5.8 Raising political awareness among young people
On this page
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The information on democratic rights and values is disseminated through
- the National Core Curriculum [(Nemzeti Alaptanterv (hereinafter referred to as NAT)],
- the Elisabeth Youth Fund (Erzsébet Ifjúsági Alap) and
- programmes organised by NGOs.
In Hungary, active citizenship education and social responsibility education are present in schools at several points. The National Core Curriculum (Nemzeti Alaptanterv) requires, that the content of civic education be taught in several subjects (for example history; ethics, and so on). From 2020, social and civic competence teaching is a separate subject (entitled civic knowledge) in grades 5 and 12.
The Elisabeth Youth Fund (Erzsébet Ifjúsági Alap) is an information provider whose website contains various themes that concern youth.
There is no information about current nationwide campaigns for young people to inform them about democratic rights and values, or about campaigns to raise awareness about European values.
National Youth Parliament
In 2022, the relevant county departments of the Educational Authority held 21 county youth parliaments. 936 students participated in the county parliaments who had the right to vote. In these sessions, the National Youth Parliament delegates reported on their annual work and discussed the questions to be delegated to the National Youth Parliament ('Diákparlamentek').
First-time voters have always been important to the current government. Young people who have come of age since the last elections always receive a gift when they vote in elections. These gifts are usually related to the theme of the election. The National Election Office gives these gifts.
For example, in 2019, citizens, who voted for the first time, received a silicone bracelet from the National Election Office ('Szilikonkarkötőt kapnak az első választók'). The flag of the European Union is also depicted on the silicone bracelet in the national colours. 110 154 young people received it.
United Nations Youth Delegate
The UN Youth Delegate has also become increasingly popular among young people. Young people between the ages of 15 and 26 can participate in this programme. The programme aims to give the young generation the opportunity to represent and assert their interests in international decision-making. Young people selected for the programme can represent their own country in the most important forums and consultations of the UN as members of the official delegations, as youth diplomats.
The programme has been confirmed, among other things, by certain resolutions of the World Program of Action for Youth (A / RES / 50/81) and the UN General Assembly (A/RES/64/130, etc.). Hungary joined the program in 2016 with the approval of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (Külgazdasági és Külügyminisztérium). The youth delegate develops its own position based on discussions with young people nationwide. The 6th Youth Delegate is in office from January 2023 ('Az ifjúsági küldött'). (For more information about the UN youth delegates, see sub-chapter 9.3 Exchanges between young people and policy-makers on global issues.)
European Year of Youth
The EU has declared 2022 as the European Year of Youth (referred hereinafter to as EYY). One of the main objectives was to increase awareness of young people and participation in civic engagement.
In Hungary, the Deputy State Secretariat for Youth Affairs commissioned the EU Youth Dialogue National Working Group of the National Youth Council (Nemzeti Ifjúsági Tanács, referred hereinafter to as NIT) to coordinate and organise the events related to the EYY. The Secretariat defined the theme and the launch event was held in February 2022. The thematic year will end on 11 February 2023.
In the frame of the EYY, various activities was supported, including
- debating competitions,
- presentations on mental health,
- civic participation projects,
- discussions on renewable energy sources and
- programmes on the integration of young Ukrainians.
'Step up!' programme
The 'Step up!' programme ('Lépj fel!') is the programme series of the NIT. They visited all the counties of Hungary for a year. Their aim was to bring young people and decision-makers together. They mostly discuss issues relevant at the local level with the representatives of NIT, NGOs and other stakeholders. (For more details see sub-chapter 5.4 Young people's participation in policy-making)
Public Life Mentor Programme
The NIT launched another program in 2020, the Public Life Mentor Programme ('Közéleti Mentorprogram'), targeting young people who are interested in public life and social issues. They organised public life trainings where they received skill development training, participated in interactive roundtable discussions, worked on projects on the solution of a youth-related problem. They held 3 sessions in recent years and more than 100 young people participated in the programme.
Parliamentary Youth Day
The 'You have a say!' Parliamentary Youth Day ('Van beleszólásod! Parlamenti Ifjúsági Nap 2022') aims to give young people the opportunity to engage with:
- the basic institution of democracy and
- the legislature,
- the House of Parliament,
- learn to speak on decisions about them, and
- actively participate in the resolution of community affairs in the future.
During the day, participants attending the high school in grades 11-12. (around 300 people) will have the opportunity to speak to a member of the national and EU Parliaments, participate in an interactive debate and learn more about the Erasmus+ Youth Pillar.
The debate is about questions prepared by the young people themselves and the debate is based on issues that concern them. The participation of the groups - together with their preparation and creative report - will be assessed by a professional jury.
The event was last organised in December 2022.
A youth programme of the Public Library and Public Education Directorate is the Democracy Game ('Demokráciajáték'). This is a one-day event where students take on the role of MPs allowing them to experience the work of Parliament first hand. As part of the programme, young people can attend a committee meeting, a plenary session and a parliamentary group meeting.
The aim of the programme is to familiarise young people with the work of MPs by imitating the legislative work of Parliament. The long-term goal is to awaken students' interest in public life. The initiative aims to get young people to participate in opinion-forming and discussion on issues that concern them, to develop their communication and argumentation skills, and to work in a team.
Parliamentary Tutorial ('Parlamenti különóra') is also aimed at high school students. The aim of the programme is to familiarise students with the basics of parliamentary democracy to gain an insight into the work of the Parliament and to expand their knowledge of the constitution. Participants can spend a whole day in Parliament, have their own conversation with an MP, attend the plenary session and take part in interactive games.
The 'Like-a-Parliament' ('Mint-a-Parliament') programme is similar to the Democracy game, but the target group is university students. The event is a two-day programme series consisting of a debate and a session. The representatives (students) form fictitious parliamentary groups in a simulation game. They submit draft bills that can later be debated in a parliamentary session. The last session took place in 2022.
Future Debates Forum
The Elisabeth Youth Fund (Erzsébet Ifjúsági Alap) organized a forum first in 2021, entitled Future Debates Forum (Jövő vitái fórum). Young people between the ages of 18 and 25 participated in this four-day event. There were several workshops and presentations in 4 main topics:
- young people's mental health,
- the role of higher education,
- Zero Waste,
- who is their generation.
The organised also the programme in 2022, the main topic was animal protection ('Jövő Vitái 2022').
The promotion of dialogue among young people is mainly supported by individual, non-governmental and local initiatives, but not at national level. We are not aware of any such national initiative at present.
In Hungary, there are no programmes on this topic accessible to a wide range of young people and funded by the Hungarian state. This issue is not one of the main objectives or rhetorical line of the Hungarian government.
There is no data on trainings for politicians and decision-makers on the topic of youth-friendly communication. There are several bachelor's degree programmes for those interested in working in youth work. However, these are open to everyone (who meets the admission requirements), including decision-makers.