Secondary school students from all over Slovakia attended an online seminar aimed at encouraging young people to take part in the 2024 Euro Elections. These students already know when the elections are taking place and students who will be 18 by the election date are interested in taking part in the elections. How did it all work and what did they learn at the seminars ? Read the article.
The European Parliament elections take place in June 2024. Already today, Eurobarometer surveys say that only 26% of Slovaks are interested in taking part in the 2024 EP elections. In Slovakia, turnout in the 2014 elections was only 13.05%, the lowest of all member states. In 2019, Slovakia’s turnout has risen to 22.74%. Despite this, it remained the lowest of all member states. This data is all the more striking because up to 82% of Slovaks are aware that EU activities change their environment and have an impact on their daily lives.
Within the EUelectionplay project, we ran 16 online seminars, 14 of which were for secondary schools and 2 for the general public. We hope that the 270 people who participated in the seminar will also go to the election next year. Some of the schools that took part in the seminars have extensive experience of EU activities and are familiar with the opportunities offered by the EU. Most schools, however, have no experience, which made the students appreciate all the information they learned in the seminar all the more.
The online seminars were held in the following schools across Slovakia and on the following dates: Spojená stredná škola, Detva – 14.6.2023, Stredná športová škola, Košice- 20.6.2023, Obchodná akadémia, Levice – 22.6.2023, Stredná odborná škola obchodu a služieb – Kereskedelmi és Szolgáltatóipari, Komárno – 28.6.2023, Seminár pre verejnosť – 28.8.2023, SOŠOaS Michalovce- 25.9.2023 (2 workshopy), SOŠOaS Michalovce – 27.9.2023, Obchodná akadémia, Michalovce – 2.10.2023, Otvorený seminár pre študentov SŠ – 11.10.2023, SPŠ stavebná v Trnave – 18.10.2023, Soš techniky a služieb Dobšiná – a Spojená škola Centrálna Svidník – 23.10.2023, SOŠ hotelová Horný Smokovec- 8.11.2023, Gymnázium Javorová Spišská Nová Ves- 18.11.2023.
During the seminar, we focused on introducing students to the European Union, explaining how the EU works and its history. We also introduced students to the EU institutions and bodies and what they do, where they get their funding and when Slovakia joined the EU. The students learnt what the EU does for us and how it helps progress and change in Slovakia. We also discussed what it does for young people, students like them.
The workshops provided secondary school pupils with a deeper understanding of the functioning of the European Union. Thanks to the content of the workshop, students know the history of the EU, understand the functions and responsibilities of the individual bodies and know important personalities and representatives of the Slovak Republic in the European Parliament. Students learn about the importance of elections and understand the importance of each individual’s vote. The outcome of the seminars was measured through questionnaires. Questionnaires regarding the basic understanding of the European Union were given to the students both before playing the EulectionVille game and before the online seminar, and then the same questionnaire was given to them after the online seminar. In the survey, we saw an increase in understanding of what the European Union is and how well students understood the EU processes. The questionnaire also looked at young people’s interest in the elections and we saw an increase in interest based on the survey conducted after the seminars. We consider the workshops to be a success not only because of the feedback from teachers and students, but also because in the post-workshop questionnaire we found that more than half of the students are planning to take part in the elections. And the majority of those who are not going to take part in the elections gave the reason that they will not be of legal age at the time of the elections.
Thanks to the seminar, many students learned about opportunities the EU offers that they did not know about before. The students have gained a lot of new knowledge about how the EU works and are now more motivated to take part in the 2024 EP elections. The students were also familiarised with the way the elections are run.
The seminars were interesting and interactive and we thank everyone who attended.
Co-funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or European Education and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA). Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.