10.4 Quality and innovation in youth work
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The title "NGO recognised by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports for providing quality youth work."
The title is awarded within the sub-programme of Grant Schemes by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports for supporting youth work in NGOs. It is awarded by the minister responsible for youth upon the decision of the Selection Committee. It is linked to the amendment to the "Governmental Rules for providing grants from the state budget to non-profit, non-governmental organisations by the central public bodies" (since 2014 this amendment enables the Ministry to make an agreement on long-term cooperation with selected youth NGOs). About 18 NGOs are holders of this title, plus the Czech Council for Children and Youth as the main strategic partner for the Ministry is granted with the title on a long-term basis.
Youth NGOs awarded with the title have to meet the following 15 criteria:
- the NGO has to exist at least 5 years;
- has to have organisational units at least in 3 regions;
- has youth work covered in the Status;
- has clearly defined its organisational structure and clearly described processes in the organisation;
- makes public their Annual Reports including financial statistics;
- has elaborated Strategic Development Plan including description of learning perspective – objectives, methods and forms of youth work;
- has no problems in the field of financial clearance;
- has no crime files;
- performs systematic PR towards the public;
- activities are provided not only to its own members but also to other target groups – it is open to everyone;
- supports volunteering;
- is actively inclusive and open to vulnerable young people, disadvantaged young people and young people with fewer opportunities;
- provides regular training courses to youth leaders and youth workers which are accredited by educational institutions;
- has professional and sufficient staff for providing activities – at least 60% of educational staff has certificate of attending accredited training courses.
Holders of the title are obliged to submit the complete Annual Report to the Youth Department of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports. Youth Department submits audit controls at a random basis.
Youth work quality self-assessment tools for youth NGOs and youth centres, OLINA
OLINA tool is one of the final products of the ESF national project "Keys for life - Developing Key Competences in Leisure-Time and Non-Formal Education". It is an online system for the management of youth work quality systems in the youth sector (leisure-time centres, youth clubs, youth NGOs) and serves as a tool for introducing the principles of PDCA (plan-do-check-apply) to leisure-time centres, youth clubs and youth NGOs.
OLINA tool is based on three modules:
2. competence-building and
OLINA tool is usable for the self-evaluation of competencies of youth leaders and afterwards for the development of their competencies in e-learning programmes. At the same time, the on-going evaluating processes in non-formal settings can be assessed. The ESF national project "Keys for life" has created and piloted training programmes aimed at raising the quality of youth work. These training programmes reinforce the skills and competencies of youth leaders and workers for setting objectives and their continuous evaluation.
This tool was initiated by the former National Institute for Children and Youth (today the agenda merged with the National Pedagogy Institute of the Czech Republic).
A set of youth work quality self-assessment tools for youth NGOs and youth clubs integrated in an interactive online platform which offers three modules:
1. Assessing Module: facilitates youth work quality self-assessment of youth NGOs and youth centres, provides a set of self-assessment tools usable for different types of youth work settings which enables the users in an interactive form to carry out the self-assessment and compare the results of the self-assessment periodically. System provides to its users an opportunity to undergo a process analysis with defining main, supportive and controlling processes. As the next step it is offering CAF or modified Internal Audit as tools for finishing the phase of assessment of different processes and on-going activities. In addition, the users can benefit from consultations and methodological support provided by experts from the National Institute of Further Education).
2. Competence Module: facilitates self-assessment of 30 key competencies crucial for youth work at the level of youth workers and youth leaders (two tests providing feedback to the individual user about the level of his/her key competencies related to the youth work quality. In addition, a multi-source external assessment tool enables the user to be assessed by his/her supervisors, colleagues, external partners, young people etc. and improve his/her personal and professional development. The methodology for developing 15 soft competencies is provided).
3. E-learning Module: provides eight innovative e-learning training programmes aimed at developing and improving eight selected key competencies for youth leaders (effective communication and presentation; planning; project management; problem-solving; human resources management; strategic management; leadership; fundraising). The performance resulted from the training courses is recorded in the users' personal profiles and enables the users to improve further their performance if desired.
