5.3 Youth representation bodies
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In Hungary the formation of Youth Parliament (Országos Diákparlament) established by the Goverment holds meetings every 2-3 years. In the intervening years the National Student Council (Országos Diáktanács) meets. In addition, there are other grassroots initiatives, actions and various formations. The individual formations are listed below.
National Youth Parliament
The Act CXC of 2011 on National Public Education (2011. évi CXC. törvény a nemzeti köznevelésről) states, that the Minister Responsible for Education (currently the State Secretary Responsible for Public Education) has the main task of convening the Youth Parliament.
The Minister convenes the Youth Parliament every second year. The plenary sessions of the National Student Council are held between the two sessions of the National Student Parliament.
Representatives are elected in ascending order. First, the institutional representatives are elected either by the student councils of the schools or by the participants in the meeting of the Institutional Youth Parliament. The role of the elected representatives is to represent the students of their institution. Secondly, the county representative is chosen by the county student council from those previously elected. These elected persons then represent their county in the National Youth Parliament (Országos Diákparlament) where about 300 candidate is present.
Role and responsibilities
In the presentation of the National Youth Parliament, it reviews the exercise of students' rights and may adopt a recommendation in which it formulates its opinion and proposal. The last session of the National Youth Parliament was at the end of January 2020. The National Youth Parliament established the National Student Council (Országos Diáktanács) on 15th February 2017.
Information about the budget is not available.
National Student Council
Long term cooperation has been established between
- the National Student Council [Országos Diáktanács (hereinafter referred to as NSC)],
- the State Secretary Responsible for Public Education,
- the representatives of students
and the National Student Council is the forum of it.
The National Youth Parliament initiated the establishment of the NSC in 2017 in order to continue to have a regular representation for the important issues in the interim period of the parliamentary sessions (2-3 years). In the last four years, they met 28 times ('Az Országos Diáktanács üléseinek időpontja'). The second meeting of 2022 was in late May.
The participants are 2 representatives from Budapest and 19 from the counties. The total number of members, including alternates, is 46.
The National Student Council participates in commenting on student policy issues (forming opinions, making recommendations, engaging); it has the opportunity to consult regularly and participates in the preparation of the National Youth Parliament. It acts as a corps and exercises its rights in meetings.
Two important topics from 2021 were:
- experiences with the personal and digital work in the epidemic situation,
- the personal income tax exemption for young people under 25 years of age. (For more information on the tax exemption, see sub-chapter 3.6 Integration of young people in the labour market)
Independent Youth Parliament
The Independent Youth Parliament (Független Diákparlament) was a civil, self-organised, non-state-funded student representative body. It was founded in 2014 as completely independent (i.e. independent from state, political and school supervision). In the 2019/2020 school year, it became a student movement called the 'Movement for Alternative, Student-Centred Education' [(Alternatív Diákközpontú Oktatásért Mozgalom (ADOM)]. It has a complex educational programme and they work for implementating it (e.g. each student should have quality language learning opportunities). The aim of the movement operation is to provide help more efficiently in student right issues, remedy abuses and support individual student initiatives.
National Youth Council
The task of the National Youth Council [Nemzeti Ifjúsági Tanács (referred hereinafter to as NIT)] is to represent member organisations, establish communication between youth organisations, to articulate issues affecting youth, to communicate continuously with decision-makers, to support and implement the horizontal objectives of youth policy. Last but not least, it addresses the current Government.
It was founded on 1 December 2012, but the idea for its creation had been around since the change of political regime. At the statutory meeting, 105 organisations signed the Declaration of Unity and adopted statutory regulations. In autumn 2016, NIT signed a strategic agreement with the Ministry of Human Capacities. Since then, NIT has been empowered to act as a strategic partner of the government in youth advocacy in such important areas as youth policy, volunteering, social inclusion or education.
The composition of NIT:
- young people,
- delegates of youth organisations (public and NGOs),
- youth workers and other experts working with young people.
There is no publicly available data on the age or number of members, and it is constantly changing.
The most important body of NIT is the General Assembly which consists of all full members. The main decision-making body is the Delegate-Assembly which meets at least 2 times a year and decides on the most important issues of the organisation. These meetings are open to the public.
The task of the Presidency (7 board members) is to ensure the operational functions. The mandate of the 7 board members is valid for 2 years.
The third central body of NIT is the Supervisory Board, which consists of 3 members elected by the General Assembly. The task of this body is to attend the meetings of the Executive Board and to monitor that the activities of the Executive Board are in accordance with the law and other internal regulations. The mandate of the Supervisory Board is valid for 3 years.
