10.4 Quality and innovation in youth work
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The National Youth Service is in charge of the quality assurance of professional youth work. According to the revised Youth Law of 2016 (loi du 24 avril 2016 portant modification de la loi modifiée du 4 juillet 2008 sur la jeunesse), quality assurance is guaranteed on a regular basis. Furthermore, the 1998 law (loi du 8 septembre 1998 réglant les relations entre l'État et les organismes œuvrant dans les domaines social, familial et thérapeutique) regulates the structural quality of youth work in open youth centres (e.g. number of employees, size of groups, infrastructure, and security standards). With the introduction of a framework of non-formal education for open youth work in 2017, quality assurance and a systematic monitoring has been established. The quality of results, e.g. indicators of personal development, acquisition of competences or educational success are explicitly not defined by this regulation. It rather aims at improving the quality of the learning environment and stimulating learning. An important element of the framework is that every youth centre has to define a concept of general action ('Concept d'Action Générale'). After the concept is reviewed positively by the National Youth Service and adopted by the ministry of Education, Children and Youth, it is valid for a period of three years. The concept includes four parts:
- A pedagogical part describing the objectives of youth work and basic pedagogical principles at the local and regional level
- Measures of self-evaluation
- A definition of action fields in which projects for pedagogical quality assurance are implemented
- A plan for further training of the educational staff.
With the adoption of the 2017 grand-ducal regulation, youth centres are required to fill out a logbook which contains detailed information on their visitors and the activities provided. The logbook includes information on five fields: (1) Description of members, (2) number of visitors per day, (3) number of participants in activities, (4) information, guidance, assistance, and (5) information on further training of educational staff. The youth centres' quality standards are supervised by regional agents of the National Youth Service. Besides a review of the documents (concept, the logbook and activity reports), the agents conduct interviews with the educational staff (once a year). These interviews address the concept, the specific objectives and the individual priorities of the youth centre. The results of these interviews form the evidence base for deducing strengths of and challenges to the youth centres. Besides this internal evaluation, there is an external evaluation to assess the entire programme.
Furthermore, quality assurance is conducted through professional standards and through specific funding mechanisms. Professional standards for professionals working with young people are defined by the 1999 grand-ducal regulation (see: 10.5 Youth Workers). Funding of youth work is regulated by the 1998 law on quality aspects of youth service structures (loi du 8 septembre 1998 réglant les relations entre l'État et les organismes œuvrant dans les domaines social, familial et thérapeutique) (see: 10.3 Support to Youth work).
Research and evidence supporting Youth Work
The Centre for Childhood and Youth Research at the University of Luxembourg is the main youth research centre in Luxembourg. Research on youth work and the evaluation of youth work are essential parts of the research agenda. Research projects are jointly funded by the state and the University of Luxembourg.
Participative youth work
The National Youth Service organises conferences for youth workers on a regular basis. They aim at supporting and facilitating the exchange between youth work providers and youth workers.
'Smart' youth work: youth work in the digital world
BEE SECURE is a national initiative that specifically addresses media literacy and the safe use of new media by young people in Luxembourg (see: 6.8 Media literacy and safe use of new media). Promoting media literacy and online safety through non-formal and informal learning is organised within the framework of the BEE SECURE initiative. BEE SECURE offers various training opportunities for youth workers and youth leaders on request, according to their specific needs and objectives. The pedagogical guidelines for youth centres (Safe Internet in the youth centres) are one main element. These guidelines include a charter on best practice with regard to online safety and also pedagogical tools for youth workers.