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EACEA National Policies Platform


10. Youth work

10.2 Administration and governance of youth work

Last update: 28 November 2023
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  1. Governance
  2. Cross-sectoral cooperation


In Estonia, the youth sector is considered to encompass both youth work and youth policy.

The ministry in charge of youth sector is the Ministry of Education and Research, the department responsible is the Department of Youth and Talent Policy. The operational management of youth sector has been the responsibility of the national youth work agency,up to 31.07.2020 known as the Estonian Youth Work Centre. Since 1 August, there is a new governmental body under the administration of the Ministry of Education and Research called the Education and Youth Board. The joint institution was established on the basis of the previous services of Foundation Innove, Foundation Archimedes, Information Technology Foundation for Education and Estonian Youth Work Centre. The main objective of the new organization is to implement the education and youth policies.

According to the Local Government Organization Act, the local governments have a key role in organizing youth work. Most of the financing of youth work comes also from the budget and own income of the local municipalities. The municipalities have the obligation to have a general development plan for the local levelaccording to the aforementioned act. The Youth Work Act states that a local government council has to determine their youth work priorities and set out the tasks in the local development plan. Hence there are municipalities that have a separate youth work development plan and others who have a paragraph on youth work in their general development plan.

Cross-sectorial cooperation

The cross-sectorial cooperation on state level is strongly emphasised in the current national youth strategy, the Youth Sector Development Plan 2021-2035 (Noortevaldkonna arengukava 2021-2035) which defines the role of different ministries and other stakeholders from various policy fields in management of the youth sector development plan, in line with the idea of cross-sectorial youth policy that integrates all main spheres of lives of youth population.

The plan foresees that the implementation of the development plan and relevant reporting is supported by a steering committee. The work of the committee is led by the Ministry of Education and Research and the committee includes representatives from the Ministry of Social Affairs, the Ministry of Justice, Ministry of the Interior, the Ministry of Culture, the Ministry of Finance and the Government Office. Additionally, an important role is taken by youth representatives; strategic partners of the Ministry of Education and Research and experts of relevant areas are also included.

The development plan is implemented through the youth sector programme and if necessary, through a joint programme. The programme specifies a time-scheme and specific activities per each area, plus the costs for the four years (1+3). The programmes are prepared while planning the State Budget Strategy (SBS) and are reviewed annually in order to ensure coordination with the changing external circumstances and the SBS. The programme outlines the political instruments, activities, indicators and the financial plan used to achieve the sub-goals. The content of the programmes is discussed at the management committee before the approval of the SBS. The programme is enhanced after the approval of the state budget, if necessary. The programme is approved by the Minister of Education and Research. In case of a joint programme, it is approved by all participating ministers. More information about cooperation between the main public actors is described in Chapter 1.5. Cross-sectorial approach with other ministries.

In addition to programmes developed as follow-up of the national youth strategy, there are some other programmes managed in cross-sectorial cooperation, like the  Local Development Programme with Estonia, described in Chapter 4.4.

Some interesting initiatives to increase cross-sectoral approach are in place in Estonia, e.g. stronger tides between youth and talent policy, policy research on better recognition of NFL and youth work in formal education, cooperation in the area of restorative justice with the Ministry of Justice, e-participation developments, implementation of joint programs together with different ministries to increase social inclusion, cooperation to help NEETs, co-operation to help Ukrainian refugees etc.