Role and responsibilities
'The NIT is a forum established to create discussion among young people and their organisations as well as with domestic and international actors, decision-makers and organisations.'
Several youth organisations have representation in NIT. As an umbrella organisation of Hungarian youth organisations, it is a democratic, politically independent and transparent organisation ('Kik vagyunk?').
NIT's major objectives include the followings:
- providing the highest level of representation of youth and their organisations,
- participating in forming and developing policies regarding youth, and
- acting as an advocate of young people towards the Government in power.
It aims to support the development of Hungarian youth policy, so it also wants to cooperate with Hungarian youth organisations beyond the borders of Hungary.
A state budget is earmarked to support the aims of NIT. In addition, the budget is managed in accordance with the Civil Code and the association operates with the help of funds from the National Cooperation Fund [Nemzeti Együttműködési Alap (NEA)]. Also, members pay some token membership fee ('A Nemzeti Ifjúsági Tanács Alapszabálya').
The Board of the Children and Youth Fund
The Roundtable for Youth (Kerekasztal a Fiatalokért) was a professional forum through which the Government communicates with the leading organisations and individual professionals in the field of youth policy. Since 2020, the Roundtable has not been convened due to the pandemic situation. The main advisory body is currently the Board of the Children and Youth Fund (Gyermek és Ifjúsági Alapprogram Tanácsa).
The organisations are invited by the Deputy State Secretariat for Youth Affairs, operates under the Ministry for Culture and Innovation (Kulturális és Innovációs Minisztérium). The invited organisations are partly strategic partners of the Government, and partly they are organisations with great traditions, representing a significant number of youngsters. The Government Decision 1292/2012. (VIII. 13.) on the Board of Children and Youth Fund [1292/2012. (VIII. 13.) Korm. határozat] lists the participants:
- representative of the Deputy State Secretary Responsible for Youth Policy,
- representative of the national self-governmental bodies,
- Hungarian Youth Conference (Magyar Ifjúsági Konferencia),
- the National Organisation of Student Self-governing Bodies (Hallgatói Önkormányzatok Országos Konferenciája)
- The National Association of Large Families (Nagycsaládosok Országos Egyesülete),
- The Hungarian Scout Association (Magyar Cserkészszövetség),
- Hungarian School Sport Federation (Magyar Diáksport Szövetség),
- FIVOSZ – National Association of Young Entrepreneurs (FIVOSZ),
- Hungarian Farmers' Association (Fiatal Gazdák Magyarországi Szövetsége – AGRYA)
- two representatives from churches who have schools in Hungary.
Role and responsibilities
The purpose of Board of Children and Youth Fund is to provide a permanent forum for youth organisations, the Ministry and other state institutions to discuss the current youth policy issues. According to the Government Decision 1292/2012. (VIII. 13.) [1292/2012. (VIII. 13.) Korm. határozat], the Board
- comments and make recommendations on children and youth policy regulations,
- participates in the planning and harmonization of children and youth services,
- participates in the development of the projects aims the improvement of children and youth life situation,
- informs society about the goals and developments of children and youth policy,
- proposes regulation amendments, governmental decisions, new programmes in the field of children and youth policy.
The Ministry ensures the work of the Board, but we do not have access to factual information. (For more information on the Board, see sub-chapter 1.4 Youth policy decision-making)
Students in higher education exercise their rights within their institutions through an independent self-governing organisation. These self-governments are the so-called Student Self-Government [Hallgatói Önkormányzat in Hungarian (hereinafter referred to as HÖK)] which operates as part of the higher education institutions. Their establishment and operation are defined by the Organisational and Operational Regulation of the institutions.
The National Organisation of Student Self-governing Bodies
'The National Organisation of Student Self-governing Bodies [Hallgatói Önkormányzatok Országos Konferenciája (referred hereinafter to as HÖOK)] is the representative organisation of the Hungarian student self-governments operating at Hungarian higher education institutions. Its members come from these self-governing bodies. It is organised and it operates in a democratic way.' [HÖOK - About us (HÖOK - Szervezetünk)]
In order to support the development of the Hungarian higher education system, HÖOK performs youth and higher education policy tasks that cannot be handled at institutional or regional level. It is a generally recognised representative body that has the right and the opportunity to articulate the needs and opinions of youth to decision-makers at government level. HÖOK is active in several fields such as
- dialogue at European level or
- organising large-scale youth and sports events.
There is not any data publicly available on the age or number of members, and it changes constantly.
