Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Policy and Structures of Youth INFO work in Finland (Thus 14.05.09 pm)

THE MOG BLOG continues...

So, after being hospitably fed at the high school in Ilmajoki, we were of back to Seinajoki to find out about some national policy and projects and wider European work in Finland.

The ministry of Education in Finland is the co-ordinating body for national youth information and counselling services. These services have been strongly influenced by the Finnish Youth Act (2006) which seems very forward thinking in it's approach, also the ERYICA Charter (see the young person friendly version HERE plus the charter itself HERE) and the Finish Governments Child and Youth Policy Programme 2007-2011 (get the PDF HERE).

Altogether there is a lot of national support for youth information which is reflected in the attitudes expressed especially within the youth policy programme. I only briefly thumbed through the document but I would recommend a look to all. I'm definitely coming back to Wales with that document as a great example of how policy can be forward thinking and far reaching; insightful whilst being able to provide concrete challenges. The attitude to new technologies and internet use, once again, aroused my interest and maybe there's a leaf or two in Chapter 6 "Digital Generation" we could use? Comments please!

The next part of the presentation introduced a novel and exciting approach to E democracy via THIS SITE (Finnish only). This site (launched 2008( allows young people to voice their concerns and put forward ideas that they feel are relevant to their local areas. The ideas are posted and then voted on by peers, when the voting reaches a certain level the ideas/concerns are passed on to local decision makers. The service also allows decision makers to take into account the views of young people before making decisions. Although the site is only in Finnish, a cursory look can show the mechanics of operation.

This service is being rolled out across localities all over Finland and for me offers a fantastic engagement and e-democracy tool which we can all benefit from. We even discussed later how this tool may be an open source forum...I've had some ideas around that too!

Suffice to say, I felt this was a great idea although there have been concerns regarding the speed at which the process operates; in that it can take a long time for these concerns to be addressed.

Finally was an update from ERYICA (European Youth Information and Counselling Agency), especially around the Meet the Streets Project which is developing to it's next stage which involves a tour bus!! The project aims to collect the views of young people across Europe on the future of youth policy and how current policy effects them. Using "in your pocket" technology and open source editing and publishing this really is a fantastic information project.

If you're reading this in Wales please go and look at the Meet the Streets link above and if you want to get involved please contact me and we'll provide everything you need: training, equipment etc. The next phase of the project really sounds exciting and it's a great opportunity to get involved!!!

So, I think the state of policy in Finland seems to be extrememly encouraging and we can all take something from that. At a local, national and European level i feel we can all offer something!!! Please get in touch with me if you want to get involved...

1 comment:

Tim Davies said...

Hey Mog

Really enjoying reading your updates from Finland - and have noted down the Digital Generation elements in the Youth Strategy as key ones we should be learning from in UK.

Where should we be looking to capture learning coming out of efforts to put all of the good ideas from the Finnish Youth Strategy into practice?