25. 10. 2023
Author: Jan Blažek
We view the promotion of critical thinking, civic engagement, and financial literacy among young people as a generational challenge. In practice, these skills are being developed through the current "Improve Your School" project, which is supported not only by JINAG but also by the South Moravian Region, the Participation Department of the City of Brno, and the National Network of Healthy Cities of the Czech republic. This project provides a participatory financial budget for secondary schools in the South Moravian Region.
"School participatory budgeting is a great opportunity to encourage civic engagement and teach children to think critically about their environment. We are engaging the younger generation and transforming them from passive recipients into active citizens. This approach is crucial for innovation in public administration," summarises Dagmar Peřinová, who represents JINAG in the project.
The regional project is currently in its pilot phase, which commenced on 1st October. The specific procedures are being established in collaboration with six secondary schools in South Moravia, including the Secondary Health School in Znojmo, the Secondary Pedagogical School in Boskovice, the Polytechnic Secondary School in Kyjov, the Business Academy in Hodonín, and the Graphic Secondary School in Brno.
You might be wondering how it works in practice.
First, students familiarise themselves with the budget. Based on this, they generate ideas on how to allocate the funds – what they desire and what they need most. Subsequently, they must reach a consensus and select one project. They then present this project at their school, where they compete with other classes. Finally, there will be an online school-wide vote on these proposals.
Lukáš Dubec, Deputy Governor of the South Moravian Region, came up with the idea for this project. "This initiative is another crucial piece of the puzzle in piquing the interest of high school students in public affairs. Drawing from the experience gained during this pilot project with the selected schools, we will establish the guidelines and conditions for the participatory budget, making it available to all regional secondary schools," Dubec added.
How does Karel Jurka, the South Moravian Regional Councillor for Education, perceive the matter? "Implementing participatory budgets in secondary schools is not only about providing students with a platform for their ideas and projects but also about cultivating trust between the school and its students. In this manner, we enhance the educational process and prepare students for active and responsible participation in society."