It is possible to work with the results further at any time (for instance, to compare the results achieved in different periods throughout the year when using the tools repeatedly; to measure the progress made in the field of youth work quality system in youth NGOs and youth centres as well as key competences of youth leaders). Online application tool enables leaders and managers of the target groups to document the development of their quality youth work competencies and create their own "Personal Competence Portfolio" based on self-evaluation. In addition, the tool enables the users on the level of youth NGOs and youth clubs to elaborate their own Remedial Action Plan and document progress made in closing the weaknesses and observations.
This tool is not used frequently, although it enables equal access of all youth workers and youth leaders to the tool and its use is free of charge and is adaptable to different needs of the users. User-friendly approaches. However, a strong motivation of youth leaders and youth workers to devote their free time to use the tool continuously would be required. A large number of youth workers and youth leaders are volunteers and devote a huge amount of their free time to youth work already. The benefits are unclear to them, as well as to their organisations.
There hasn't been any significant research done in this field since 2012 for the state. Neither a system of continuous documentation, nor a study of youth work was initiated, requested or managed by public bodies recently. The same applies to national research structures researching youth work.
However, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports is implementing the National Register of research on children and youth carried out by Universities, NGOs and other private providers.
Since the end of 2016, The Czech Council of Children and Youth (National Youth Council, Non-governmental structure) started to operate an Analytical Center as a small unit dealing with the information, data and knowledge about youth work, youth policy and youth in cooperations with universities, researchers, private as well as public institutions and organisations. To date it has run a couple of surveys, supported mainly by the Erasmus+ programme. The most significant would be a Czech-Slovak research on the Youth Values (Hodnoty mladých).
Information on the participation of young people in general policymaking is described in chapter 5.4. There are no specifics for youth work comparing to youth policy. The quality Youth Work should be based in principle on the young people's participation.
There are no specific national-wide initiatives to support digital youth work from the side of the government.
However, due to COVID-19, some new youth NGO initiatives/tools have emerged in the recent years, such as Levitio App supporting youth groups in operating in the digital world. These initiatives are not coordinated or specially supported by the state though. A research is currently being conducted on the on-line activism of young people, however, it seems that it will bring only modest results.
There was a State Strategy on Digital Education till 2020; however, it did not deal with Youth Work specifically.
Youth organisations usually use digital technologies for communication and promotions, which was especially accelerated during the COVID-19 pandemic, when youth organizations very often sustained their activities in online space and developed also many digital projects and activities.
As an example, we can pick, the Face2Art project. It was implemented by an NGO HUDEBNÍ MLÁDEŽ (Jeunesses Musicales) Czech Republic and gives to young people from 13 to 23 years of their age an opportunity to present themselves as artists with their own pieces of art as well as to gain new artistic experience. They can enhance their artistic skills at:
- producing/making art
- perceiving/analysing art
- reflecting upon arts/culture (production as well as perception) in seven art disciplines
The platform for presentation is a virtual gallery where the pieces of art are exhibited and 'fans' can vote for them in the contest. Each discipline has a patron (a well-known artist) who comments on the best entries in the contest and becomes a personal mentor to the best participants. The online component of the project is balanced with offline activities, namely when young people participating in the project are invited to take part in several workshops and meetings and thus meet the online community face-to-face.
In 2018, The national network of certified youth information centres got an assignment from the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports. Their task was to prioritise building up digital competencies of youth workers / leaders as well as leisure-time-based educators in their submitted projects within the Grant Scheme for Youth Information Centres in 2018. However, for later years, the support has stopped.
Activities supported in 2018 were as follows:
- creating video-programmes which promote digital youth work;
- providing youth information centres with game consoles of virtual reality and sharing them within the national network of youth information centres with an aim to get young people familiar with new and so far not widely accessible digital technologies;
- creating training opportunities on digital and media literacy for youth workers in youth information centres including educational materials usable also for schools;
- developing project "Digital citizenship" which would cover issues such as digital identity cards, digitalisation of public services, digital elections etc.;
- organising roundtable discussions on digital competencies in youth work in regions;
- issuing Inspiromat "Competencies for the 21st century" devoted to the digitalisation of youth work (the National Youth Information Centre is the issuing body).