1.6 Evidence-based youth policy
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Political commitment to evidence-based youth policy
The evidence-based approach is a basic principle of national youth policy in Luxembourg (2008 Youth law, Art. 2,3). Article 2,3 says that youth policy is based on knowledge of the situation of young people. At national level, the national youth report is the most important document. It provides a systematic and comprehensive analysis of the situation of young people and serves as an evidence basis for policy-makers (see: National youth report).
Furthermore, the Digital Documentation and Research Centre-Youth (DDRC), a national knowledge base for youth issues, jointly funded by the Ministry of Education, Children and Youth and the University of Luxembourg, provides knowledge and information on the situation of young people and thus plays an active role for evidence-based policy-making in Luxembourg.
A National Observatory for Children, Youth and School Quality (Observatoire national de l'enfance, de la jeunesse et de la qualité scolaire) was created by the adoption of a new law in March 2022. This law includes some amendments of the 2008 youth law and the 2018 law on the creation of the national school quality observatory. The objectives of the observatory are a consolidated global approach, a response to the increased need of the government for information, greater effectiveness through enhanced collaboration between the fields of children, youth and school quality, and increased efficiency by sharing resources.
The objectives of the new observatory are, according to the law, as follows:
- analysing the situation of children and young people in Luxembourg, based on a global approach, centred on the child or young person and based on the rights of the child
- evaluating the systems, primarily in the socio-educational field or in other fields of childhood and youth
- evaluating the quality of education provided in the education system in order to promote the development of school quality in Luxembourg.
The observatory will include two sections: (1) childhood and youth and (2) school quality. The tasks of the section childhood and youth are as follows:
- drafting an annual activity report and at least one thematic report with findings and recommendations
- drafting a report every five years on the development of the situation of children and young people and on related systems. This report includes:
- a description, analysis and evaluation of the situation of children and young people in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg in order to identify the needs of the relevant target groups
- a description, analysis and evaluation of the systems relating to children and young people to highlight the responses to these needs
- elements of prospection with regard to the future planning of policies relating to children and young people.
At local level, the Municipal Youth Plan calls for an analysis of the situation of young people. It provides an inventory of the situation of young people and thereby delivers important evidence for the planning of local youth policy. Until 2022, a total of 14 Luxembourgish municipalities realised a Municipal Youth Plan.
Cooperation between policy-making and research
The Centre for Childhood and Youth Research (CYY) at the University of Luxembourg is the main youth research centre in Luxembourg. A range of theoretical perspectives and multi-methodological designs serve to research the links between policies, education and welfare systems, and social and personal resources for citizenship, identity, health, migration, participation, school-to-work transitions, and well-being. A substantial share of the research projects is jointly funded by the state and the University of Luxembourg. A cooperation agreement between the ministry in charge of youth policy (the Ministry of Education, Children and Youth) and the University of Luxembourg, signed in 2007, serves as the contractual basis for the institutionalised and recurring cooperation between youth policy and youth research.
The institutional construction mirrors the policy approach of 'evidence-based policy-making'. The cooperation agreement stipulates a steering committee based on equal representation by both the state and the University of Luxembourg. The steering committee adopts the research centre's work plan and budget.
The following organisations, although not primarily concerned with youth research, have contributed findings on youth issues in some of their related research projects:
- The Institute for Social Research and Interventions (ISI) at the University of Luxembourg aims to provide academics, practitioners, and policymakers with analyses of societal, socio-educational, and psychosocial issues in and beyond Luxembourg, facilitating the critical adaption of theoretical perspectives, social work, and social politics to rapidly changing societies.
- The Institute of Education and Society at the University of Luxembourg focuses mainly on educational research. It employs a multidisciplinary perspective on education including theory, philosophy and history of education, sociology, (political) economy, cultural studies, and religious studies. The research emphasis is on educational processes and educational systems in cultural, political, and economic contexts from cross-national and/or comparative perspectives, with particular emphasis on historical and spatial comparisons
- Services of the Ministry of Education, Children and Youth: the service for statistics and analysis (Statistiques et analyses), the Psychological and Scholastic Assistance Centre (Centre psycho-social et d'accompagnement scolaires (CePAS)) and the coordinating service for educational and technological research and innovation (Service de Coordination de la Recherche et de l'Innovation pédagogiques et technologiques (SCRIPT)) all carry out research in the field of education
- The Luxembourg Institute of Health is a public biomedical research organisation. Its Department of Population Health conducts research on epidemiology and public health across a wide range of areas including cardio-metabolic conditions, sports medicine, human biomonitoring, health economics and clinical investigations
- The Luxembourg Institute of Socio-Economic Research (LISER) is a Luxembourgish public research institute under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Higher Education and Research (ministère de l'Enseignement supérieur de la Recherche). Its research focus lies in the field of social and economic policy including the spatial dimension. This comprises topics like poverty, inequality, education, social inclusion, employment, unemployment, health, housing, mobility and regional convergence.
