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A specific budget is regularly allocated for youth policy implementation at the central level. The Division of secondary education and lifelong learning operates within the structure of the MESRS bearing responsibility not only for coordination of the youth policy implementation, but also for related budgetary issues. Thus the division covers the costs occurred when developing European and international cooperation in the field of youth, as well as the costs connected to elaboration of various analyses and studies. The State, through budgetary provisions of the MESRS, provides yearly financial contributions to IUVENTA – Slovak Youth Institute in order to undertake activities helping in youth policy implementation.
In 2013, the MESRS adopted the Programmes for Youth for years 2014 – 2020 providing financial support to the bodies developing activities and projects in the field of youth work and youth policy implementation. Calls for projects are being published regularly within the Programmes, specified further within the following sub-programmes:
- SUPPORT of Youth Organisations (funding regular activities of the youth NGOs and their systematic work with youth);
- PRIORITIES of youth policy (funding projects submitted according to the actual themes, such as e.g. the structured dialogue; the Slovak Presidency of the Council of the EU theme: talent and potential of young people; support of the EU basic values in the context of actual societal challenges; building of the quality systems in youth work and production of evidence on the youth work impacts);
- VOICE of youth (funding projects of bodies ensuring representation of the young peoples´ needs at the national and regional levels);
- SERVICES for youth (funding projects of bodies developing youth information and counselling services and services in the field of youth volunteering);
- COMMUNITIES for youth (was launched in 2016 - first projects focused most on aggregation of local and regional data on youth and youth policy were granted);
- EVIDENCE on youth (was launched in 2017).
The grant scheme was prolonged until the end of 2021. The calls for projects proposals are being published regularly on the official web sites of the MESRS and IUVENTA – acting as the Agency for the MESRS ensuring all the administrative issues connected to assessing, monitoring and evaluating of the submitted projects. Contracting and granting is ensured by the Division of secondary education and lifelong learning. MESRS. The grants are provided on a yearly basis (financial year equals to calendar year).
The total number of children aged 5 – 15 living in a particular municipality, as well as the total number of young people aged 15 – 18 living in a particular Slovak region are being considered during calculation of the income tax shares for every and each municipality and county in Slovakia, providing also financial sources for their interest-based (out-of-school) education. Thus the youth policy implementation has been reflected in the budgets of authorities at local and regional level. Still, they are autonomous when taking decision on the use of allocated funds. The research “Survey on the Youth Policy at Regional and Local level 2015” has confirmed that not all the allocated funds have been used by the municipalities for the sake of youth policies implementation. Some of them provide funding to Youth Centres, the others have adopted grant schemes devoted to youth only and some have only supported youth activities within existing granting schemes. Only few municipalities provide funding consisting of combination of the above listed alternatives.
The financial sources of the Programmes for Youth for 2014 – 2021 provide funding to various stakeholders, but mainly to the youth NGOs. The eligibility criteria, as well as the quality indicators have been identified by MESRS in a very active communication and cooperation with the representatives of the youth NGOs and other stakeholders. External experts are invited to provide written assessments on submitted projects and grant requests. Their views are being considered by the members of the selection committee, which produces final proposal for funding to the Minister of Education, Science, Youth and Sport of the Slovak Republic. Funding within the Programme for Youth for 2014 – 2021 is available on the basis of the Act on Youth Work Support provisions.
During the assessment of a project and grant application submitted within the sub-programme “SUPPORT of youth organisations”, the experts check all the eligibility criteria and whether and to what extent the quality indicators have been met by an applicant. The successful applicants are granted various financial amounts according to the “points” they were awarded during the assessment in three categories – basic standard criteria, higher standard quality indicators and implementation of the Youth Strategy 2014 – 2020.
The projects and grant applications submitted within other sub-programmes are being also assessed by the external experts in line with the methodology packs containing information on criteria valid for each sub-programme. The experts have been trained on a regular basis in order to deliver high quality outputs.
All the beneficiaries are subject to audit by the Internal Audit Unit of the MESRS, according to provisions of the Act on Control in State Administration. Two or three beneficiaries use to be randomly selected to present their accounts for checking. In case of identification of any discrepancies the beneficiary is obliged to pay back the entire misused finances to the MESRS or to the Ministry of Finance of the Slovak Republic, in accordance with the valid financial regulations.
The European Social Fund was used in the programming period 2007 – 2013 to support national projects in the field of youth policy and youth work within the Operational Programme Education.
Project KomPrax – Competencies for Practice was aimed at young leaders, youth leaders and youth workers, according to provision of § 2 of the Act on Youth Work Support in order to acquaint them with competencies (such as communication and presentation skills, team work, project management, etc.) useful for their full participation in social and economic life. More than 12 thousands participants took part in the project educational activities directly, but the project has affected more than 24 thousand people via small community-based projects (granted by an amount up to 200 EUR) implemented by the project participants. Research activities were implemented throughout projects´ realisation in the period 2011 – 2015 in order to gather information on young people with fewer opportunities. The project also provided space for many activities aiming at the recognition and validation of non-formal learning in youth work, such as “Declaration on Recognition of Contribution of Non-formal Education in Youth Work” (Pešek, Dudáč and Tomanová, 2012) currently supported by more than 100 various stakeholders, regional round tables and national conference, as well as national competition for creative young people on the topic of recognition.
Project Praktik – Practical Skills through Non-formal Education in Youth Work was aimed at innovation in youth work. The projects objectives were to enhance the quality of interest-based activities in youth work and thus ensure the development of practical skills; to create the space for youth leaders to participate actively in the preparation of activities and to guarantee the know-how transfer from youth workers to youth leaders. Seven topic centres were established within the project implemented from 2013 till 2015 in seven Slovak counties, elaborating on the following topics:
- healthy life-style promotion;
- practical use of ICT promotion;
- development of practical skills while working with small tangible materials;
- search and support of talented young people;
- support and development of experience-based activities in environmental education;
- support and development of education towards citizenship and multiculturalism;
- support and development of global education.
About 250 youth workers and 250 youth leaders took part in project educational activities and consequently prepared educational activities for more than 2400 children and young people. New methodologies for interest-based education in youth work were elaborated in the form of videos and distributed to youth workers.
Project KomPrax: more than 6 million EUR
Project Praktik: around 4 million EUR
There are no evaluations of the youth-realted initiatives/activities/programmes funded through EU schemes.
There is no information on planned measures in the field of youth policy to be supported through EU funds available.
Other than KomPrax and Praktik, here are some other projects conserning youth implemented by the MESRS organizations and funded by The European Social Fund:
1. The Methodology and Pedagogy Centre (MPC): PRINED – Inclusive Education Project
2. The State Institute of professional education - the National Qualifications Framework project.