1.3 National youth strategy
Existence of a National Youth Strategy
The Resolution on the National Programme for Youth 2013–2022 (Resolucija o Nacionalnem programu za mladino 2013–2022) was adopted by the National Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia on 24 October 2013 for the period 2013–2022. It serves as an overarching strategic public document or action plan that integrates the major directions to be followed in policy making on youth matters at the national level. In essence, it is the thematic guide to youth policies and programmes; it defines the priorities and measures of public interest in the youth sector, and is not a part of any general overarching developmental strategy. The Resolution is a horizontal programming document that combines measures in areas under the jurisdiction of different ministries, with the aims of creating new quality standards and ensuring their consistency and visibility.
Scope and contents
The National Programme for Youth is based on the study Youth 2010 (Mladina 2010) on the position of young people in Slovenia which was carried out in 2010 and published in 2011. It identifies young people as part of the society undergoing extensive changes in the last decade, which affect the quality of their life. This applies both to the social environment such as family, education and employment, as well as the situation of young people in the labour market. The National Programme for Youth attempts to ensure a better situation for young people in education, which would then be reflected in a more favourable situation for young people in the labour market, resulting in better living conditions of the youth, which may also lead to more favourable demographic trends.
The main principles of the National Programme for Youth are:
- To provide better opportunities for young people in education and training, both formal and informal;
- To develop employment policy which will ensure the economic and social security as well as autonomy of young people;
- To ensure the participation of young people and influence on decision-making concerning policies affecting them;
- To ensure equal opportunities between men and women and the prevention of discrimination;
- To prevent risk factors that cause poverty and social exclusion of young people;
- To follow the principles of sustainable development;
- To follow the principle of intergenerational cooperation and ensure greater solidarity among generations;
- To pay special attention to the health and welfare of young people and health inequalities;
- To provide young people with a safe start of their careers.
The National Programme for Youth idefines the scope, objectives and priorities in six key areas: Education, Employment & Entrepreneurship; Housing; Health and Well-being; Youth and Society; Culture and Creativity. Moreover, it contains the demographics and key policies as well as methods for monitoring.
The objectives and priorities of the National Programme for Youth are clustered into the following six domains:
1. Objectives in Education
- To improve competences of youth (establish better system for validation of non-formal and informal learning, prevent drop-outs in vocational and technical schools and on tertiary level, establishing career guidance for youth, strengthen the scholarship policy);
- To foster (study) mobility of young people (strengthen the promotion and incentives for study and practical experiences abroad).
2. Objectives in Employment and Entrepreneurship
- To help youth starting the career (improve active employment policies, improve creativity, better connection of labour market needs and education);
- To improve the quality of employment (to reduce the extension of less favourable forms of employment among youth);
- To enable easier coordination between professional and private/family life.
3. Objectives in Housing and Residential conditions
- To assure the accessibility of apartments for youth (accessibility of loans, regulation of rental, regulation of empty apartments).
4. Objectives in Health and Well-being
- To stimulate and promote the regular physical activity with intention to prevent body overweight (strengthen balanced nutrition and regular physical activities);
- To prevent alcohol and drug abuse (create an environment for responsible use of alcohol).
5. Objectives in the field of Youth and Society
- To promote youth participation (promotion of youth participation, promotion of structured dialogue, strengthening the infrastructure in youth sector and strengthening the information and counselling in youth sector);
- To promote the establishing of new youth organisations (increase funding of youth organisations, support geographically balanced development of youth organisations, create a system for education and training for youth workers/leaders).
6. Objectives in Culture and Creativity
- To enhance the accessibility of cultural activities to young people and increase cultural engagement of youth.
Although, the strategy consists of only 6 fields of objectives, all of the eight areas of action indicated in the EU youth strategy are included in the strategy. Furthermore, the strategy goes even beyond the topics listed in the EU youth strategy as it also addresses the topic of Housing and Residential conditions which is an always important debate in the Slovenia, especially among young people, which were recently shocked by the news that there is a deficit of 10 000 apartments available for rent in Slovenia. Moreover, in 2016 OECD found that 76,4% of young people live at home.
In addition to its conventional consultation procedures (see Chapter 5 of the Youth Wiki), the youth sector has been consulted in the adoption of the programme and has contributed to its final outline (see the analytical record (tab ‘Analitični’) on the adoption and revision of the Act).
