5.3 Youth representation bodies
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There is no legal framework establishing the youth parliament on a national level. The National Youth Parliament was founded in 2016 as a civic association out of student initiative. It represents the needs of the local youth parliaments on a national level. It allows for the exchange of contacts and experience between parliaments. A member of the local youth parliament can apply for membership by filling in the application supported by the proof of his/her membership in the local youth parliament; or any person who shows a serious interest in membership, if he/she receives a recommendation from a member of the National Youth Parliament. There is no set number of the members, nor is there an age limit for members. Most members are in the high school age. The parliament has been struggling to meet on a regular basis and organise activities, it was, however, involved in the process of amending the law that defines the term “youth parliament” in the legislation.
In 2019, National Parliament approved an amendment of the Act No. 282/2008 on youth work support. It created the legal regulation of the youth parliament and gave municipalities the opportunity to set up a youth parliament. The composition of the youth parliament, the method of establishing the youth parliament and the role of the youth parliament is determined by the municipality. Details are to be set out in the rules of procedure of the parliaments. Representatives of the parliaments are invited to the meetings of the municipal councils where they can discuss proposals and measures of the municipality, which concern youth.
There are several active local youth parliaments in Slovakia that were founded regardless of the amended law as the youth initiatives of motivated students who want to support the youth participation in their municipalities. Their activities are not exclusively related to the political participation; they often organise various cultural, educational or social activities or events.
Youth Council of Slovakia
Youth Council of Slovakia (Rada mládeže Slovenska – RmS) was founded in 1990 as an independent non-profit organisation. The existence of the RmS is not guaranteed by any legislation.
Youth Council of Slovakia brings together national and transregional youth organisations and represents their interests. It serves as an umbrella organisation to its 25 member youth organisations, which operate on the territory of at least three districts, have a minimum of 100 members and three-quarters of their members are supposed to be younger than 30 years. They all together involve more than 60 000 children and young people.
- The supreme body is General Assembly.
- Board of Directors is the executive body of RmS, which manages the RmS´ activities in the period between the sessions of the General Assembly.
- The Board of Directors consists of the Chairman and another four up to six members.
- Members of the Board of Directors are elected for three years, whereas one third of the members of the Board of Directors resign every year.
- Maximally two representatives of each member organisation can be elected in the Board of Directors.
- The age limit of the members of the Board of Directors is not set (given).
- The Board of Directors is summoned/convened according to the need.
- he Board of Directors does not carry out any special activities aimed at higher inclusiveness or accessibility (Articles of Slovak Youth Council/Stanovy RmS).
Role and responsibilities
The activity of the Youth Council of Slovakia aims to represent its member organisations, defend young people's position in the Slovak Republic and increase the quality of youth work. The Youth Council operates especially in the field of education, participation, social inclusion and volunteering.
The Youth Council of Slovakia is unofficially considered as the supreme representation of the youth. Its representatives are invited to diverse committees and expert groups. They can propose various changes and documents, comment on various acts and measures. Their decisions and conclusions are not formally binding or mandatory for the policymakers.
The Youth Council is financed from the public sources. Every year it receives a contribution – institutional support from the programmes of the Ministry of Education, Science, Research and Sport of the Slovak Republic (MESRS). The Board of Directors is responsible for finances to its members, in case of a financial contribution from official grants from the public sources – to the donors.
Association of the Regional Youth Councils
AKRAM – Association of the Regional Youth Councils (Asociácia krajských rád mládeže) is another independent umbrella organisation founded in 1992 as a citizens association. Its aim is to associate and represent youth councils with regional competencies at national and international level in order to support and improve their activities, while creating space for mutual exchange of experience.
The bodies of the association are:
- General Assembly (all members of the association),
- Board of Directors (chairmen of regional youth councils),
- Chairman of the Board,
- Board of Supervisors.
- Youth Council of Žilina Region (Rada mládeže Žilinského kraja)
- Youth Council of Bratislava Region (Rada mládeže Bratislavského kraja)
- Youth Council of Banská Bystrica Region (Rada mládeže Banskobystrického kraja)
- Youth Council of Trenčín Region (Rada mládeže Trenčianskeho kraja)
- Youth Council of Trnava Region (Rada mládeže Trnavského kraja)
- Youth Council of Košice Region (Rada mládeže Košického kraja)
- Youth Council of Nitra Region (NiKRaM – Nitrianska krajská rada mládeže)
- Youth Council of Prešov Region (Rada mládeže Prešovského kraja)
The General Assembly of the Association decides on admission as a member based on a written application for membership in the Association and a written consent to the Articles of Association.
