Youth participation in Czech Republic

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Is there a national youth council, representing young people in your country? If yes, please provide the name, number of member organisations and number of young members.

YES

The Czech Council of Children and Youth (Česká rada dětí a mládeže, ČRDM in Czech) was established in June 1998 by eight organisations of children and youth. ČRDM is the national youth council in the Czech Republic and a reliable partner of government administration. It is composed of almost 100 non-governmental children and youth organisations with more than 205 000 individual members – the organisations range from very small to the biggest ones, 6 regional youth councils are members of ČRDM as well.

 

Is there a ministry dealing concretely with the youth affairs in your country? If yes, please provide the name of the ministry.

YES

The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports (MEYS, MŠMT in Czech) is responsible for public administration in education, for developing educational, youth and sport policies and international cooperation in these fields.

 

Does the government in your country has a specific youth policy/youth strategy?

YES

 

From what age are young people allowed to vote in the elections? If different age for different elections (parliamentary, local, regional, etc.), please specify.

People in the Czech Republic are allowed to vote in all elections from 18 years of age.

 

From what age are young people allowed to be elected in the elections to the representative bodies? If different age for different elections (parliamentary, local, regional, etc.), please specify.

People need to be at least 18 years old for the all types of local and regional elections. For the elections to the House of Deputies of the Czech Parliament the candidates need to be at least 21 year old and at least 40 years old for the elections to the Senate of the Czech Parliament.

 

Are there any youth participation initiatives at the local level (in municipalities), e.g. local youth parliaments/youth councils, meetings of young people with decision-makers? Please describe.

There are over 100 local Children and Youth Parliaments in the Czech Republic (e.g. Children Parliament of Prague 6 district - it represents 18 schools of Prague 6 district; The Children and Youth Parliament of the city of Mlada Boleslav - it represents primary and secondary schools and organizations working with children and youth in Mladá Boleslav; The Children Parliament of the city of Velke Mezirici and others). There are also Regional Youth Councils which act as coordinating bodies of the organizations and other children and youth groups (e.g. The Prague Parliament of Children and Youth, The Children Parliament of region of Ustecko). These Councils should serve as partners in defending the interests of young people and non-governmental non-profit organizations in negotiations with the regional authorities.

 

Are there youth participation/decision-making bodies at schools, e.g. school parliaments, student councils, etc.? Please describe.

At some schools students have their own school parliaments or student meetings, such as Parliament of ZS Ohradni or School Parliament of Children and Youth at ZS Ostrava – Zabreh. The purpose of these initiatives is usually to enhance the involvement of young people in the decision making process and make the youth participation more visible.

 

Are there are youth parliaments or other youth participation bodies on the national level? Please describe.

The National Parliament of Children and Youth (NPDM, Národní parlament dětí a mládeže in Czech) is an umbrella body for children and youth parliaments in the country. Members of the National Parliament of Children and Youth are elected representatives from the regional and local Parliaments of Children and Youth. The National Parliament of Children and Youth is the superior structure of participation under which representatives of children and youth gather, discuss and negotiate. This project has been implemented from the very beginning by the Duha Association in cooperation with a lot of organizations including the Alliance of Non-Governmental Organizations for Childrens’ Rights, DCI, and the European Association of Institutions for the Leisure-Time of Children and Youth (EAICY).

 

Is there any kind of education to youth participation/active citizenship included in the school curricula in your country, e.g. civic education? Please describe.

In general, at the majority of schools there are no special subjects focused on the youth participation or active citizenship. Perhaps the most suitable school subject for this topic is the civic education where students can get the information about their home country and Europe. Usually in this subject students can discuss the current European, national or local issues with the teacher and with each other. This activity supports their European consciousness and motivate them to think more deeply about the active citizenship.

 

Do media inform about youth issues? Are young people involved in media and their production, e.g. as journalists? Please describe.

The Czech TV often produce talk-shows with youth leaders from different initiatives and organisations and give them a chance to present their activities and social contributions. In some cases young people are invited to the live TV discussions where they can express their personal opinions and discuss the topics with other young people or local politicians.

 

Are there youth information centres, official youth websites or other sources of youth information available for young people? Please describe.

In the Czech Republic there are youth information centres in several cities and one national information center (NICM, http://www.icm.cz). The main purpose of this institutions is to keep the information, resources, consultancy and services for children and young people in one place in compliance with the national youth policy and strategy. Other activities consist of data processing and distributing the results to regions of the Czech Republic, cooperation with other institutions and organisations, having a national coordinator in the international organisation unititng ICM in Europe - ERYICA and preparing presentations, lectures, publications and fairs. Their aims are to gather, sort and store the information and improve the awareness of young people.

All the centres within the Czech Republic form the Czech part of the international informational portal www.infomobil.org.

 

Are young people in your country informed about the European youth policy and its priorities? What do you think can be done to make young people aware about this? Please describe.

Not very big number of students is informed about the European youth policy because it is not part of traditional school curriculum. In my opinion, most of children and young people can get the information about the European youth policy within the frame of their extracurricular activities (such as European Union-based projects etc.).

I believe that additional seminars or lectures for the students and also for the teachers led by competent lecturers could contribute to the general better awareness in the field of European youth policy. I also think that young people should be more involved in the policy making process through special projects, discussion groups etc. And if they can be a part of these processes, their interest could soar.

 

Author: Kamil Zeman
E-mail: kamil.zeman@gmail.com

The surveys were submitted by the participants of the YouthVoice project from the respective EU Member States. The questionnaires were part of their preparation for the Youth Voice project and each national group had to undertake a small research about youth participation in their country. The organisers cannot guarantee correctness of the answers.