'all students shall be members of the students’ union and shall have the right to vote and to stand as a candidate in elections.' (Act CCIV of 2011 on National Higher Education)
Higher education institutions are obliged to ensure the participation of students in committees and senates dealing with student affairs. Student self-governments (hereafter referred to as HÖK) exist at every higher education institution. They delegate 20-25% of the members of the senate. The participants have a right of consent in approving and amending the rules of organisation and conduct, as well as in reviewing finances affecting students and in providing feedback on the work of student teachers.
'The members of the local student self-government and the members of the National Organisation of Student Self-governing Bodies (HOÖK) are young people who are students of a Hungarian higher education institution and who are elected (annually) through democratic elections where the students of the institutions vote for the representatives.' [Act CCIV of 2011 on National Higher Education (2011. évi CCIV. törvény a nemzeti felsőoktatásról)]
In higher educational institutions, individual departments can be presented with so-called sub- self-governing bodies which are the part of the institutional HÖK. HÖK has (further divisions e.g. social administration, academic advocacy, foreign–relation organisation) committees that delegates representatives. The central decision-making body is the Presidency and the President.
Roles and responsibilities
The primary task of student self-government is the representation of insterests. They support also students, organise formal and informal events and international activities.
'The student self-government has reconciliation right over the acceptance and modification of the Organisational and Operational Regulations; the Regulation on Tuition Fees and Benefits; the student assessment system of the academic staff and the regulation of education and exams.' [Act CCIV of 2011 on National Higher Education (2011. évi CCIV. törvény a nemzeti felsőoktatásról)]
It takes part in the students' assessment of academic staff and has reconciliation rights over the financial instruments of youth policy and student support.
'For the horizontal development of Hungarian higher education, HÖOK has a comprehensive task in youth policy and higher education policy regarding those issues which cannot be handled on the local or regional level. […] It supports the Hungarian students in advocacy both at the national and at the international level, in particular among the member states of the European Union […] It represents its members in national and international forums.'
'It initiates laws; it reviews planned laws and regulations; it holds professional presentations; organises debate sessions and supports information flow.' Hallgatói Önkormányzatok Országos Konferenciája (HÖOK)]
HÖOK is actively present in several fields of students' life:
- organises conferences, innovative events,
- participates in events, advocacy (for example Marosvásárhely),
- mentor programs (mentorprogram),
- student leadership training,
- educational policy [for example monitoring of sectoral strategies (Ágazati stratégiák nyomonkövetése)],
- programs for political participation [EP round table (EP választási kerekasztal)],
- programs for pursuing sports [Sport and health campaign (Sport és egészség kampány)],
- educational policy,
- legal advice for students (Hallgatók ügyvédje),
- relationship with student organisation abroad (Külhoni Program).
According to the law it is the higher education institution which ensures the conditions of the student self-government's operation. There is not any data publicly available on the number of members.
'students of a school may establish student councils to organise their joint activities in connection with education, to educate for democracy and public responsibility.'
These are the Student Councils (referred hereinafter to as DÖK).
Roles and responsibilities
Student councils have the right to
- decide on planning and organising their own community life, electing their functionaries,
- reconcile and
- take the initiative and make their suggestions.
'The student council shall be requested to express its opinion before statutory regulations of the school's OOR are accepted, before determining the principles of providing social benefits for students, on the use of youth policy funds, before the approval of school regulations.' (Act CXC of 2011 on National Public Education)
The school's rules of procedures determine how DÖK, the student representatives and the school management work together. DÖK's work is supervised by a teacher.
Members of student unions are selected in different ways at schools. Generally, a certain number of pupils in the school are elected in each class and year. The regulations on student councils govern the establishment, operation and legal status of student councils at the institutions.
The school takes charge of DÖK's operational budget.
Association of Hungarian PhD and DLA Students
In Hungary the Association of Hungarian PhD and DLA Students [Doktoranduszok Országos Szövetsége (referred hereinafter to as DOSZ)] advocates on behalf of doctoral students in different higher education, political or social forums since 1994 (DOSZ, 'Bemutatkozás')
'At national level, students participating in doctoral programmes at higher education institutions shall be represented by the Association of Hungarian PhD and DLA Students. The Association of Hungarian PhD and DLA Students shall be a legal person with statutes adopted by a body comprising the representatives of the doctoral students' unions, having its seat in Budapest and represented by its president.' [Act CCIV of 2011 on National Higher Education (A Nemzeti felsőoktatásról szóló 2011. évi CCIV. törvény)]
The Association of Hungarian PhD and DLA Students is a public body and it has established self-governments at all the 28 higher education institutions where there are doctoral schools.
