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Survey about youth participation in Estonia

[ Check the survey about youth participation in Estonia ]

Statistics on young people

Number of all young people from the ages of 10 to 29 who live in the country : 358 616 people

Actors and Structures

Public authorities - National public authorities

Ministry in charge of youth: Ministry of Research and Education

Main tasks of the Youth department:

  • Preparation of the national programmes of youth work,
  • support to activities of youth associations and allocation of annual grants thereto and monitoring of the purposeful use of funds allocated for youth work from the state budget,
  • co-ordination of the organisation of recreational holidays for young people,
  • provision of information for and counselling of young people,
  • preparation of an overview of the results and studies on the topic of youth work.

Youth councils

Eesti Noorteühenduste Liit (Estonian National Youth Council),, is an umbrella organization of 51 youth organisations in Estonia.

Its main aims are:

  • to represent interest of youth organizations in policy processes,
  • to develop cooperation between different youth organizations, 3) to support youth participation in society.

On county level, there are youth councils in 14 counties of the 15. The main rationale for creating county level youth councils was to create opportunities for young people to participate in policy processes which have direct influence on youth. County level youth council is a connecting link between youth, county government and local government. Real effect of the councils on policy processes is unclear.

National Programmes on youth

The Youth Work Strategy 2006-2013 draws together two areas:

  • youth policy – a more extensive area – unified approach to all activities targeted at young people in all areas concerning their life.
  • youth work – a narrower area – one of the activity areas of youth policy that creates possibilities for young people at the age of 7-26 for versatile development of their personality in addition to curriculum education, jobs and family.

The choice of formulating one document concerning youth work instead of the respective two and integrating it into one unitary document proceeds from two reasons:

  • the fundamentals and principles of both youth policy and youth work are based on the same values and will be more comprehensible if bound together; also, commonly both spheres belong to the same administrative structures on the national as well as local levels;
  • the combination of areas based on unitary principles into one broad-spectrum document enables divisibility of narrow strategic development plans of one area and mutual unity of aims to be avoided.

The content, principles and aims of youth policy have not been unambiguously specified as yet. Because of the changes in the position of young people in Estonia, it is important to take the first step towards youth policy that would define horizontal bases to be followed in every aspect concerning young people’s lives. In setting the priorities of youth policy, the basic principle followed was that exact and detailed development needs and measures were to be specified (or could be specified) within a certain area, i.e. developments regarding education in development plans of general education, vocational education, higher education, etc., the needs and trends in employment in development plans of employment, etc. The strategy is a basis for achieving the goals of youth policy and its financing plan, for ensuring the unity, cost effectiveness, purposefulness and effectiveness of youth policy and youth work development plans of the state, local governments and non-profit sector.

Action plans i.e. official strategies

  • Conceptual frameworks of the state policy for the children and youth field for the years 2007 to 2013
  • Collection of methodologic texts for the operation of the centres for free-time activities of children and youth, school clubs and after-school centres
  • State support programmes for the years 2007 to 2010 aimed at supporting non-governmental non-profit organizations working with children and youth, especially in the sphere of regular and long-term free-time activities designated for widest possible range of children and youth and supporting the development, widening of the scope and improving the quality of activities carried out by different organizations of children and youth as well as organizations working with children and youth.
  • Conceptual framework of further education of pedagogic workers in educational facilities for free-time education

Programmes and actions for specific target groups

The Youth Work Strategy 2006-2013 specifies 32 measures for achieving 4 main goals in 10 areas of youth work, given in the YWS. For each of the 32 measures, a yearly action is plan prepared in accordance with the YWS. However, not all measures will be addressed each year.

National program Increasing Quality of Youth Work lasts from 2008-2013. The main aim of the program is to increase competitiveness of young people in labor market as a result of increased quality of youth work. The program has two main strands: 1) development, recognition and promotion of youth work activities and youth workers/councilors, 2) development and implementation of common standards of quality in the youth field and evidence/research based policy evaluation and policy making.

National Youth Work Investment Plan 2007-2015. The plan outlines construction and reconstruction works in three sites of youth work: open youth centers, information and counseling centers and hobby education schools.

National Development Plan for General Educational System 2007-2013 sets long-term development aims of educational system in Estonia.

National Drug Prevention Strategy 2012 has the goal to protect children and youths from starting misuse of psychoactive substances as well as creating drug-free environment in different localities of Estonia.

National Strategy of Higher Education 2006-2015 foresees measures to improve content of higher education. It also includes measures aimed to improve access to higher education for young people with fewer opportunities.

National Traffic Safety Program 2003-2015 identifies children and young people as one of target groups. The strategy contains activities for young people which are aimed at increasing safety in traffic.

(Source: Youth Partnership – Council of Europe, European Commission)