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On September 22 2020, by the Regulation of the Prime Minister of the Republic of Poland (Dz.U. 2020 poz. 1631) the office of Government's Plenipotary for Youth Policy was created and Mr. Piotr Mazurek was appointed to the office. The Plenipotary's main tasks include, among others:
- Initiation of cooperation with government, local and regional authorities, as well as with non-governmental organisations, in matters related to increasing youth engagement in public life;
- coordination of dialogue between government administration and social and economic partners, non-governmental organisations, local and regional authorities in matters related to the creation of youth policy in Poland;
- monitoring the activities undertaken by the government and local authorities in matters related to youth policy and the situation of young people in Poland;
- cooperation with the Dialogue Council with the Young Generations in reviewing of legal acts proposals and presenting recommendations to central and local governments in matters related to young people;
- coordination of preparation works and implementation of the strategic document relative to national youth policy, based on a series of consultations.
At present, a series of consultations is taking place in several regions in Poland.
In 2014 the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy appointed a group dealing with the social participation of young people. The group was meant to review and analyse governmental documents relating to youth policy and EU strategic papers concerning youth policy and to prepare a youth social participation programme (decision of 7 February 2014). The Youth Policy Group (Zespół ds. Polityki na Rzecz Młodzieży) operated within the Public Benefit Activities Council, which is an advisory body working for the Minister of Family, Labour and Social Policy (5th term of the Council). In the new term The Youth Policy Group was not appointed. The Group contributed to the preparation of the project “National Youth Programme. Active Youth”.
In 2014 the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy appointed a group dealing with the social participation of young people. The group was meant to review and analyse governmental documents relating to youth policy and EU strategic papers concerning youth policy and to prepare a youth social participation programme (decision of 7 February 2014). The Youth Policy Group (Zespół ds. Polityki na Rzecz Młodzieży) operates within the Public Benefit Activities Council, which is an advisory body working for the Minister of Family, Labour and Social Policy. The Group contributed to the preparation of the project “National Youth Programme. Active Youth”. In 2015 the Minister of Labour and Social Policy made a decision to adopt the Programme for Young People’s Social Engagement (Program Aktywności Społecznej Młodzieży) (decision of 27 August 2016). The main objective of the programme consists in increasing development opportunities and improving young people’s start in social and professional life. Although the programme started in 2016, no call for proposals concerning public tasks under this programme has been announced.
The Department of European Social Fund of the Ministry of Falimy, Labour and Social Policy announced in June 2018 the programme Youth solidarity in action (Młodzież solidarna w działaniu) that supports initiatives contributing to gaining social competencies by young people under 29 years old. The budget of the programme amounted to PLN 20 mln.
The “Responsible Development Strategy” indicates youth-related strategic projects whose implementation will contribute to the achievements of the objectives set:
- Guarantees for Youth - “a programme addressing the individual and comprehensive employment and educational activation of young people entering the labour market (unemployed, economically inactive and jobseekers).” The Ministry of Family, Labour and Social Policy is the entity responsible for the implementation of the programme.
- Youth Joined in Action - “a package of actions aimed at creating and shaping young people’s social engagement by organising voluntary service, participation in social life, developing competences, social values and skills.” The Ministry of Family, Labour and Social Policy is the entity responsible for the implementation of the programme.
- The programme “Club”, which is “a programme supporting the activity of sports clubs (targeting children and youth) which are local centres of social activity and active leisure, developing social ties and competences such as teamwork, perseverance or diligence.” The Ministry of Sport is the entity responsible for the implementation of the programme.
Other sectoral and cross-sectoral programmes and projects with young people as beneficiaries include:
- The programme “Family 500+”(Rodzina 500+) which started on 1 April 2016. Under the programme, parents and guardians of children under 18 may be granted support amounting to PLN 500 for every child. The programme “Family 500+” covered 6,4 mln children under 18. The amount awarded to the beneficiaries of the programme between 2016 and 2019 amounted to almost PLN 92 billion.
- The programme “Support for Starters” (Wsparcie w starcie) is run by the Ministry of Family, Labour and Social Policy to support the development of entrepreneurship. This programme allows higher education students in their final year, those who graduate from either high school or higher education, as well as registered unemployed persons to apply for low-interest loans to start a business or create a job for an unemployed person. In 2020 the amount of the loan is above PLN 106,000. The programme has been implemented in all provinces.
