia-Herzegovina
  • Schools, Preschools, Universities
  • Federal and Canton Ministries

Key Statistics:

  • 346 Step by Step program classrooms

  • 8,600 children and families

  • 6 teachers training institutions reforming curricula

  • 1,700 retrained teacher