10. Youth Work
The history of Youth Work activities in the Czech Republic goes back in the mid 19th Century, when several (mainly sport or tourist associations) started to engage young people. But its main development started at the beginning of the 20th Century with Antonín Benjamín Svojsík, the founder of the scout association in the country. Youth Work flourished during the so-called first Czechoslovak Republic in the period between the two World Wars. The Nazi occupation and the Socialist-Communists regimes made lots of centralised state actions against the free development of the sector. They focused on providing some new concepts, approaches, or material conditions that remained. See more details in Chapter 10.1.
Nowadays setting of Youth Work in the Czech Republic compose thus of two main directions:
1) youth work based on non-formal education, informal learning and personality development
2) youth work based on so-called leisure-time-based education (under the pedagogy and School Acts)
There are also services based on the social care approach, primarily focused on children and young people at risk, in poverty, disadvantaged, or in institutional care.
The traditional governmental structures for Youth Work and Youth Policy in the form of the Youth Department, which operated since 1987, changed between 2020 and 2023, when there was only a Youth Support Unit within the Department for Elementary Education and Youth. The separate full-fledged Youth Department has been restored since January 2023. See more details in Chapter 10.2.
Leisure-based education is partly regulated by the Education/School Legislation. The Civil Code and related legislation regulate other forms of Youth Work based on non-formal education and informal learning. The social care services are regulated with the Social Policy Regulations. See more details in Chapter 10.3.
The state supports Youth Organizations financially based on the State Subsidy Programmes for Supporting Work with Children and Youth in Non-Governmental Organisations and their Idea concept for Years 2022 - 2023. See details in Chapter 10.3.
The quality of Youth Work in Leisure-based education is ensured through the education legislation and in the Non-formal based Youth Work through awarding the title of "NGO recognised by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports for providing quality youth work" to Youth NGOs complying with selected criteria. There are also other particular tools. See details in Chapter 10.4.
Speaking about Youth Workers, there is no central or legal definition. Unless the Educational legislation defines them in the case of Leisure-based Education, see details in Chapter 10.5.
There have been broader state initiatives to recognise the learning outcomes from the Youth Work in the last decade, and some achievements have been met. However, overall recognition is more or less a decentralised field. See details in Chapter 10.6.
Youth Work is decentralised and this policy area is largely uncoordinated, except for a few specific initiatives. See details in Chapter 10.7.
Since 2021 no particular nor comprehensive National Youth Strategy is dealing with Youth Work, which founds its political support within the Education Strategy 2030+. About the ongoing debates and policy development, learn more in Chapter 10.8.