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Political literacy among young people – Research by GONG


Croatian graduates exhibit limited political literacy in terms of basic political concepts and knowledge of the constitutional and political structure. Their political information is especially deficient.


Croatian youth expects the Government to focus on reducing unemployment, corruption and crime, driving economic growth, ensuring social justice and human rights, and improving the position of the younger generations and women. Young people are mostly informed about political events via television and the Internet, hence it is logical that they are well acquainted with the problems and expectations of other citizens, which they consequently adopt as personal views. They assess their influence on the authorities as negligible, as well as their own representation in Croatian political landscape. However, despite the lack of trust in Governmental institutions and the widespread feeling of inability to civically contribute, in general majority of youth is satisfied with democracy in Croatia. GONG’s study shows that future generations respond to growing insecurity in their socio-economic environment by isolating themselves, strongly orientating themselves towards the family, as well as restraining themselves from any social and political engagement.


Furthermore, young people are dissatisfied both with the political system and with those in power who, according to them, ignore the needs and opinions of their generation. At the same time, the research (again) shows that they have the highest level of trust in repressive institutions (armed forces and police), and the lowest trust in local and national government and political parties. Similarly, youth is generally dissatisfied with the state of democracy in the country and they do not expect improvement in the next ten years. Most of them believe that the European Union is superior to Croatia in terms of democratic values ​​(with the exception of security), and despite not seeing any positive political and economic effects of our country's European integration, two thirds of young people still think that Croatia should not leave the EU.


The political participation of young people is relatively low, as is their willingness to become more politically active. Their formal political participation is more widespread in some dimensions, for instance in elections turnout, than in the informal one. Most Croatian youth has never participated in any initiatives and activities initiated by the citizens themselves, nor have they volunteered in their local communities. We can conclude that this research suggests that the civic political culture of young people in Croatia is underdeveloped, and that their political socialization is inadequate.

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