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In Cyprus, there is an explicit commitment on the part of the top-level authorities to support youth policies with knowledge and evidence from research on youth.
The first explicit commitment derives from the Youth Board Law which enables the Board to suggest, in consultation with other state agencies, the conduction of scientific studies concerning the needs of young people and measures for their fulfilment.
The second commitment derives from the Youth Board’s annual budget in which the budget for research was tripled since 2014. More specifically, the budget for research in 2014 was €8.330,00 while in 2020 the budget is €30.000,00 as stated in the National Gazette. The allocation of funds underlines the commitment of the Youth Board of Cyprus to conduct research in the youth field. Moreover, one of the main tasks and responsibilities of the Policy Department of the Youth Board is to submit proposals and coordinate the implementation of research on youth. . Lastly, the National Youth Strategy clarifies the commitment for an evidence-based youth policy as well. One of the principles of the Strategy is to follow an “evidence-based” approach for its implementation . More specifically, the Strategy outlines that one of the key elements in its implementation is that it is necessary to collect and analyse information in order to continually improve the situation of young people and thus the development of effective policies. Additionally, the mechanism for monitoring and evaluating the National Youth Strategy clearly defines the commitment for an evidence-based evaluation of the strategy, mid-term, final and annual, so that accurate data is collected and the implemented programs are adjusted based on this.
There is an ad-hoc cooperation between policy making and research. Based on the Youth Board law and the Youth Board’s budget, the Youth Board has the authority to commission scientific research on youth around several policy themes. Moreover, the Youth Board examines research proposals submitted from academic institutions and contributes to their implementation.
The first large scale research commissioned by the Youth Board of Cyprus was on the current situation of young people in Cyprus (available only in Greek). The aim of this research was to gather data concerning the current situation of young people in order to act as the basis of the National Youth Strategy. The research briefs illustrate key findings for the young people in regard to the 8 themes of the National (and the EU) Youth Strategy. The research was quantitative and data was collected through questionnaires. In total 1,340 young people took part in the research, 80% of whom filled in the hard-copy questionnaire and 20% the online version.
A second example of this cooperation is the research conducted by the University of Nicosia on behalf of the Youth Board on Active Youth Participation in social and democratic life. The aim of this research was to record the impact of the current political environment on young people. Its ultimate goal was to map and highlight the attitudes and beliefs of young people with regard to their intention to participate in elections and the criteria based on which they choose to participate. The research sample was 1000 young people aged between 18-35 years living in Cyprus.
The research on Active Youth Participation in social and democratic life indicated an emerging issue which calls for future policy action. More specifically, the key finding of the research was that young people who say they are happy with their lives are more active citizens and participate in different forms of social and democratic life.
Within 2020, the Youth Board commissioned to a research institute the first Youth-Barometer research, with a population of 1000 young people, aged 14-35 years old. The aim was to capture the current situation of young citizens in Cyprus with regard to their life satisfaction, happiness, education and employability and explore issues, such as lifestyle, family relationships, living conditions, health, extracurricular activities, voluntary work, future expectations and lastly opportunities and challenges. The study also looked at young people’s general views and perceptions on issues related to social benefits, social policies, climate change, religion, immigration and digitalization.
The results of the first Youth-Barometer survey were communicated to the members of the Cross- Sectoral Working Group of the National Youth Strategy and to the relevant Parliamentary committees.
According to the Administrative Board’s decision, the Cypriot Youth-Barometer research will be conducted twice per year. Upon the completion of the second Youth-Barometer study, the Youth Board will look into emerging issues and trends which call for future policy action.
A recent example of an ad-hoc cooperation between the Youth Board and the scientific community is the research “The relationship between young people in Cyprus with social networking and the internet”. The survey was conducted in 2020 by the Alexander college, with the support of the Youth Board of Cyprus and the results can be found at Youth Board’s website.
So far, there is no evidence-based evaluation of youth policies.
The agency responsible for national statistics is the Statistical Service of Cyprus (CYSTAT). The aim of CYSTAT is to provide reliable and up-to-date statistical information. It is the competent authority responsible for the compilation and publication of most of the official statistical data in Cyprus. The statistics produced by CYSTAT concern all social and economic activities of the country. The sources of information are both the public and the private sector. Data from the private sector is collected mainly through surveys whereas from Government Departments and semi-Government organizations mostly through access to administrative records.
CYSTAT conducts censuses (complete enumerations), sample surveys and ad-hoc surveys. The data is collected mainly through personal interviews. At the planning stage of the various surveys, CYSTAT takes into consideration requests and proposals from other Government Departments so that their needs are fulfilled. The Statistical Service collects data on various areas, some of which are irrelevant to young people. The key areas that are the subject of data collection and are relevant to youth are Population, Population Census, Health, Education, Living Conditions and Social Protection, Crime, Employment and Unemployment. Until now, there has not been any national youth report. Youth-Barometer, established in 2020, can be considered a valuable source of data and analysis on the situation of young people at national level.
Τhe government has a line of funding for research on youth explicitly supporting evidence-based youth policy making. This is achieved by allocating special funds for research in the budget of the Youth Board of Cyprus. In particular and as already mentioned above, the budget for Research in 2020 was €30.000. The government has not yet allocated funds for the evidence-based evaluation of its youth-related activities and policies.