5.3 Youth representation bodies
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No youth parliament, as a representative body of young people, is regulated and/or organised in Romania.
Asociația Pro Democrația (Pro Democracy Association) organised the “Youth Parliament” (Parlamentul Tineilor) in Romania since 2006 in partnership with the Chamber of Deputies from Romania, the 10th edition was organised in September-October 2018 and the 11th edition in November 2019. The “Youth Parliament” was top-level/nationwide educational project of a week-long mock parliament for young people. It was not a representative body of young people, as participants were not selected by their pears, but by the organisers. The youth parliament was, therefore, aiming at reinforcing youth knowledge and experience of democratic processes, agenda and procedure rules being very similar to the ones of the Romanian Chamber of Deputies. On the other hand, it is not ensuring representation of young people in decision making.
At national level the National Council for Youth (NCFY) was established in 2020, including 50 representatives of youth civil society organisations, as the advisory structure of the Ministry of Youth and Sports with youth associations. The Ministry of Youth and Sports provides the secretariat of the NCFY. The Council is regulated by a Ministry Order. A new regulation of the Council is needed after the reorganisation of the youth policy responsibilities under the Ministry of Family, Youth and Equal Opportunities in January 2022, but it was not adopted until March 2022.
At local and county level, consultative councils have been funded and they are active and functional only in some municipalities or counties, depending on the commitment of the local authorities. More than half of the Counties Councils in Romania regulated the existence and functioning of county level consultative councils by County Council Decision (an official document at county level). Local Councils are also free to regulate consultative councils by their decision and in the last years more and more local youth strategies have been adopted and local councils have been established as formal consultation mechanisms with the youth. County and local youth councils are regulated following the model of the national one. However, these are consultative bodies, not representative bodies.
A law establishing the National Council of Youth from Romania was adopted in 2006 creating a representative structure of youth organisations (NGOs, trade unions, political parties youth branches etc.). However, the law was never implemented. The council was supposed to have both a representation and consultation role, but due to its very complicated and non-functional regulation it was never actually established.
According to the Ministry Order, members of the National Council for Youth (NCFY) are the representatives of:
- NGOs with legal personality and established at national level;
- students’ federations;
- trade unions for youth;
- employers’ organisations for youth;
- county youth foundations and the National Youth Foundation;
- country youth federations;
- The National School Students Council;
- youth centres with the Council of Europe Quality Label;
- UN youth delegates;
- informal youth groups nominating representatives during the selection process.
Role and responsibilities
Both at national and local level, the role of youth consultative councils is to inform the national and local authorities on the opinion of young people on the policy initiatives. A second role of these councils is the communication outreach on youth issues. The main domains of the activity of youth consultative councils are youth-specific topics.
The meetings are the main tools used by the National Council for Youth (NCFY) as regulated by the Ministry Order. Meetings are also the main tools used by the youth consultative councils existing at local or county level.
At national level, the Ministry of Youth and Sports ensured (until 2021) basic funding for meeting organisation (supplies and coffee breaks). Other costs have not been covered by public budgets.
At local level, youth consultative councils are rarely funded. Meetings are held in the premises of local institutions and no other costs are related to these meetings.
Students Unions are organised in Romania on the basis of the general legislation for NGOs, the Government Ordinance no. 26/2000.
They are recognised as student representatives by the Education Law no. 1/2011, but their functioning is regulated by the general legislation on NGOs. Therefore, student organisations or union have the right to choose their organisational status, with the only obligation to nominate a representative and to ensure a treasurer for financial issues.
The student unions active at national level are the following:
- ANOSR - The National Alliance of Student Organisations in Romania
- USR - The Romanian Students’ Union
- UNSR - The Romanian National Students’ Union
Students union are composed of students in a Faculty or in and University. Students’ Federations reunite at national level students unions from faculty or university level.
Role and responsibilities
The role of the student organisations/unions is to represent students in their rapport with the faculty, university and the Ministry of Education and Scientific Research.
Funding of student organisations is ensured generally through grants for projects. Other funding possibilities are available for NGOs, as member contributions, but they are rare in Romania.
The Students Cultural Centres subordinated to the Ministry of Youth and Sports until December 2021 and to the Ministry of Family, Youth and Equal Opportunities since January 2022 ensure a small part of funding for cultural and training projects implemented by student organisations.
The National School Students Council officially represents school students and is defined as a consultative structure of the Ministry of Education. The organisation of the National School Students Council is established by Order of the Minister of Education and Scientific Research (third level legislation). According to this the National School Students Council works in three main organisations:
- The General Assembly
- The Executive Office
- The Ethics Committee
Each school unit should establish the School’s Student Council. Each classroom should have a representative in the School Council and then each School Council should have a representative in the County School Students’ Council. Each County should have a representative in the National School Students Council. Each of these bodies serves as advisory body for the decision makers at the respective level: school, county and national level. Members of the school students’ councils are elected by their peers.
The School’s Student Council does not provide public data on the number of the school student union members at any level, excepting the executive board, of nine members.
Role and responsibilities
The National School Students Council is the official consultative body of the Ministry of Education and the official representative of the school students in their relationship with the central administration.
Local, county and regional school students’ councils function at the respective levels with similar functions.
The main objectives and activities carried out by the School Councils are the following:
- developing a functional educational partnership in the Romanian pre-university system, where students express their interests freely and participate actively in the decision-making process;
- Informing students on their rights and responsibilities
- Organising projects on civic, cultural, educational, sports, recreational themes;
- Organising extra-curricula activities and activities aimed at developing civic attitudes, non-discrimination, fair competition, teamwork;
- Collaboration with other NGOs, Student Clubs, Cultural Centres, Media Editors, for organising projects and information activities, public debates, communication campaigns;
- Producing informative materials on civil society, school and extra-curricula activities;
- Identifying the causes of school dropout, low school performance and organising specific programs to prevent them;
- Organising discussions and forums on combating violence, drug use, school dropout or other social issues in pupils' lives;
- Promoting the opportunities for scholarships, grants and other rewarding opportunities for students;
- Involving students in non-formal education activities related to professional orientation and career planning;
- Attracting specialists into actions that will lead to the promotion of a healthy lifestyle;
- Developing and implementing of education, culture, sports and environment projects;
- Organising artistic cultural activities such as camps, trips, shows, balls, etc.
- Promoting and supporting young talent among students;
- Editing and editing of magazines for students;
- Creating and managing a site and a forum;
- Carrying out actions with charitable purpose
- Building up partnerships with social, administrative, cultural and educational institutions, such as: Police, County Council, Prefecture, City Hall, or other institutions for conducting actions;
- Performing school-based programs in partnership with one of the radio or television stations;
- Carrying out specific activities to strengthen the school-community-family partnership;
- Conducting studies and surveys on respecting the rights and obligations of students in educational institutions;
- Drafting legislative and organisational proposals and amendments to support students' rights.
The National School Students Council is funded by the national budget. However, the amount of the funding is not public, and the financial execution of the budget is not available.
No other youth representation official body has been identified in Romania, neither networks of youth clubs or associations of youth centres.