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Public child and youth development

Public child and youth development: an important, but often overlooked educational player

Representative Forsa survey and qualitative expert interviews commissioned by Deutsche Telekom Stiftung on the educational contributions of public youth development programs

Public child and youth development services play a crucial role in educating many young people in Germany, particularly those who struggle in school. However, these institutions' contributions remain overlooked and underappreciated. That's the conclusion reached in a representative survey of public child and youth development services and schools that Forsa, an opinion polling firm, conducted for Deutsche Telekom Stiftung.

The survey asked 300 representatives of public child and youth development services about their work and activities and how they think the public perceives their contributions. In addition, Forsa explored the formal education sector's view of child and youth development services by conducting six qualitative interviews with school representatives.

"From games to sports, crafts to tinkering all the way to tutoring, child and youth development programs often provide a valuable educational pathway, especially for kids who struggle at school," said Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Schuster, Chairman of the Executive Board of Deutsche Telekom Stiftung. "If you want more equal opportunities, public child and youth development is a good place to start - and a good thing to support financially and conceptually."

Most institutions involved in public child and youth development provide educational services within the strict sense of the word. For example, 73 percent of respondents say they help kids prepare presentations for school; 64 percent offer interview training; 61 percent provide career counseling. However, the core competences of public child and youth development - nurturing personal abilities and social skills - also help many young people succeed in school and society at large. 93 percent of the respondents agreed strongly with the statement that they supported children and teenagers in their personal development, while 90 percent were completely convinced that the children and teenagers enrolled in their programs learned teamwork, communication and conflict resolution skills.

The interviewed school representatives agreed wholeheartedly. They named personal development, confidence building and the acquisition of social, communication and everyday skills as key strengths of public child and youth development services. They stressed that these institutions compensate for deficiencies and thus positively impact how young people learn and behave in school.