5.8 Raising political awareness among young people
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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 knowlegde) in grades 5 and 12.
The New Generation Reloaded Project (Új Nemzedék Újratöltve) which was the project of the New Generation Centre, is financed through an European Union grant (EFOP-1.2.3-VEKOP-15-2015-00001). Now this project belongs to the Elizabeth Youth Fund [(Erzsébet Ifjúsági Alap) legal successor of the New Generation Centre].
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 (Országos Diákparlament)
At the beginning of 2020, the 10th National Student Parliament (hereinafter referred to as ODP) met in Székesfehérvár for 3 days ('Diákparlamentek'). The county student parliaments delegated about 220 students. The State Secretary Responsible for Public Education also attended the meeting. The students worked in different sections. At the closing plenary session participants made 45 recommendations to the education government (e.g. organising a school student rights theme day).
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 (Nemzeti Választási Iroda) gives these gifts.
For example, in 2019, citizens, who voted for the first time ('Szilikonkarkötőt kapnak az első választók'), received a silicone bracelet from the National Election Office. 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 15 and 26 can participate in this programme. The programme aims to provide the young generation the opportunity to represent and enforce their interests in international decision-making. Young people who selected for the programme may represent their own country in the most important forums and consultations of the UN as members of the formal delegations, as a youth diplomat.
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 5th Youth Delegate is in office from January 2020. The next delegate's selection is in progress.(For more information about the UN youth delegates, see sub-chapter 9.3 Exchanges between young people and policy-makers on global issues.)
'Step up!' programme ('Lépj fel!' program)
The 'Step up!' programme ('Lépj fel!') is the programme series of the National Youth Council. They visited all of the counties of Hungary during a year. The aim was to bring young people and decision-makers together. They mostly discuss issues which are relevant on the local level with the delegates of NIT, NGOs, and other stakeholders. (For more details see sub-chapter 5.4 Young people's participation in policy-making)
Parliamentary Youth Day
The 'You have a say!' Parliamentary Youth Day ('Van beleszólásod! Parlamenti Ifjúsági Nap 2021') 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 high school in grades 11-12. (around 300 people) will have the opportunity to speak to a Member of the National and EU Parliaments and take part in an interactive debate and learn about the Erasmus+ Youth Pillar.
The debate is about the questions prepared by the young people themselves and the debate is based on issues that concern them. The groups' participation - along with their preparation and creative report - will be assessed by a professional jury.
The event was last organised in November 2021.
A youth programme of the Public Library and Public Education Directorate is the Democracy Game ('Demokráciajáték'). This is a one-day event where students can take on the role of MPs and thus get a close-up look at the work of the Parliament. As part of the programme, young people can attend a committee meeting, a plenary session, and a fractional session.
The aim of the programme is to familiarise young people with the work of Members of Parliament 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 and to gain 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 a Member of Parliament, attend the plenary session and take part in interactive games.
'Like-a-Parliament' ('Mint-a- Parlament')
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) create fictitious parliamentary groups in a simulation game. They submit bills that can later be debated in a parliamentary session. The last session took place at the end of November 2019.
Future Debates Forum
The Elisabeth Youth Fund (Erzsébet Ifjúsági Alap) organized a forum in 2021, entitled Future Debates Forum (Jövő vitái fórum). Young people between 18-25 ages participated in this four-day-event. There were several workshops, presentations in 4 main topics:
- young people's mental health,
- the role of higher education,
- Zero Waste,
- who is their generation.
The promotion of dialogue among young people is mainly supported by individual, non-governmental and local initiatives, but not at the national level. We are not aware of any such national initiative at present.
In Hungary, there are no programmes on this topic that are 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 youth-friendly communication. There are several bachelor's degree programmes for those interested in becoming youth workers; however, these are open to anyone (who meets the admission requirements), including decision-makers.