1.6 Evidence-based youth policy
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Political commitment to evidence-based youth policy
The Youth Act provides for that the Ministry of Youth and Sports sets up and maintains a National Youth Information System (NYIS) (Национална информационна система за младежта) in order to provide up-to-date information on the needs of young people in the country as well as to plan, monitor, manage and evaluate youth policies at national, regional and municipal level.
The National Youth Information System contains information about youth organizations in the country; a list of nationally representative youth organizations; youth status studies and researches, analyses and evaluations of youth policies at national, regional and municipal level; national and European documents related to the implementation of youth policy; up-to-date information on funding opportunities for youth activities.
The portal maintains active communication with youth organizations in the country, providing up-to-date information on activities, initiatives, campaigns and competitions for the youth sector. There are also active online surveys on young people's opinion on current youth topics at national and European level.
Cooperation between policy-making and research
There are no institutionalised mechanisms for cooperation. The cooperation between policy-making and research is on ad-hoc basis. Nevertheless policy-makers in the youth field are often invited by researchers and participate in focus-groups, questionnaires, interviews aimed at conducting an evidence-based research. One of the most recent examples for a research in the youth field conducted in synergy with policy-makers is the report “Youth Policy in Bulgaria – Challenges and Perspectives” (Младежка политика в България-предизвикателства и преспективи) performed by researchers from the National Youth Forum and Freidriech Ebert Shtifung and published in 2020. This report is dedicated to analysing the implementation of the National Youth Strategy (2010-2020) and aims to provide recommendations how to improve the processes of implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the next National Youth Strategy and how to involve more parties in the implementation of the youth policies.
National statistics and available data sources
The National Institute of Statistics is the body that collects and provides statistical data in general. There are no express statistical data for young people at the age 15-29 years, however some statistics in similar age groups exist in areas such as demography, education, health, employment, culture, etc.).
The Employment Agency (Агенция по заетостта) maintains annual statistics on unemployment, including of young people. For example, data on the professional and educational structure of registered unemployed young people (up to 24 years of age) can be found on the Employment Agency’s website.
Every year the Ministry of Youth and Sports makes annual youth report. It reflects the changes in the social and economic well-being of young people and assesses the extent to which the goals and priorities of the national youth strategy have been accomplished in the relevant year.
The annual youth report is prepared on the basis of data submitted by all governmental institutions in the country related to the development of youth within their competence.
Budgetary allocations supporting research in the youth field
For the purposes of the preparation of the annual youth report, every year the Ministry of Youth and Sports assings the design of a nationally representative survey on the identification of the effect of youth policy on young people in the country. The sample of the survey comprises 1400 youth people in the following age groups 15-19, 20-24 and 25-29 years of age. It defines a profile of young people in the country and studies the trends in terms of young people’s civic activity and positions, employed young people, young people not in education and employment, young people in education (employed and unemployed), competences and skills, leisure time, promotion of economic activity and career development of young people, youth volunteering, health and healthy lifestyle, intercultural dialogue, development of international dialogue, improvement of the role of young people in the prevention of crimes.
Furthermore, there is a government-funded evaluation of its youth-related programs and of policy outcomes. Examples of these are:
- Impact assessment of the National Youth Strategy (2010-2020) carried out in 2018 upon assignment of the Ministry of Youth and Sports;
- Interim impact assessment of the National Youth Strategy (2010-2020) and the action plan thereto carried out in 2015 (under project “Information, Coordination and Partnership for Youth Policy Implementation in the Republic of Bulgaria” funded by Administrative Capacity Operational Program, co-funded by the European Union through the European Social Fund)
- Subsequent impact assessment of the Youth Act carried out in 2020 (under project “Capacity Building for Carrying out Impact Assessments in the Public Administration” implemented by the Council of Ministers Administration under Good Governance Operational Program, co-funded by the European Union through the European Social Fund).