The Youth Law defines – the Ministry of Education and Science ensures the development of a single national policy in the youth field and its coordinated implementation, including the cooperation of involved institutions in the implementation of the youth policy. The development and the implementation of the coherent youth policy and the participation of young people in decision-making and in public life is facilitated by the Youth Advisory Council – an advisory body established by the Cabinet of Ministers, comprising delegated representatives of public administration, local governments and youth organisations. However, in everyday practice the youth policy is decentralised in Latvia – each of the involved institutions is co-ordinating the activities of the specific area, but the Ministry of Education and Science defines the overall objectives and actions to be achieved. Line ministries and subordinate institutions define and implement sectoral policies (health – the Ministry of Health, social affairs – the Ministry of Welfare, employment – the State Employment Agency, etc.). The implementation of Latvian, the European Union and other international programmes, projects and initiatives for youth work is provided by the Agency for the International Programmes for Youth (under the authority of the Ministry of Education and Science). The Agency gives young people the opportunity to elaborate projects, disseminates interesting and useful information to young people about their opportunities, facilitates exchanges of experience and provides advice on project writing. The everyday practical work with young people is carried out by local governments, setting up an institutional framework for the youth work at local level – appointing a responsible institution, recruiting youth affairs specialists and other employees, establishing a youth centre and performing other activities. 109 out of 119 municipalities of Latvia have at least one employee for youth work, 87 have at least one youth centre, 51 have elaborated a document for youth policy development, 43 have a youth council, 29 have an advisory committee for youth affairs. Non-governmental organisations are also an essential resource for the youth work. 79 of 119 municipalities of Latvia have at least one association delivering youth work. Information collected by the Ministry of Education and Science shows that the total number of non-governmental organisations involved in youth work is about 200, but not all of them are regularly active.
An analytical review on youth policy 2017. The Ministry of Education and Science. 2017.
Portal on youth and youth policy: www.jaunatneslietas.lv
Section ‘Youth’ on the website of the Ministry of Education and Science: www.izm.gov.lv/lv/jaunatne
Section ‘Latvia’ on the internet platform Youth Wiki: https://eacea.ec.europa.eu/national-policies/en/content/youthwiki/overview-latvia
At the national level, the Commission for Youth and Sport Affairs of the Seimas controls youth policy implementing institutions. The Commission for Youth and Sport Affairs is responsible for the formulation of the national youth policy, promotion of youth rights and exercising parliamentary control of institutions that implement youth policy, listens to the announcements of ministries and other state institutions (Department of Youth Affairs) and evaluates the information.
The coordination and implementation of youth policy in Lithuania is delegated to the Ministry of Social Security and Labour. It supervises the implementation of the Law on Youth Policy Framework as well as implementation of youth policy measures adopted by the European Commission. The Department of Youth Affairs under the Ministry of Social Security and Labour implements the objectives of the state youth policy, supervises the implementation of the Law on Youth Policy Framework. It acts as a state institution that works out and implements the national youth policy programs and measures, analyses the state of youth and youth organizations in Lithuania, coordinates the activities of the state and municipal institutions in the of youth policy, performs other activities relevant to youth, youth organizations, and organizations working with youth. The Department of Youth Affairs implements the objectives of the state youth policy through application of measures to encourage youth to acquire education, get work, and engage in active social life; takes part in solution of youth related problems; develops non-formal education.
The Ministry of Education is the main coordinating authority concerning to implementation of non-formal education policy and other Ministries (the Ministry of Culture, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Economy and the Ministry of Agriculture) have their particular measures related to youth work due to horizontal priority of youth policy and cross-governmental responsibility in its implementation in Lithuania.
At the local level, municipalities are the main institutions responsible for formulation and implementation of youth policy. Councils for youth affairs at the municipal level are established on the principle of parity involving the representatives of municipal institutions and youth organizations by the decision of Municipal Councils. Regional youth councils can delegate representatives of youth organizations to municipal councils for youth affairs. Different committees of Municipal Council, as well as departments, institutions of Municipality Administration (educational institutions, psychological services, institutions of non-formal education (music and art schools, sports centers, youth centers, cultural centers, museums, libraries, etc.) formulate and implement youth policy in municipalities. A coordinator of youth affairs assists the municipal institutions to formulate and implement a municipal youth policy (standard functions are approved by the Order No. A1-68 of the Minister of Social Security and Labour of 4 March 2008). A coordinator of youth affairs serves as a mediator between the politicians of municipality, officers and youth. A coordinator of youth affairs supervises and initiates measures, necessary for performance of youth policy. He or she provides institutions and persons with information on the implementation of youth policy in the municipality, cooperates with the Ministry of Social Security and Labour, the Department of Youth Affairs, and other institutions, youth organisations, non-formal youth groups, as well as takes part in developing cooperation with the municipalities of foreign countries in the field of youth policy.
The Council of Youth Affairs is a collegial advisory institution, functioning under the Department of Youth Affairs on social grounds, constituted on the basis of equal partnership from the representatives, delegated by the state institutions and the Lithuanian Youth Council (LiJOT). The task of the Council of Youth Affairs is to deal with the fundamental youth policy problems and give suggestions to the Department of Youth Affairs on the implementation of youth policy that meets the needs of youth and youth organizations. The decisions of the Council of Youth Affairs for the Department of Youth Affairs are of advisory nature. The Council of Youth Affairs consist of 12 members: 6 representatives of the state institutions and 6 representatives of youth organizations, who are delegated by the Lithuanian Youth Council (LiJOT).
