5.4 Young people's participation in policy-making
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In the Czech Republic, there are no legal provisions or obligatory policy guidelines on public consultation in general, or in the youth field. There is only the Manual for public engagement in the preparation of government documents, published in 2010 by the Ministry of the Interior which, however, has only a character of recommendation and does not reflect the special needs of young people at all.
Mechanisms for youth engagement in the youth policy are thus more or less traditional or non-formal. We can identify four basic mechanisms/levels of youth involvement in the context of Czech Youth Policy:
- Young people and Youth NGO representatives can be appointed as members of the ministerial thematic working groups for reaching the goals of the Youth Strategy and thus contribute to Youth Policymaking. Three representatives of Youth NGOs, respectively of the Czech Council of Children and Youth, are members of the Youth Chamber as well (for details on Youth Chamber see Chapter 1.5).
- Every three years, the National Youth Conference is organised, where young people, their representatives and youth workers can actively contribute to Youth Policy evaluation, implementation and re-shaping.
- Young people and their representatives can directly approach the Youth Department with their needs or ideas as well as contact any other specific institution or political body dealing with the topic.
- Structured Dialogue with Youth has been incorporated as a permanent mechanism for involvement in Youth Policymaking also on a national level (since 2014 via Youth Strategy 2020).
The Structured Dialogue with Youth in the Czech Republic serves as a permanent forum for common discussion on priorities and topics of the Youth Policy.
Coordination is ensured by the National Working Group for the Structured Dialogue with Youth together with the EU Structured Dialogue with Youth and Youth organisations.
In the period of 2010 to 2014, this function was only partially substituted by the project Kecejme do toho (Have Your Say), run by the Czech Council of Children and Youth in cooperation with the National Parliament of Children and Youth. The project was active until the end of 2015.
Structured Dialogue uses public consultation, workshops, discussions, online questionnaires, online discussions, essay competitions and other tools to reach young people and support them to participate in Youth Policy-making and reflecting on youth issues in the public space.
Young people and youth organisations are encouraged to organise their own projects and send their recommendations and outcomes (publicly displayed online on the website of the Structured Dialogue).
Based on the outcomes the Working Group also prepares National reports on actual topics when decided by the Group.
By tackling a specific topic, where specific target groups should be actively involved, the Working Group prepares a contact database of specific and wide stakeholders, to invite these specific youth groups, their youth organisations and the institutions working with these specific target groups.
There is no general mechanism for selecting representatives of young people or youth organisations in public bodies dealing with their issues.
There are some relevant public bodies which could be targeted by young people or their representatives.
Advisory bodies of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports with representatives of Youth organisations:
- Youth Chamber (Komora mládeže) – details see in Chapter 1.5.
- Council for Leisure-Based Education (Rada pro zájmové vzdělávání)
- Coordinating Council of Providers of Information for Young People (Koordinační rada poskytovatelů informací pro mládež)
- Governmental Council for Non-State Non-Profit Organisations (Rada vlády pro nestátní neziskové organizace)
- Committee for the Rights of the Child (Výbor pro práva dítěte), a committee of the Governmental Council for Human Rights.
Semi budgetary organizations of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports:
- Centre for International Cooperation in Education (Dům zahraniční spolupráce)
- Since 2020 National Pedagogy Institute (until the end of 2019 National Institute for Further Education (Národní institut pro dalšího vzdělávání) and National Institute for Education (Národní ústav pro vzdělávání)
- Pedagogical Centre for Polish National Minorities (Pedagogické centrum pro polské národnostní menšiny)
- Centre for Higher Education Studies (Centrum pro studium vysokého školství)
- Centre for Evaluation of Educational Achievements (Centrum pro zjišťování výsledků ve vzdělávání)
- Fulbright Commission (Fulbrightova komise)
There is no state systematic mechanism to monitor and evaluate all levels and tools of youth participation in Youth Policy Making or in public affairs.
In case of participation in the Structured Dialogue, National Working Group is collecting and publishing this information on its website and in National reports from the consultation.
The only publicly available outcome of the consultation with youth is the National Report from the Structured Dialogue. (Reports exist since the end of 2015, before 2015 no such reports containing information about youth existed, and only EU national consultation reports are available). Outcomes from third-party projects in the scope of the Structured Dialogue and sent to the National Working Group are also published on the website of the Structured Dialogue.
The only initiative from the state in this sphere is the Structured Dialogue with Youth described above. Within the system of the Structured Dialogue, non-state actors can also apply for support for their initiatives for local, regional and national level supported by the KA3 Structured Dialogue with Youth from the Erasmus+ programme (EU funding).
Another non-state project supporting Youth Participation is Youth Speak Up! by Young Political Scientists Club. They support high school students in citizens education and participation and had organized also national discussion involving 20 successful young people across social sectors. They brought together 21 ideas for the future Czech Republic which created a political manifesto presented to political parties. Some parliamentary political parties and their Youth Wings supported the initiative and they set together an initiative of young members of parliaments and other young experts to work on the legislative changes in order to fulfil the most realistic points from the manifesto which are related to legislation framework. So, even if it is not a large-scale initiative or movement, it makes a significant contribution to youth political participation on the national level from the youth agenda perspective and also from young experts and politicians engagement and participation.