Students’ civic and financial literacy increases when they can propose ideas and decide on how to spend a part of their school’s budget, show the results of participatory budgeting initiatives by Transparency International Lithuania, Transparency International Estonia and Digidem Lab in Sweden implemented together with schools.
After the participatory budgeting initiatives, more students said they understood well how to collaborate with the school administration and get involved in school activities, irrespective of whether the implementation of the activities took place virtually or face-to-face (before the initiative in Lithuania – 42 per cent, after – 54 per cent; before the initiative in Estonia – 31 per cent, after – 36 per cent; before the initiative in Sweden – 55 per cent and after – 66 per cent).
After participatory budgeting, two-thirds more students said they had a good understanding on how their school’s budget works (before the initiative in Lithuania – 45 per cent, after – 65 per cent; before the initiative in Estonia – 27 per cent, after – 44 per cent). The number of students who knew nothing or very little about school finances decreased by around one third in both schools.
7 out of 10 students in all countries liked participatory budgeting initiative, and 6 out of 10 students would like to decide how their school’s budget is spent every year.
“I would very much like every school to have its own participatory budgeting initiative, it is definitely an effective way to practice civic and financial literacy .” – said Sergejus Muravjovas, CEO of Transparency International Lithuania.
Participatory budgeting initiatives were held online in Klaipeda Gedminai progymnasium (Lithuania), offline in Bjurslättsskolan (Gothenburg, Sweden) and in a hybrid way in Rapla Gymnasium (Estonia). Students involved ranged from pre-school to senior year.
In all schools students decided on school funds for the first time.
Participatory budgeting is a way of making decisions together with students or other citizens, where they propose ideas and vote on how public money could be spent. At least 20 schools and at least 15 municipalities in Lithuania have already tried participatory budgeting initiatives.
Participatory budgets in schools took place from October 2020 to May 2021. Transparency International Lithuania together with partners from Transparency International Estonia and Digidem Lab in Sweden measured the impact of this initiative and provided representative results.
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The initiative was implemented together with the Nordic Council of Ministers’ Office in Lithuania.