The Lithuanian Youth Council (LiJOT) provides suggestions to governmental institutions which work with youth problems and youth organizations. LiJOT is the biggest non-governmental, non-profit umbrella structure for Lithuanian national youth organizations and regional unions of youth organizations. LiJOT has 62 members (non-governmental youth organizations) and represents more than 200 000 young people in Lithuania. LiJOT is a full member of the European Youth Forum and coordinates EURODESK Lithuania.
The main porpose of the Agency of International Youth Co-operation is to ensure the development of international youth cooperation and successful participation of Lithuanian youth in European Union programs for young people (through financial grants for project implementation).
The importance of youth work during the last 15 years has incresed. The attemps to create a youth work system were made since 2009. Open work with youth started even earlier, but the system of youth policy and youth funding mechanisms as well as opportunities created by them were not flexible – mostly those activities were based on project funding and were oriented towards the active youth. The development of a youth work system in Lithuania is in line with the European Council Resolution on youth work (2010). In 2010 the Concept of Open Youth Centers and Spaces was adopted by the Order of Director of the Department of Youth Affairs (April 7, 2010, No 2V-38-(1.4)). The Department of Youth Affairs worked out the Concept of open youth centers and spaces that defined the objectives, tasks, target groups, principles, contractors and quality requirements. One of the key objectives of the Concept is to establish open youth centers and open spaces as institutional forms of open work with youth that enhance young people with a fewer possibilities to engage in society and labour market. It has been increasingly recognized that youth work in Lithuania needs further professionalisation, as not all the activities can be performed only by volunteers.
The recent amendments of the Law on Youth Policy Framework (Official Gazette, TAR, 2018-06-11, Nr. 9738, will entry into force on 1st of January in 2019) are mostly focused on the improvement of youth work in Lithuania. One of the key objectives of revision is to establish official definitions of youth work and a youth worker as well as definitions of open work with youth, open youth center, open space, non-formal education and quality requirements for youth work by law. Youth work is defined as activities dedicated to creation of conditions for a young person, seeking to involve him or her in personal, professional and societal activities, to develop and foster his or her competences (Article 2, Paragraph 4). Open work with youth is a specific form of youth work that covers “work with youth in open youth centres and/or open spaces and that is guided by specific principles of youth work“ (Article 2, Paragraph 5). Other specific forms of youth work such as work with youth in the street and mobile work with youth as well as non-formal youth education. Work with youth in the street is work with youth in non-institutional environment, but directly in informal places of youth gathering (public spaces, streets, parks, caffees, sport places, clubs and etc) (Article 2, Paragraph 5). Mobile work with youth is work with youth after going to living places, where there is no youth work infrastructure, considering the needs of young people living in that place (Article 2, Paragraph 14). Non-formal youth education refers to activities that aim to develop personal, social and educational competences of young people and are not carried out according to formal education programmes (Article 2, Paragraph 16). In recent years the focus of youth work is moving away from developping infrastructure toward educational aims to support the formation of active citizens and cooperation between different sub-sectors in the youth policy field.
1.Youth policies in Lithuania (2017). European Commission, Youth Wiki national description.
2.Strategic Planning of the Youth Policy and Implementation of Measures in the Field of Social Security and Labour (2016). Executive Summary of the Public Audit Report, National Audit Office of Lithuania.
3.Working with young people: the values of youth work in the European Union (2014). European Commission. Country Report, Lithuania (Author: I. Gečienė)
4.Lithuanian Youth Policy: Legislation, Structures, Good Practices (2013). Vilnius: Department of Youth Affairs under the Ministry of Social Security and Labour of the Republic of Lithuania.
Estonian Youth Work Act defines youth work as the creation of conditions to promote the diverse development of young persons which enable them to be active outside their families, formal education acquired within the adult education system, and work on the basis of their free will.
The organisation of youth work proceeds from the following principles:
- youth work is performed for the benefit of and together with young people by involving them in the decision making process;
- upon creating the conditions for the acquisition of knowledge and skills the needs and interests of young people shall be proceeded from;
- youth work is based on the participation and free will of young people;
- youth work supports the initiative of young people;
- youth work proceeds from the principle of equal treatment, tolerance and partnership
ORGANISATION OF YOUTH WORK
Local authorities (council, rural municipality or city government, and institutions and partners administered by them) are responsible for planning the obligations of youth work and the extent of activities and funds arising therefrom.
Local authorities and the state are partners within the context of the organisation of youth work in Estonia. The state creates a legal and strategic framework and supports local authorities in terms of priority areas and provision of services.
The organisation of youth work of local authorities is regulated under the Youth Work Act and Local Government Organisation Act
Functions of the Ministry of Education and Research:
- prepares the national programmes of youth work;
- supports the activities of youth associations and allocates annual grants thereto;
- exercises state and administrative supervision in the field of youth work within the competence provided in the legislation and monitors the purposeful use of funds allocated for youth work from the state budget;
- performs other functions provided by law.
Rural municipality and city councils shall:
- determine the priorities of youth work in their administrative territories and set out the tasks necessary for the achievement thereof in the rural municipality or city development plans;
- approve the support principles of youth associations, youth programmes and youth projects from the rural municipality or city budget, the procedure and conditions for applying for and payment of support, providing the terms and conditions of cost-sharing for the grant of support if necessary as well as the application forms of support and the procedure for reporting the use of support;
- support the youth programmes and youth projects of youth associations operating in the administrative territory of the given rural municipality or city in case of existing budget funds;
- consult with the youth council, in case it exists, upon planning, implementation and assessment of youth work;
- perform other functions connected with the organisation of youth work in their administrative territories.