Czech Republic

“Young people in general (main characteristics)
Young people in the Czech Republic are ambitious and peaceful. The phenomenon of globalisation has got positive and negative effects on them. On one hand, they want to travel, meet up new people, build up new relationships abroad as well as they want to be self independent and are very concerned about local, national and global issues. On the other hand, the state system and political situation in the Czech Republic annoy many young people. As a result of this, they resigned on this system and feel lost and misunderstood. Therefore, actions such as this are a very good start to cheer up and motivate young people and get them involved in cross-boarder co-operation.

New generation born after 1989
After the regime change (1989) in the Czech Republic a lot of things have changed. A new generation is growing which is not stigmatised with the communist past. They are young, free individuals in a democratic country. It brings also some new problems.
Young people feel free. They think that democracy means that you can do and say what you want and nobody needs to do anything. They are mostly unaware of any responsibility.

Discrimination, rascism (Roma)
The Czech Republic is quite small and we do not have big differences between regions. We do not have a lot of immigrants or ethnic groups. The only big one is the Roma. Young Roma are discriminated. Many have only basic education and therefore cannot find a job. Unemployment became a real danger for youngsters in the last few years.
Racism is still an issue, especially against the Roma. Young people end up discriminated at school and therefore avoid education. This, as you might expect, results in youths without jobs and with a lot of problems like drug addiction and prostitution.

In the basic and secondary schools things are improving. In the past everything was based on memorising data, however nowadays teaching methods are better, but changes are improving very slowly.

Participation in the youth organizatins
Czech youths are very little engaged. Youth organisations in schools and universities are very weak or do not exist at all.
On the contrary young people like to travel a lot, they learn foreign languages and visit foreign countries as au-pair, students are doing summer jobs (Work and Travel in USA for students), and using European youth programmes (Socrates, Erasmus, European Voluntary Service). Also they are quite smart with new technologies such as mobile phones and Internet.
Drug abuse
Youth begins earlier with consuming drugs and alcohol, which are easy to obtain even for very young people.

Marriage and family life
Marriage is not very popular nowadays. The traditional family is losing its importance. The birth rate is one of the lowest In Europe.
We also have one of the highest divorce rates in Europe (cca 50% of marriages end up with divorce). That means that young people (mostly those, who live only with mother of father) are rather skeptical about marriage and traditional family life.

(Un)equality of youngsters
Young people in the Czech Republic now have more opportunities than they had under the communist regime. Education is free and the majority of young people do use this opportunity. They are free to travel and study abroad and a lot of young people use these chances in order to become more open-minded. But there are still many groups of young people who do not have the same access to education and other resources, mostly because of their backgrounds, economic situation or ethnic origins.

Unemployement of young people
On the other hand young people who manage to finish school also have a problem to find work since unemployment is on the rise in the Czech Republic. Now that the Czech Republic has joined the EU most of the youth have great expectations, and want to make the best of this opportunity. But some of youths are also worried that their situation might get worse for the same reason.

Experiences of the author form Litomerice
I will speak about my experiences in Litomerice region and my organisation. The main target group for us are people from 15 to 26 years old. These youths have a lot of interests and they are very active, but they need direction. Young people do not like authorities. Everything is about motivation. We prefer methods to enchant them for good things. They have a lot of ideas, opinions and news that could be very helpful for everyone, but they must learn to rank information and choose ways which lead to good solutions.

Conclusion 5 years ago
Now we are 15 years after the fall of communism , but young people aged between 18 and 25 years still have lived through it. In spite of these 15 years of democracy, there still exist a lot of barriers in our minds concerning tolerance towards diversity. We have absorbed many things concerning lifestyles and opinions from the West, in both positive and negative ways, but we are still behind in the terms of tolerance in general. Travelling and youth programmes are two of the possibilities to have common experiences and to know different people from different cultures in another way than consumer travelling.
Czech society used to be homogeneous, but it have to chang a lot and quickly, and young people should be prepared for this change. Every year more and more pupils from different nations sit in the classrooms, and children and young people, together with their families, are not prepared for it.

Role of social networks in past 7 years
Social networks (particularly facebook) have rapidly changed the lifestyle (especially the way of communication) of many Czech youngsters in recent years. The change is both positive and negative. Negative impact can be measured in hours and hours spent by computer and number of facebook addicts, who cannot live their true lives without virtual reality anymore.
Positive impact can be seen in activation of young people in the political issues. Recent happenings planned through facebook: protest against ACTA, the biggest protests of university students since 1989 against ministry of education and their planned reforms. Even if we don’t agree with all the happenings‘ objectives, they are important part of democracy and civil society. ” – article updated by Ms. Adela Pribylova