National statistics and available data sources
National youth statistics
The National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg (STATEC; Institut national de la statistique et des études économiques du Grand-Duché de Luxembourg) placed under the authority of the Ministry of the Economy (ministère de l'Économie), collects and publishes demographic data covering the overall population, but also the youth age group, on a regular basis.
The most important statistical data related to the situation of young people are covered by two categories with different subtopics:
- Population and employment (population structure, population movement, labour market)
- social conditions (social life, social insecurity, health, accidents, crime and justice, education and training, politics, leisure and culture, worship).
The National employment agency (ADEM; Agence pour le développement de l'emploi) publishes statistics on job-seekers on a monthly basis (Key figures; Chiffres clés). It includes the age groups under the age of 30, and thus displays the number of young unemployed. More detailed statistics on young unemployed aged 16 to 24 and 25 to 29 can be downloaded from the data set on key figures of the ADEM (Chiffres clés de l'ADEM) on the Luxembourgish open data platform.
Specific youth indicators
Youth indicators for Luxembourg have been established together with the European Expert Group on EU Youth Indicators (Dashboard of EU Youth Indicators).
According to the 2008 Youth Law (Art. 15, 1), the minister in charge of youth policy has to present a national report on the situation of young people to the parliament every five years.
The first national youth report was published in 2010. It is a general report providing a comprehensive description of the current life situation, day-to-day contexts and problems of young people aged between 12 and 29 years living in Luxembourg. The report deals with six issues: education, the transition to the working world, migration and integration, poverty, health and well-being, and participation. An abridged version in English was published in 2011.
The second youth report was published in 2015. Unlike the first general report, this report focuses on a specific topic, the transition from youth into adulthood:
- It describes the different ways in which young people transition into adulthood
- It documents the support services in Luxembourg that are specifically aimed at young people
- It analyses the experiences and evaluations of these services from the perspective of young people.
A summary in English was also published in 2015.
The third youth report "National Report on the Situation of Youth in Luxembourg 2020. Well-Being and Health of Young People in Luxembourg" includes a comprehensive set of qualitative and quantitative data on health and well-being of young people in Luxembourg. It also takes up current findings in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to a differentiated descriptive analysis, the report identifies factors that explain systematic distributions and differences in the health and well-being of young people (personal characteristics, family, school, peer group, places of leisure, welfare state conditions and programmes). The report and further material are available on the website www.jugendbericht.lu.
Other data and analysis
The national report on education is another scientific report that deals with a particularly important issue for young people. Just like the youth report, this report has also a legal basis. According to the law, a report on the quality of the educational system has to be prepared every five years. The 2021 national report on education deals with three specific topics: digital education, education for sustainable development and inequalities.
The Digital Documentation and Research Centre - Youth (DDRC) is a national knowledge base for youth issues. It is a prototype for research documentation at the University of Luxembourg. On its website, the DDRC provides information on processes and results of the research projects of the Youth Research Group as well as up-to-date access to presentations and public relations documents. Additionally, the DDRC operates a growing database of grey literature related to Youth Research, Youth Politics and Youth Work in Luxembourg.
Budgetary allocations supporting research in the youth field
In 2023, the total budgetary allocation for cooperation agreements with research institutes in the field of youth is € 530 000 (vs € 580 000 in 2019). The largest proportion of this budget is used for research conducted under the cooperation agreement between the ministry and the University of Luxembourg, which serves as the contractual basis for an institutionalised and regular cooperation between youth policy and youth research. The annual budget is not a fixed entity; it must be renegotiated every year.
In the field of youth research, the University of Luxembourg is the main beneficiary of the available funding in Luxembourg. Other policy-relevant youth research is funded by the University of Luxembourg, other public clients (e.g. municipalities), the Luxembourg National Research Fund (FNR; Fonds national de la recherche) or other European funding agencies.