School Kreka is located in the City of Tuzla. That city and five surrounding municipalities- with 80,570 inhabitants, 2013 –- Zivinice, Lukavac, Srebrenik, Celic and Kalesija, are home to approximately 15,000 Roma.

Kreka elementary school has 14 students classified as students with special learning needs, but they have supportive approach towards students with disabilities and emphasized great success of one student with hearing impairments: ‘In our school last year, one deaf-mute student was a student of the generation.’ 


Roma kids' enrolment rate in primary school is lower by one third than among the non-Roma population. A Multiple Indicator Survey of the Roma population for 2011 and 2012 in Bosnia and Herzegovina has shown that only one-half of Roma children (47 precent) attend the first grade of primary school and that over one-half of Roma children aged between two and 14 years were exposed to some form of psychological or physical punishment by their parents or other adult members of their households.  According to some of the teachers, students from Kreka have limited access to technology and other learning materials and experiences because their parents are mainly unemployed or on a very low wages. Various evidences show that students from low-socioeconomic status households and communities develop academic skills slower than others.

After the seminar was finished and the plan and program was developed, the teacher established a coding club. He says that students were doing homework regularly and gained practical experience, so all of them can master the skill of coding.

All interested students were invited to join and the teacher was ‘pleasantly surprised by the response’.  Among club members there were three girls, one student with mild difficulties in mental development and one Roma student. Everyone was doing something.  For instance, the student with mild mental difficulties did not do coding but she enjoyed observing what others do. In relation to that the club coordinator says: ‘She didn't want to deal with the coding, but it was interesting for her to watch what was happening in the club and, for example, to see her name shine on the Micro:bit. That was very interesting to her and I let her learn that way’.

One Roma boy was also a member of the club. He came at the persuasion of a friend, but very quickly became interested and began to make codes for simple tasks. Now they are working all together, having same skills and creating new projects.

Impact of the program

The Programme has demonstrated beneficial impact at school level but also at individual level of some specific vulnerable children. For instance, in this story two boys participated actively in the Micro:bit club, they consequently improved their ICT skills but also increased their capacity to learn and socialise with other students.

How club and new skills helped all of them:

  • One of the teachers also highlights that the project addressed functional illiteracy as one of the main gaps in Bosnian schools. According to her, tests showed that the kids have problems with comprehension and that is why the knowledge about how to apply critical thinking in the classroom has been priceless. This has been recognised by all the schoolteachers and some sessions from the Programme seminar now have became a part of the professional development for all the Kreka teachers.
  • It is very important to approach each student individually.  For instance, in relation to a Roma boy, there were constant conversations between his teacher from earlier grades and his current teachers to figure out the best way to motivate him.
  • In relation to other, environmental factors students’ families have been identified as only important factor. Although the majority of parents have been totally disengaged from the school, the teachers mentioned that family’s support has been priceless in success of some of the disadvantaged kids. For instance both teachers we spoke with agreed that ‘student’s parents are very involved and ‘shining example’ of Roma parents who do send their kids to school’.


This is how micro:bit coding club impacted one Roma student especially.

Roma child, passionate about soccer lives in the family below the average social economic status. He comes to school regularly despite the fact that Roma parents, as one of the teachers says, ‘often do not send their children to school’. He is also very sociable and quite popular kid. He is shy in class and according to one of his teachers: ‘no way he would raise his hand to give an answer in a class’.

According to the club coordinator, ‘he worked wonderfully at the club’ and his teacher noticed that his interest in informatics and English subsequently increased as soon as he became active in the club work.  Also, the teacher noticed that he did very well during online classes, where he continuously kept coming up quickly with solutions using logical thinking and newly acquired digital skills. … ‘He became much more active and that reflected on his success’. The language teacher also confirmed that boy has changed quite a bit, and he changed his approach to learning since he started coming to the coding club and working with Micro:bit devices. Further on, children improved their social relations with other children. They spent more time with their peers and had fun with each other. 

Child agrees with this by telling: ‘Classes with teacher have become more interesting to me because she uses various games’.

Positive school experience in that way has a good potential to break circle of vulnerability for students from Roma and economically and socially disadvantaged families.