1.3 National youth strategy
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Since 2021, there is NO National Youth Strategy anymore. However, after a pressure from the Czech Council of Children and Youth, in December 2022, the Minister of Education, Youth and Sports decided to develop a new one in the course of 2023.
Partial aspects of supporting Youth Work and non-formal education are now mentioned in the new Education Strategy 2030+ with the main priority in the field of connecting formal and non-formal education.
There were four Youth Policy Strategies of the Czech Republic between years 1999 to 2020. The first governmental Youth Policy Strategy was introduced in 1999 - 2002. The second strategy was valid in 2002-2007, the third between the years 2007-2013 and the last was a National Youth Strategy for years 2014-2020 (Koncepce podpory mládeže na období 2014 – 2020, Governmental Decree no. 342 of 12 May 2014).
Every new strategy was based on the evaluation of the previous document and its implementation, with the involvement of new needs, except the last 2014 - 2020 Strategy, which was evaluated in the mid-term 2017 and a final evaluation was executed in 2021 by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports.
The 2020 OECD Report "Governance for Youth, Trust and Intergenerational Justice. Fit for All Generations?" (OECD 2020) marked the last Czech Youth Strategy as the 6th most successful in the extent to which national youth strategies are inclusive, budgeted, monitored and evaluated.
Strategy for the Education Policy of the Czech Republic up to 2030+ has 2 strategic objectives:
1. Focus education more on the acquisition of competences needed for an active civic, professional and personal life.
2. Reduce inequalities in access to quality education and pave the way for the maximum development of the potential of children, pupils and students.
Apart from strategic objectives, it has 5 Strategic lines.
The first strategic line "Transforming the content, methods and assessment of education" focuses also on non-formal education and lifelong learning.
Non-formal education is defined as:
Non-formal education is aimed at the development of knowledge, skills and competences in employers’ establishments, private educational institutions, school facilities (e.g. leisure education, which provides participants with activities during their leisure time that focus on various fields), non-governmental organisations, memory institutions (especially libraries and museums), art and other cultural institutions, science centres and other organisations. Non-formal education includes some organised leisure activities for children, young people and adults, such as courses, retraining, training and lectures. A prerequisite for the provision of non-formal education is the participation of a professional lecturer, teacher, educator, trainer or trained leader. However, it does not normally lead to the attainment of an accepted level of education unless it is subsequently recognised by a competent authority or institution.
The strategy aims also on:
- supporting Leisure Time activities and youth work with educational elements
- interlinking different forms of education
- Innovative forms of work with children
- After-school care and school clubs
- Outcomes of non-formal education
Youth Strategy 2014-2020 consisted of:
- Pillars determining the set principles upon which the expected impact of Strategy 2020 on young people is based.
- Horizontal priorities taking into account the priority areas of intervention across all strategic and operational goals.
- Strategic goals referring to a defined idea of how Youth Strategy 2020 should contribute to specific areas of youth policy in the long term, until 2020.
- Operational goals are breaking down this vision in terms of the short, medium and long-term fulfilment of the strategic objectives.
- Measures defining specific directions to take to achieve the desired operational goals.
The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports is the central state authority in the Youth Field.
It was responsible for implementing, coordinating and monitoring of the Youth Strategy 2014-2020. The main coordinating body until the end of 2019 was the Youth Department at the Ministry and the Youth Chamber (see details in Chapter 1.4). Since 2020 it was Children and Youth Development Unit within the Department of primary education and youth. (Within the first part of 2020 the unit was within the department for further education and youth).
This administrative and governance order could be influenced by a lower level of competences in the formal manner of coordination and policy management across various sectors and policy levels (see analyses e.g. Bárta, Boček, Husák 2014). However, in general, an integrated cross-sectoral Youth Policy was in play. It was targeted and was working with its competence to implement decentralisation.
Thus, there is a huge variety of other National Strategies tackling particular Youth issues and more specific policies (listed below together with the authority responsible).
Responsibility for any Youth programme always lies with the initiating authority, unless it is transferred to another authority.
Responsible authorities range from ministries and their directly controlled agencies to the Office of the Government and its sections by various subtopics and by some issues to regional or local Authorities.
Since the end of 2013 there has been no state agency directly focused on Youth. Until the end of 2013 there was the National Institute for Children and Youth, which had been in operation since the 1950s with different competences and names. Most of the tasks of the Institute were transferred to other state agencies before its end. Since January 2022 there is a new department for Youth and Non-formal and Leisure based education within the National Pedagogy Institute of the Czech Republic.
The Erasmus+ Youth Program and the European Solidarity Corps Program are managed by the Czech National Agency for International Education and Research.
The Education Strategy 2030+ is not expected to be updated, however, its implementation is accompanied by the "implementation cards" for the 3 years period. These cards focused on the priorities in that period in the line with the strategy and are built to state concrete steps and measures in the meantime.
The evaluation of the impact of the Youth Strategy 2020 on the target group was carried out through national youth reports at the mid-term in 2017 and by the final in 2021. Both reports are not publically accessible.
On 12th of February 2018 the Supreme Audit Office of the Czech Republic published its audit report about the finances in the Youth sector which was very critical to the Youth Policy and the Youth Strategy implementation and evaluation. It also concludes that the Strategy does not have real indicators, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports did not have an outline of the implementation tools of other sectors and that the Mid-term evaluation from May 2017 was with mistakes and misleading information.
Further, the Supreme Office thinks that the Youth Strategy could not be evaluated according to the Governmental decision about the impact on the target population of young people because of the missing indicators. The Youth department opposed the Report in some aspects, however, the argumentation is not publically available.