- The Student Loan and Credit Fund (Fundusz Kredytów Studenckich) set up at Bank Gospodarstwa Krajowego offers student loan interest subsidies. Loans can be awarded to students (under 30 years old) or doctoral students (under 35 years old).
Projects implemented as part of the operational programme Knowledge, Education, Development play a vital part in the development of youth policies, including activities aimed at preventing unemployment and boosting young people’s employability. Young people under 30, including those with disabilities, who are not in education, employment or training (NEET) are the final recipients of support offered as part of those projects.
The Children and Youth Parliament (Sejm Dzieci i Młodzieży) is one of the first initiatives aimed at increasing young people’s social engagement and arousing their interest in involvement in public life. The first session of the Children and Youth Parliament took place in 1994 on the initiative of the Polish Parliament Chancellery and the President of the Polish Humanitarian Action, Janina Ochojska. Young deputies debated the issue of “War as a threat to a happy childhood”. The Children and Youth Parliament is held every year on 1 June, which is International Children’s Day. By 2019, 25 sessions of the Youth Parliament have been held. In recent years, the Children and Youth Parliament has debated the following issues: public space (2015), memorial sites (2016), local heroes in the public domain (2017), members of the 1st Polish Parliament (2018) and members of the 2nd Polish Republic during the occupation (2019). In 2018 the XXIV session of Children and Youth Parliament was postponed from 1 June 2018 to 27 September 2018. In 2020 the Parliament was not held due to the pandemic of coronavirus. Resolutions adopted by the Children and Youth Parliament are recommendations submitted to educational institutions in Poland, however, the implementation of those recommendations is not monitored. Resolutions adopted by the Children and Youth Parliament are not binding. The Parliament Chancellery (Kancelaria Sejmu), Institute for National Remembrance (Instytut Pamięci Narodowej), Education Development Centre (Ośrodek Rozwoju Edukacji) and the Ministry of National Education were the organisers of the 25th session of the Children and Youth Parliament.
Poland develops various initiatives with young people in mind. At local and regional level most of those initiatives are implemented by non-governmental organisations which may obtain funding for public tasks targeting young people by way of open calls for proposals launched by local governments. The Public Benefit Activity and Voluntary Service Act mentions one task in the area of public tasks which directly targets young people; that is activities on behalf of children and youth, including recreation activities for children and young people. It should be noted that the main areas of the activity of non-governmental organisations in Poland (143 000 organisations, including 117 000 associacions and 26 000 foundations) in 2018 were:
- sport, tourism, recreation, hobbies (35%),
- culture and art (14%),
- education and upbringing (13%)
- healthcare (8%)
- social services and social security (7%)
- local development (6%).
Examples of activities implemented for the benefit of young people by non-governmental organisations at nationwide levels include:
- The programme “Equalise opportunities” (Równać szanse) initiated in 2001 and aiming to “equalise young people’s chances for a good start into adulthood”. The programme targets people aged 13-19 living in localities with a population of up to 20,000. Under this programme, non-governmental organisations, libraries, community centres and informal groups may apply for subsidies to implement projects contributing to the development of young people’s competences and skills. As part of all editions of the programme over 3 000 projects have been implemented with the participation of over 147,000 people. The programme is implemented by the Polish Children and Youth Foundation (Polska Fundacja Dzieci i Młodzieży) and funded by the Polish-American Freedom Foundation whose contribution to the programme amounts to USD 15,862,990.
- The programme “PROJECTOR” (PROJEKTOR) – a student voluntary service, implemented by the Educational Enterprise Foundation (Fundacja Edukacyjna Przedsiębiorczości). The programme is authored and funded by the Polish-American Freedom Foundation. The programme aims at “prevention of exclusion and the activation of children and young people coming from Polish small towns and villages by developing their passions and interests, and discovering the talents and potential not only of students but also of project participants”. As part of the programme, student volunteers implement educational projects for the benefit of younger people living in villages and small towns. Since 2003, over 14,500 students have implemented over 39,000 programme-related educational projects in 2 800 Polish schools. The contribution of the Polish-American Freedom Foundation to the programme “PROJECTOR - student voluntary service” amounts to USD 7 153 668.
- The programme “Exempt from Theory” (Zwolnieni z teorii) an educational program under which pupils and students can prepare and implement own social projects with the support of the platform and mentors. Project teams compete against each other, earning points and badges for their respective achievements. Authors of project receive certificates and the best projects awards and distinctions. The first edition of the program took place in the school year 2014/2015.