Why do we need youth research?
If the policy towards children and youth is to be effective, its creation has to be founded on clear, concrete, trustworthy and precise information about youth, its life, expectations and needs.
People working with youth or making decisions about their circumstances and life need to have some prognosis and possibilities of further development of this demographic group at their disposal.
The youth research in priority areas of the Slovak Youth Institute’s concern (participation, volunteering, non-formal education) has never been adequately processed. In Slovakia this area of concern is dealt with by just a very small group of researchers and experts. The situation became particularly clear after the White Book about Youth in European Union came into force. It considers better knowledge and understanding of youth (research, in other words) as one of the main priorities.
In 2004 Slovakia prepared its first report about keeping the so called common objectives in the area of better knowledge and understanding of youth, which showed that the research in the youth field is very little developed, scattered in various sources and little attainable and most of all little comprehensible for people practicing in this area, who are often unable to base their decisions on information that does not exist!
Since 2004 there have been some initiatives and projects that have improved the situation a little bit (but in no way was this improvement revolutionary).
- The data archive about youth was created. It purports to gather all the professional and quality researches from various sources into one place.
- Organization of seminars and networking of various subjects active in the youth research have helped to direct the attention of the researchers to the “blank fields” in the area of youth work, policy and the life of young people in the priority themes.
- In 2007 the first meeting of the researchers – MPs – youth organizations network took place. This meeting had an ambition to create a platform for communication and planning of research activities according to the real needs of the practice.
- In 2007, 7 researches were organized as a reaction to a special appeal to cooperate.
- The prepared Conception of the State Policy towards Children and Youth 2008 – 2013 defines the preparation of the so called National Report about Youth in 2010, which will have to be discussed in the Parliament and which also wants to start a tradition of such regular reports about life and circumstances of youth at the highest level.
- Thanks to the Council of Europe and European Commission cooperation the European Portal of Knowledge about Youth came into existence and particular member states of the Council of Europe supply information about the key areas of the youth policy. This “duty” contributed to the fact that some information have been collected, sifted and published.