Responsible authority for the implementation of the Youth Strategy
The Resolution on the National Programme for Youth 2013–2022 was adopted by the National Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia on the proposal of the Government. The competent ministries are responsible for the implementation of the national programme, but the Office of Republic of Slovenia for Youth (Urad RS za mladino) is responsible for coordinating the implementation of the programme through action plans. Responsible institutions for the implementation of the cross-sectorial national programme are:
- Ministry of Education, Science and Sport,
- Ministry of Culture,
- Ministry of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities
- Ministry of Health,
- Ministry of Finance,
- Ministry of Economic Development and Technology,
- Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food,
- Ministry of the Environment and Spatial Planning,
- Ministry of Defence,
- Ministry of the Interior,
- Ministry of Public Administration,
- Ministry of Infrastructure,
- Ministry of Foreign Affairs and
- Ministry of Justice.
Ministries report to the Office for Youth.
On the basis of this Resolution, the Government on yearly or two-yearly basis adopts implementation plans:
- Government decision No 60300-2/2014/8 from April 17 2014 on the adoption of the Implementation plan for 2014 (Izvedbeni načrt Resolucije o Nacionalnem programu za mladino 2013-2022 za leto 2014);
- Government decision No 60300-3/2015/12 from May 14 2015 on the adoption of the Implementation plan for 2015 (Izvedbeni načrt Resolucije o Nacionalnem programu za mladino 2013-2022 za leto 2015);
- Government decision on the adoption of the Implementation plan for the period 2016/2017 (Izvedbeni načrt Resolucije o Nacionalnem programu za mladino 2013-2022 za leti 2016 in 2017).
- Government decision No 60300-5/2018/4 from June 6 2018 on the adoption of the Implementation plan for the period 2018/2019 (Izvedbeni načrt Resolucije o Nacionalnem programu za mladino 2013-2022 za leti 2018 in 2019).
- Government decision on the adoption of the Implementation plan for the period 2020/2021 (Izvedbeni načrt Resolucije o Nacionalnem programu za mladino 2013-2022 za leti 2020 in 2021).
In each of the action plans specific objectives, actions, terms of implementation, budget allocations and responsible institutions for its implementations are indicated. Relevant ministries report to the Office for Youth because monitoring and evaluation are under its jurisdiction. The interim report is to be submitted to the National Assembly every three years, whereas the final report is to be submitted after the expiry of the validity of the National Programme for Youth. An evaluation (interim or final) of the Programme has yet to be performed. However, in 2017, expert interim evaluation of National Programme for Youth was performed by the expert group. Briefly, it came to the following conclusions:
- The current design and implementation of the programme does not guarantee a youth-oriented approach.
- Roughly, the programme is a collage mainly consisted by universal sectoral measures with its objectives, implementation logic, reporting and evaluation, but not necessarily directed at youth.
- The reporting system permits to report on performed activities that were not necessarily planned, but also do not necessarily coincide with the defined objectives of the programme.
- Measures without valid methodology are also part of the report.
- Due to the sectoral orientation of most of the measures deriving from sectoral public policies, the difficulty of addressing cross-sectoral areas can be observed, for example, youth and society or cross-sectoral concepts such as gender equality, intergenerational solidarity and sustainable development.
- On the other hand, the most stable areas in which most of the measures were implemented, classical vertical areas such as, for example, employment and education.
The evaluation concludes with the question of the future form of the national youth programme as a key issue. The general orientations are two, they believe, (1) a return to a coherent vertical youth policy with clear reporting systems and cross-sectoral coordination; or (2) a comprehensive horizontal youth policy with clear and adequate organisational and financial support.
- Additionally, an expert interim evaluation of the Programme in the period 2017-2019 was performed in 2020 (see Vmesna evalvacija Nacionalnega programa za mladino v letih 2017-2019). Briefly, it came to the following conclusions:
- The Programme is being implemented in line with financial and institutional capacities and the implementation of actions within the identified sub-areas is strengthening. However, the limited financial and human resources are also reflected as a major constraint of the Programme, which has been highlighted by various stakeholders.
- Overall, the Programme has had a significant impact on the perception of young people in public policy-making and implementation processes, and has raised awareness among key stakeholders of their specific needs and interests.
- The Programme is a successful mechanism for implementing vertical youth policies, but on the other hand, when other sectoral policies and related instruments intervene in the measures themselves, the Programme appears to be an instrument with limited reach, as it is at best at cross-purposes, and at worst in conflict with other sectoral public policy mechanisms. The sectoral orientation of most of the actions makes it particularly difficult to address cross-sectoral areas such as intergenerational solidarity and sustainable development. They are more effective in addressing traditional vertical areas such as employment and education.
There have been no revisions of the Resolution on the National Programme for Youth so far.