Participatory Budgeting For Schools To Be Rolled Out Across Brno

The move follows a successful pilot program in 11 schools in Brno-stred District, now in its third year. Pupils gain valuable experience in financial planning, communication, and giving presentations. Photo: stock photo / Freepik.

Brno, Oct 3 (BD) – Following a successful three-year pilot program in 11 schools in Brno-stred District, Brno City Council is set to roll the scheme out to all other city districts wishing to participate. The project was the brainchild of current Brno-stred Deputy Mayor Martin Landa (Zit Brno), who welcomed the expansion plans: “Participatory budgeting for schools has been successfully running at eleven Brno-stred schools for three years. I can only recommend extension to the whole of Brno, because seeing and listening to presentations from schoolchildren keen to tell classmates about their ideas, the seriousness with which they take the electronic voting, and also the enthusiasm for winning and implementation: this has been a really amazing experience. Our pupils managed all the phases without any problems and shaped their schools for themselves, including ping-pong tables, corridors, plants and photo frames, sofas, as well as tablets, forest park elements and many other ideas.”

According to Second Deputy Mayor of Brno Tomas Kolacny (Piráti), each school will receive CZK 35,000. The school participatory budgeting process lasts around a month. Pupils in the 3rd to 9th grades will be given guidance about what is involved in a successful proposal and how participatory budgeting works, and are encouraged to think for themselves about what could best improve life at their school. Pupils also have to research the cost of their projects themselves, and identify a target audience for their proposals among their classmates. The proposed projects are then assessed and approved by the school management committee, and feasible projects move on to a student poll, for which the proposers are expected to campaign among their classmates, using posters, leaflets, or on social media. An electronic vote then takes place on a certain day, so that the results are known immediately. Projects should be implemented by the school as soon as possible so the children can see the fruits of their efforts and see how hard work can lead to results.

Jaroslav Suchy (KDU-CSL), council member for education, explained more about the benefits to the children involved: “Thanks to their participation, pupils will learn the basics of democracy in action, and practice financial literacy, communication and presentation skills. The school will also benefit, not only from the feedback from its pupils, but also by gaining important insights for its further development and strengthening the sense of responsibility in its students. In the end, the city will also benefit from a new generation for whom participation will be natural.”

Kolacny echoed his enthusiasm: “I am glad that we can build on the successful project of Brno-stred District and offer this program to the primary schools that have not had this possibility yet. The value of the project is not only in the possibility for students to participate in school development, but also in the promotion of civic participation from an early age and experience that pupils gain which will in future be used in the urban participatory budget program Dame Na Vas.”

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