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Brno to expand civic budget for pupils

It teaches kids the basics of financial literacy
  • Πέμπτη 10 Οκτώβριος 2019 09:30:00 EEST
  • Author Aseniya Dimitrova
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Participatory budgeting is regarded by decision-makers and public policy specialists as a highly successful way to involve residents in city life. These schemes have existed for years in France, Poland, and have recently been introduced in Ireland.

Be that as it may, while civic budgets still seem like a myth in some cities , others are already far ahead in their implementation of such initiatives. The Czech city of Brno is one such example: not only does it boast an operational participatory budget, but it has also tested a separate scheme for pupils.

The pilot Participatory Budget for Schools in Brno has been trialed over the past three years in 11 local schools. Ping-pong tables, drinking fountains in the corridors, seat bags, photo frames, tablets and plants are only some of the improvements introduced so far.

Pupils from the participating schools have been addressing their classmates and presenting ideas, which have later been put to a vote online. In view of the successful implementation and the strong engagement of schoolchildren, the Municipality has advised on expanding the scheme to the entire city.

Practicing democracy and presentation skills

“Each participating school will thus receive 35,000 crowns, which will be decided by pupils in the 3rd to 9th grades. I see the value of the whole project not only in the opportunity for pupils to participate in school development, but also in the support of civic engagement from an early age and in the acquired experience that pupils will be able to use in the future”, said Deputy-Mayor of the City of Brno Tomáš Koláčný.

“Thanks to their participation, pupils will learn the basics of democracy in practice, practice financial literacy, communication and presentation skills” he continued.

Participatory budgets are a popular and usually well appreciated opportunity for citizens to get involved in local affairs. They work as follows: a pre-defined amount of municipal revenues is put aside to be spent on citizens’ projects.

Proposals, related to the improvement of public spaces or replying to local societal challenges, are collected by the authorities and subjected to preliminary feasibility evaluation. If they pass the appraisal, the projects are presented to the public for a popular vote. The laureates then receive municipal financing to implement them.

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