Comment of the week

Albert Einstein

Theoretical physicist

All of science is nothing more than the refinement of everyday thinking.

The think tank Praxis conducted a study commissioned by the Estonian Education and Youth Board to map future scenarios for the youth field in Estonia by 2030. According to the study, the factors that could affect the youth field in the future include a shortage of education and youth workers, as well as regional inequalities.

The study identifies four future scenarios. The "Estonian utopia" scenario is characterised by a high valorisation of education and youth workers, personalised learning and adequate support for all young people in different learning environments.

The key features of the "Uhhuu-ahhaa" scenario are the generally poor availability of quality education and youth services and their provision according to alternative worldviews.

In the "youth-addicted to the hustle and bustle" scenario, education and youth workers are concentrated in centres of attraction where young people have a wide range of choices and development is supported. In rural areas, on the other hand, young people's opportunities for development are more limited and dependent on a few active spark-starters.

"The 'invisible youth' scenario is characterised by a drastic decline in the quality of education and youth services, deep inequalities, exclusion of young people and a generally low sense of security in society, which is conducive to polarisation and violent radicalisation.

"While the current situation suggests the likely scenarios of 'Uhhuu-ahhaa' and 'Invisible Youth', others are not excluded if the right political steps are taken," explains Sandra Haugas, the study's director. "The status of youth workers is sometimes quite low, and the uneven professional qualifications and salaries of youth workers are also a concern. Focusing on all this in policy-making can help to realise the future scenario we want to see," adds Haugas.

Liina Põld, Deputy Vice Chancellor for General Education and Youth Policy at the Ministry of Education and Research, notes that modelling future scenarios is a novel and interesting approach to feed into policy recommendations. "The future cannot be predicted with certainty, but the scenarios developed in the study show that the succession of skilled workers and the creation of self-fulfilment opportunities for all young people, regardless of whether they live in urban or rural areas, are essential for the continued positive development of the youth field."

Silver Pramann, Head of the Youth Department of the Education and Youth Office, adds: "The survey clearly shows that we as a society need to do more to support young people, to inform and empower them to address problems and bring about policy changes. Young people need to be reawakened to the motivation to participate in politics."

The findings of the Praxis study are based on a literature review, interviews and workshops with young people, youth and communication experts and researchers.

The study was commissioned by the Education and Youth Board and co-funded by the European Social Fund and the Ministry of Education and Research.

The study report and executive summary are available on the Education Portal.
The webinar presenting the study is available on the Harno YouTube channel.