Five years of civil war in Bosnia Herzegovina has left ruined villages and a ruptured economy. But in the city of Bihac, information and communication technology is paving a road to reconstruction.
(Music) Life in Bihac, Bosnia Herzegovina is slowly returning to normal. But not far from the town center, the evidence of five years of civil war remains visible in the ruined villages and the ruptured economy. But the Bihac Training Center, along with the International Labour Organization, the ILO, is using information and communication technology to pave a road to reconstruction. Bricks and mortar share classroom space with bytes and mouse pads at the center. Hamida and Samiry Ciric learn basic computer skills to bring them up to speed and into contact with the information economy.
Our father owns a lumberyard and we want to stay here and help the company grow.
We used to do all of our administrative work by hand. But this course in computers can give us an advantage especially in the future when we hope to get more business from outside companies.
The Bihac Center is connected to a web-based ILO network of modular-training programs worldwide. Using interactive CD-ROMs, students learn at their own pace. Diverse and informal ways of learning are on the rise, especially in information sciences according to a recent ILO report on the digital economy. For example, only 41 percent of US computer specialists have a formal degree in the subject.
Where are ways in which the technologies themselves can amplify and multiply and perhaps even accelerate the skill acquisition process. And this is through say distance learning.
Entrepreneurs are also using ICT to gain entrance to markets beyond their country’s borders. Tomislav Turkalj’s printing business was destroyed during the war. But he taught himself website design.
I install many different programmes for web-design in my computer. I had no idea how to use them and no time to learn but I needed to use certain softwares in my design so I studied day and night on my own for three months until my joints hurt and taught myself how the programmes worked.
In Bosnia Herzegovina, information and communication technology is helping to pave a road to economic reconstruction, breaking down walls to learning, and creating a floor for decent work in the information economy.