Direct democracy in schools increases transparency

Published May 15, 2019

Participatory budgeting initiatives lead to greater transparency in schools. Students asked to decide on how to spend their school’s budget know how to get involved in school’s activities better, show the results of the initiative by Transparency International Lithuania implemented together with two Vilnius district schools.

After the participatory budgeting initiative, nearly 8 times more students said they understood very well how their school’s budget works (before the initiative: 1,5%; after: 11,3%). The number of students who knew nothing about the school’s finances decreased more than 2 times.

In addition, 3 times more students said that they know how they can engage in decision-making at their school. The number of students who know how the European Union (EU) contributes to their school‘s budget also increased.

4 out of 5 students liked the participatory budgeting initiative. 7 out of 10 students would like to decide how their school’s budget is spent every year.

“I hope in the next few years every school in Lithuania would have a participatory budgeting initiative of its own. It’s such an easy and effective way to give the youth the taste of what transparency is all about and encourage their creativity”, said Sergejus Muravjovas, CEO of Transparency International Lithuania.

Vilnius district’s Eitminiškės gymnasium’s students decided how their school should spend 1 thousand euros, and the students of Kalveliai “Aušra” gymnasium – how to spend 1,5 thousand euros. Students voted and decided that they would like to have an outdoor study space and sports equipment, respectively.

In both schools, students decided on school funds for the first time.

Participatory budgeting is a way to make decisions together with students or other residents by proposing ideas and voting on how public funds should be spent.

Participatory budgeting in schools took place from February to April 2019. TI Lithuania implemented the initiative together with the European Commission Representation in Lithuania.

More information:

Sergejus Muravjovas, sergejus@transparency.lt, dalyvaujamasisbiudzetas.lt

A short overview of the initiative’s results – here, a short practical guide – here.