5.8 Raising political awareness among young people
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Youth information belongs to the area of responsibility of the Ministry of Education and Research, a central organisation responsible for the system of Rajaleidja (Pathfinder) centres is Education and Youth Board, which is also implementing youth policy, including the development of the provision of youth information.
Contact points for youth and youth information and counselling structures
Youth information has been recognized as a specific field in youth work since 2001. There was a separate system of youth information centres, which in 2014 were merged with career guidance centres (career guidance was transferred to the Unemployment Insurance Fund in 2018). In 2020, there were 16 centralised publicly financed centres in all counties. The regional youth guidance centres, called Pathfinder centres (Rajaleidja), provide information and counselling for young people up to 26 years.
There are also dedicated websites available for the provision of youth information:
- National portal
- Web-sites providing information for youth, e.g. Rajaleidja; Teeviit
- Regional youth information portals such as Põlva Noored; Noorteinfo
The centres and youth information activities are receiving annual public funding.
There was an initiative in 2016 supported by public funding from the Ministry of Education and Research of the Estonian National Youth Council connected with the change in the voting system, that allowed 16 and 17 years old to vote first time in the 2017 local elections. The initiative offered schools the opportunity to invite young people from the National Youth Council to give a lesson or a simulation exercise for pupils.
The National Youth Council also promotes the visibility of youth participation through photo-project #noorednähtaval.
In Estonia, the issue of cultural diversity is among the most important policy areas considering there are representatives of around 190 nationalities living in Estonia. The area of integration responsibility area of the Ministry of Culture, where there is also the position of the Undersecretary of Cultural diversity. The ministry is in charge of the coordination of the strategy of integration and social cohesion in Estonia “Integrating Estonia 2020" (Lõimuv Eesti 2020). The general objective of the strategy is that Estonian society is integrated and socially cohesive; people with different linguistic and cultural backgrounds actively participate in society and share democratic values. In the framework of the strategy, several objectives are defined relevant to social inclusion of young people and intercultural awareness:
- Supporting the awareness of common information space and of cultural diversity
- Supporting everyday contacts, communication and involvement in society
- Supporting the native language and culture of ethnic minorities
- Creating opportunities for less integrated Estonian permanent residents with a foreign background for increasing their social activity and supporting their integration.
- Promotion of equal treatment on the labour market
- Offering adaptation training programmes and developing support services and adaptation training targeted at new arrivals
- Ensuring competitive education opportunities for individuals and improving the knowledge of the official language of individuals with a native language different from Estonian
The youth-specific objective of the strategy is “Students with a native language different from Estonian actively participate in youth work and have close contacts with Estonian-speaking peers.“ The objective shall be achieved through increasing opportunities for initiatives, joint activities and increasing the involvement of young people in youth work. The measure is based on the activities under the Youth Field Development Plan 2014-2020. The aim is to increase the capability of the youth work field to create and develop a socialising environment suitable for young people and support young people’s own initiatives and the organising of youth projects. It supports the self-initiative of young people and common activities through youth work; various forms of participation are created and developed and youth workers are trained for work with different youth groups.
Currently, in Estonia there is no policy frameworks, guidelines or initiatives on transparent public communication targeting specifically young people.
See more about the national distribution and development of youth information from Chapter 10.7.