Fifteen Thousand High School Students Selected Projects Worth More Than 14 Million Dinars
December 29, 2020
Students from 27 high schools from Sombor, Sremska Mitrovica, Novi Pazar and Kragujevac selected the projects to be implemented in 2021 in their schools, aiming to improve the overall teaching and learning environment for the students. As many as 15,000 students took part in the program of youth participation in local budget consultations, jointly facilitated by the USAID Government Accountability Initiative and the local self-governments. Through personal engagement, young people learned about the functioning of democratic process of direct decision-making and the ways of influencing the local government, thus making it closer to the citizens and more responsive to their interests and needs. All the selected projects will be financed from the local budgets and overall, the local self-governments allocated more than 14 million dinars to complete the works by the end of the following year.
“In the previous two months, students identified and proposed projects that they believe are vital for improving the teaching and learning environment in schools. They organized the voting process and selected the most important projects and their proposals were quite straightforward – better organization of school campus and student areas, repairing the school property, toilet renovation, construction of a separate school heating station due to limited capacities of the main heating station, installing broadband internet and multimedia classrooms, refurbishing the school library, purchase of curtains, air-conditioning devices, school lockers, interactive boards and whiteboards, computers, projectors, smart TV sets, equipment for practical classes in secondary vocational schools, adaptation of campus and areas for children with disabilities. We are excited that the students will be able to see the results of their own engagement very soon – once their schools get what the students asked and identified as priority”, said Jacquelyn Williams-Bridgers, Chief of Party of the USAID Government Accountability Initiative.
USAID Government Accountability Initiative has prepared the draft Assembly Decision whose adoption would institutionalize this initiative in these local self-governments. This would ensure the sustainability of the idea to introduce the mandatory consultations with and engagement of high school students in the local budget decision-making process. These decisions are expected to be adopted in the following year, which would make these local self-governments the only LSGs with this type of policy in place and could set an example for other cities and municipalities.