'The members of DOSZ are the institutional doctoral self-governments of the public or private higher education institutions where there are doctoral schools accredited by the state. Within the Union, there are more than 500 people from more than a hundred doctoral schools altogether in 20 scientific departments ['tudományos osztályok']. The assembly of the delegates is the main decision-making body of DOSZ, and it is entitled to decide on issues of any other body. The presidents of the institutional doctoral self-governments have the right to vote in the assembly.' (DOSZ, 'Bemutatkozás')
DOSZ participates in the work of
- the Hungarian Rectors' Conference (Magyar Rektori Konferencia),
- the Hungarian Accreditation Committee (Magyar Felsőoktatási Akkreditációs Bizottság) and
- the Hungarian Doctoral Council (Országos Doktori Tanács).
It is working closely with
- the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (Magyar Tudományos Akadémia),
- the Student Self-Governments in Higher Education,
- National Organisation of Student Self-governing Bodies [Hallgatói Önkormányzatok Országos Konferenciája (HÖOK)] and
- the national higher education institutions, and those research institutes and other organisations that are outside the Hungarian borders.
It plays an important role in science organisation, as part of this activity it organises a large-scale national scientific conference called Spring Wind for Hungarian researchers from all over the world.
'The budget and property of DOSZ consist of state finance, the membership fees, donations of legal entities and individuals, and it has business activities as well – in its business units – to achieve its goals.' ('Alapszabály')
Hungarian Youth Conference
According to the founding statement the
'Hungarian Youth Conference [Magyar Ifjúsági Konferencia (referred hereinafter to as: MIK)] is the forum of Hungarian youth and youth organisations in Hungary and over its borders, where their representatives can think together, learn and debate over their plans, problems and where they can implement their common vision by cooperation.'
The organisation was founded in 1999 on the initiative of the Hungarian Government. Since then it has been working actively, it organises various events and conferences. MIK is a consultative forum. Its aim is to enable more and more Hungarian youth to participate in cross-border programmes and events that promote the development of the Hungarian youth community. Another aim is to coordinate dialogue and meetings on professional development between youth organisations in Hungary and abroad and to support programmes and events.
The organisational structure of MIK is based on territories according to 10 regions. MIK currently has 45 member organisations. Different youth organisations participate in MIK:
- student organisations,
- youth organisations based on age groups,
- youth organisations of historical churches,
- youth affiliates of political parties and
- other youth NGOs.
MIK held two conferences (general meetings) last year and two Standing Committee sessions.
The major decisions are concluded in the final statement accepted by conference sessions. Between sessions, the primary decision-maker body is the Standing Committee (Állandó Bizottság) of MIK. It consists of the presidents of the regions and the president of MIK. Its supervisory board has 3 members.
Federation of Children's and Youth Municipal Councils
Federation of Children's and Youth Municipal Councils [Gyermek- és Ifjúsági Önkormányzati Társaság (hereinafter referred to as GYIÖT)] is a Hungarian national NGO, an umbrella organisation of local children's and youth councils. It was created in 1996. The main goal is to represent local youth communities at a national level, create opportunities for them, meet them and to help them develop.
The Municipal Association of Children and Youth has been in existence for more than 25 years. It cooperates with several national and international organisations and has thus built up an international professional network.
GYIÖT offers various services for member groups, youth community and civil organisations:
- organisational development activities,
- youth research, local youth conception and creation of action plan (advocacy, consultation),
- community and civil development,
- proposal writing in the field of youth and community development,
- professional project organisation,
- training and seminars.
It is involved in several projects, mainly for secondary school students and their teachers, as well as professionals in the field of youth work.
They are working with a 7-membered operative group who are all volunteers. The decision-making body is the assembly of representatives (from the members' youth councils), which meets at least two times a year.
National Association of Young Entrepreneurs
The National Association of Young Entrepreneurs (FIVOSZ) is a community of young entrepreneurs in Hungary. Its aim is to support the next generation of entrepreneurs in creating business development plans, to give them opportunities to exchange with each other, to acquire new business contacts and to provide information on trends and technologies. (For more information on FIVOSZ, see sub-chapter 3.2 Administration and governance)
National Association for Student Information
The first meeting of the National Association for Student Information (Országos Diáktájékoztatás Egyesület) was held in September 2022. Its members are currently students and editors of the website (diaktajekoztatas.hu). The aim of the association is to inform students about student events and to give them more information about student life. According to the Ministry information, the future aim is to provide regular training and organisational framework for youth interested in advocacy.