Role and responsibilities
- cooperates with state and regional administration in the preparation of legislation and documents related to youth work,
- defends and represents the interests of children and youth in self-governing regions,
- promotes activities of regional youth councils,
- provides services for regional youth councils, especially in the field of education, information and counselling services, publishing activities, etc.,
- conducts research on youth work,
- creates conditions for the exchange of good practices,
- takes part in national and international projects and campaigns with an impact on children and youth.
AKRAM is financed from the public sources through the programmes of the Ministry of Education, Science, Research and Sport of the Slovak Republic and from its member's contributions. The Board of Directors is responsible for finances to their members and to the Ministry or other donors, in case of a financial contribution within official grants from other public sources.
Student Council for Higher Education of the Slovak Republic (SCHE)
Student Council for Higher Education of the Slovak Republic (Študentská rada vysokých škôl – ŠRVŠ) is established by the Act on Higher Education (Zákon o vysokých školách §107) and is the highest representative body of the university students in the Slovak Republic.
- an independent and autonomous body,
- unites representatives of all universities (public, state and private ones) – 35 universities (2020),
- the supreme body is the General Assembly of the Student Council for Higher Education, which convenes at least four times within the academic year,
- the Board of Directors convenes between the sessions of the General Assembly and the head of the Board of Directors is the Chairman,
- there are commissions (for instance the control commission, the legal commission… etc.),
- the elections to the Student Council for Higher Education are held every two years (Statute of SCHE/ Štatút ŠRVŠ).
The Board of Directors consists of the Chairman, the vice-chairman and six secretaries. Each secretary sets up a constant working group. The elections to the Board of Directors are held every two years. The Board of Directors' sessions are regular. The Board of Directors does not carry out special activities for higher inclusiveness or accessibility.
Role and responsibilities
SCHE represents their members' opinions and attitudes mostly towards the MESRS on various academic matters (poll of the members of the Accreditation Commission for universities, criteria for granting of accreditations, methodological instructions for preparation of accreditation programmes, commenting of strategic documents and legislation in the field of education etc.),
- its opinions are as binding as those of other members of the commissions and working groups,
- fosters reciprocal cooperation of university students in the Slovak Republic,
- international cooperation,
- enhancement of social conditions of university students (higher education students) such as accommodation for students/boarding, inclusion/integration of disadvantaged students etc. (Výročná správa 2015/Annual Report 2015).
Student Council for Higher Education is financed by the appropriate Act from the sources of the MESRS. The Board of Directors is responsible for finances to the aforementioned Ministry and to their members, in case of a financial contribution within official grants from other public sources – to the donors.
Existing organizations representing school students are led by young people themselves, and they strongly depend on young leaders' initiative. They usually have the regional remit, or they bear a form of a youth initiative representing the interests of a particular group of students.
Slovakia's Secondary School Students Union (Stredoškolská študentská únia Slovenska)
- a civic association led by young people,
- an independent organisation of superregional significance,
- a membership is open to any secondary school student over 15 years old who fills in the application for the membership,
- the supreme body of the association, the General Assembly, is convened at least once a year,
- the organisation tackles the theme "inclusiveness"; nevertheless, it does not carry out particular activities for its higher inclusivity or accessibility.
Role and responsibilities
- unites Students School Councils and defends their interests,
- organises activities within non-formal education for members of the Students School Councils (media and marketing, citizenship and activism and other),
- can give proposals and comments on measures of the local and regional self-government, as well as the state and public administration concerning mainly the youth policy, however, the organisation currently does not have the status of the official partner for policymakers.
The organisation is funded only from its member's contributions or public and/or private grants. The Executive Board of the Association is responsible for finances to their members, in case of a financial contribution within official grants from other public sources – to the donors.
National initiative The Alliance of High School Students (Aliancia stredoškolákov) was established in 2015. Most activities were carried out in 2016 – Petition for reflection of needs of secondary school students in Act on State Administration in Education and School Self-government or Petition for depoliticisation of directors of schools. Since 2020 the organisation has been working on networking of functioning student school councils and connecting them to regional student councils, from which delegates to the congress of the Alliance of High School Students will be elected.