Youth Jury

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The first Youth Jury in Finland was arranged in Vaasa on the 17th–19th of November 2010. The Jury had three aims. Firstly, the research aim was to analyze the possibilities of the Citizens’ Jury model in the context of Finnish schools and especially in the context of youth participation. Secondly, the Youth Jury performed a pedagogical assignment by including Social and Health Management students in the project work. The third aim was societal. This aim was to provide the young people with the possibility to influence local decision making regarding matters they had defined themselves.

The Jurors were chosen amongst almost 200 students from Vaasa Technical School and Vaasa Upper Secondary School, who applied to represent their school community in miniature. During three days 19 young people (16–20-year-olds) got together to discuss the theme “Involvement in the School Community” lead by trained group facilitators. After the focus group discussions, the theme was specified to the following – how can we create a school community where studying is not just achieving, where everyone is okay the way they are, where everyone cares for each other, where everyone has a face, and where you feel like you are studying for life?

After wide-ranging discussions and hearing the witnesses the Jurors presented a total of 16 suggestions for developing the school community. A final report was written. The purpose of the final report was to present these suggestions and describe the background of the Youth Jury and the process thereof. The wish of the project staff and the jurors themselves is that this Youth Jury does not end up only as an experiment, but that it will be a permanent practice for allowing young people to be involved in decision making, not only in the school community, but also in a wider perspective in our society.