According to the Constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina (Annex IV of the Dayton Peace Agreement), Croats are one of the three constituent peoples in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH). The Croatian language is one of the three official languages.
According to the Federal Office for Statistic, Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and census taken in 1961, Croats made up 21.7% of the total population of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
In 1991, 760 852 inhabitans od Bosnia and Herzegovina declared itself Croats , which present 17,4 % of the total population.
A new census is being schedule for 2013.
Croatians live in the western part of Herzegovina, in the southwestern part of Bosnia, in the parts of eastern Herzegovina, in the central Bosnia and in the Bosanska Posavina region.
In the regions of Bosnia and Herzegovina where Croats make up the majority of local population, classes in elementary and high schools are organized based on the curriculum in the Croatian language. The program is based on the constitutional provisions and in accordance with the laws of Bosnia and Herzegovina which also guarantee the equality of all three constituent peoples, as well as the rights of national minorities. The educational program is laid out in the federal Constitution, and by the legislation of each individual county.
The entire curriculum in the Croatian language, in all its forms, has the objective to promote the Croat language, tradition, culture and the religious heritage of the Croatian people in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and therefore, it cannot be just reduced to a single target program. Regarding the subjects related to the natural science classes, such as mathematics or physics, these subjects also have a national and cultural focus. Among the Croatian people there are scientific, historical and cultural facts and figures and renowned individuals who belong to the scientific and cultural heritage of the entire Croatian people and, therefore, they are studied within each individual school subject (R. Bošković, F. Vrančić, A. Mohorovičić, M. Getaldić, S. Penkala, V. Prelog). These scientists, scholars and inventors are part of the wider Croat national heritage, each having his place in the curriculum and school textbooks in the Croatian language. The above mentioned items and names are part of the wider national heritage of great importance to the Croatian people and its culture.
In the city of Mostar, there is the University of Mostar, the only Croatian university outside the Republic of Croatia and the only university out of nine other universities in Bosnia and Herzegovina, where classes are held in the Croatian language. The University of Mostar has a long history. Its predecessor was the School of Franciscan Theology, a first high school in Mostar and Herzegovina going back to 1895, when the School was first founded. By the mid-twentieth century the High Training School was established, followed by the opening of the College of Technology of Mechanical Engineering. These were the first foundations of the future Mostar University. In 1977, Mostar became an independent academic center comprising several universities and colleges and separating itself from the University of Sarajevo, adopting instead its own title, i.e. “The University Đemal Bijedić". Despite significant destructions of the university facilities and the overall threat students and teachers had to endure during the entire war period (1992 -1995), the Mostar University did not interrupt its activities. By the mid-nineties of the 20th century, new faculty facilities and research centers were established.
The University continues to grow, and as of now it has ten faculties, including the Academy of Fine Arts, with a total number of more than 16,000 students, including numerous professors and associates. A substantial help to the University of Mostar is provided by the universities from the Republic of Croatia and also by the government of the Republic of Croatia. Croatia’s universities provide assistance by granting local teachers the right to work at the University of Mostar, whereas the government of the Republic of Croatia also contributes to the overall costs of this arrangement. In addition, the government of the Republic of Croatia also provides substantial financial help for the development of the University of Mostar. This enables the University of Mostar to achieve the European standards and successfully integrate itself into the so-called Bologna process.
Other Educational Institutions
There is a large number of music schools (primary and secondary In Bosnia and Herzegovina and public schools for special education (for individual with learning disabilities). Classes are also taught according the Croatian language curriculum. Within the University of Mostar there are following scientific institutes: the Institute of Economics, the Institute of Civil Engineering, the Institute of the Croatian Language, Literature and History, the Institute for Studies of the Latin Language, the Institute of Mechanical Engineering, the Institute for Legal Studies, the Institute for Social Research, the Institute for Research and Urban Development in the karst areas.
The Croatian Lexicographical Institute in Bosnia and Herzegovina published the “Encyclopedia of Bosnia and Herzegovina”, reflecting thus the Croatian view of Bosnia and Herzegovina and also representing the first general and national (Croatian) encyclopedia ever published in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Institute of Education in Mostar is also in charge of pre-school, primary and secondary education of the Croatian people in Bosnia and Herzegovina. In this regard the Institute offers a substantial support for educational ministries within each county. The Institute conducts its activities that are aimed at the development and promotion of educational goals, while bearing in mind the unique status of Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Associations and Publishers
There are numerous Croatian organizations in Bosnia and Herzegovina active in the fields of the preservation and strengthening of the Croatian national consciousness and in the promotion of the Croatian language and culture. Their objectives are to preserve and develop Croatian cultural values, assist students in the educational process and their scientific and artistic development, improvement of their economic conditions and encouragement for the return of displaced Croats. Also, their activities consist in collecting and distributing humanitarian aid to socially vulnerable and dispossessed Croats.
Regarding publishing activities in the Croatian language one can single out: ” Hrvatski glasnik», a journal of the Croatian cultural association «Napredak» , published by the parish of Soli, in the town of Tuzla, "«Katolički tjednik” , published by the Archdiocese of “ Vrhbosna” - Sarajevo, «Osvit», a magazine for literature, culture and social issues, published by the “Croatian Writers’ Association of Herceg- Bosna” in Mostar, the bulletin "Rama," published the Rama association, and «Hrvatska misao”, a magazine of art and science, published by the branch office of “ Matica Hrvatska” in Sarajevo.