Youth policies: Lithuania vs. Portugal

Youth policy is a targeted activity that addresses youth problems and aims to create favorable conditions for shaping the personality of a young person and integrating it into society. Every democracy certainly has to have a system which represents young people and is responsible for their education and well-being inside the country. Even such a small country like Lithuania, where I am from, has it. A lot of institutions are working on that, such as Department of youth affairs or youth affairs council. They work towards to assure that young people in Lithuania have opportunities to study, work and live happily ever after. Although, youth empowerment and informal education are taken care by young people themselves, through NGO’s. Lithuania‘s youth policies structure looks like that:

Parliament of Lithuanian Republic

Since Lithuania is in the European Union, same as Portugal, these two countries have very similar youth policies structures. Although there are some differences, that can have a huge impact on the effectiveness of those policies, such as:

1. Portugal has set more goals for implementation of youth policies throughout the years, and they are more likely to involve youth mobility, fighting against inequality and social inclusion. Although in most cases, other goals are similar, Lithuania focuses more on fighting addictions, sports and promoting national service (military obligation).

2. Portugal officially involves more non-formal education in schools and universities – it was one of the year 2013 goals of IPDJ (Portuguese Institute for Sport and Youth), whereas, in Lithuania, non-formal education in public schools is still stigmatized.

3. Lithuanian youth is more likely to participate in policies making, through various workshops, held in ministeries themselves and political organizations. Also, Lithuania has more politically and ideologically active organizations, such as Lithuanian Liberal Youth, Young Conservatives League, and Lithuanian Social Democratic Youth Union.

4. Portugal has more international partners, such as Youth Hosteling International.

5. It can be told that the start of youth policies in Portugal started in 1974, whereas in Lithuania, the first reglamentation of youth policies guidelines was accepted in 1996.

All in all, youth policies in Lithuania may be less effective and visible than in Portugal. Mostly, reasons for that are Lithuanian historical background, insensible government, social segregation, and ignorance. It‘s important to keep in mind that Lithuania has a young democracy and, for now, all the youth organizations are slowly but surely working towards effective youth policies implementation. Portugal is one of the countries, that Lithuania has to take an example from.