State policy towards Children and Youth in the Czech Republic is a traditional field and focus of the public sphere with many variations in time, political regime and social climate. Still, in the last decade, the field was significantly marginalized on the political and expert level and today is anchored only partially as a part of the educational policy and non-formal education. However, interconnecting of the non-formal and formal education is one of the state priorities within the Educational Policy Strategy till 2030+.
The first discussions on the overall Act on Youth started in the year 1986, still during the time of Socialists Czechoslovakia. Nevertheless, as a complex field in the time of many social and political changes (Velvet revolution 1989, transformation to the liberal democratic country in the 1990s, joining the EU in 2004, economic crisis…), no specific overall Youth Act was accepted and since 2006, the discussion was silenced from the public sphere.
Since the end of the 1990s, four State Concepts on Children and Youth Policy (Youth Strategy) were in place. The last state Youth Strategy for supporting Young people was for the period 2014 – 2020 (for details see Chapter 1.3). Since 2021 there is no dedicated state strategy for youth in a complex way and educational elements of youth work are focused in the Educational Strategy 2030+.
Since 2001, the public governance structure is quite decentralised on self-governing regional, and local level with state delegated competencies and state service. That has an impact on the Youth Policy and Youth Issues in public policymaking. However, there is a central state authority in the field of Youth – the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports (more on the decision-making structure see Chapter 1.4).
The Youth Policy is cross-sectorial with the strong position of each sector and public policy as Education, Culture, Public Health Protection, Employment, Social Issues… (for details see Chapter 1.5). Since 2021 there is no public policy coordination and the coordination is thus in the hand of the Government and the Minister responsible for the Youth agenda.
An effective overall cross-sectoral coordination of the Youth Policy and Youth Issues seems to be to some extent as the bigger challenge, as in many other countries. One complicating aspect is that within a particular sector, there are no policy structures focused primarily on young people and young people are only one of the target groups. (With the exceptions as of the administrative unit on Hygiene of Children and Adolescents within the Public Health Protection Policy at Ministry of Health and social-legal protection of children at Ministry of Social Affairs).
Present Governmental Programme statement from 2022 specifically mentioned support to youth work and youth voluntary activities, especially in the field of connecting formal and non-formal education.
Youth policy coordination became less important in the light of other state-wide and societal priorities. One significant reason is that each sector traditionally has its own mechanisms targeting young people to some extent and its own experts in the field, who have a lower level of knowledge of the youth field and more limited capacities to follow new developments of the state youth policy (more on the evidence issue in Chapter 1.6). Another aspect could be a general perception that young people after reaching the age of 18years become adults with full enjoyment of rights and duties as the rest of the population.
The Youthwiki project can also be a small, but nevertheless important stepping stone on the path to overcoming these challenges.
We thus invite all readers to critically read and work with the following chapters. The authors would also appreciate any feedback, comments and updates on particular issues from all sectors and thematic fields concerning young people.
You can contact the authors on the e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for your cooperation and we wish you an inspiring reading.
The team of the Analytical section of the Czech Council of Children and Youth
Ratio (%) of young people in the total population (2017): Eurostat, yth_demo_020 [data extracted on 4/09/2018].
Absolute number of young people on 1 January for the age group 15-29 (2017): Eurostat, yth_demo_010 [data extracted on 4/09/2018].
Ratio (%) of men and women in the youth population (2017): Eurostat, yth_demo_020 [data extracted on 4/09/2018].
Young immigrants from non-EU countries (2016): Eurostat, yth_demo_070 [data extracted on 4/09/2018].