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Democracy education

Participatory budgeting in schools

Summary

We have developed a discussion guide to help school principals engage their students in a positive participatory budgeting experience.

Participatory budgeting allows students to democratically decide how to allocate a school budget. Titled Des idées, des projets; mon école, mon vote, the discussion guide is intended for elementary and secondary school administrators interested in participatory budgeting at their institution. It lays out a step-by-step process for gathering ideas and implementing a project developed by and for students. Schools can also order election materials for holding a vote.

In collaboration with the Centre d’écologie urbaine de Montréal, Élections Québec conducted a study of participatory budgeting in schools, which provides a means of increasing youth engagement in democratic life. This guide builds on that work.

Discussion Guide: Des idées, des projets; mon école, mon vote (in French)

How it works

  1. The principal sets aside a portion of the school budget for participatory budgeting. This does not need to be a large amount. The important thing is to initiate the process and make students aware that they have the power to influence what goes on at their school.
  2. Students come up with ideas and identify projects designed to enhance the school environment.
  3. The selected projects are then shared with the administration, which commits to implementing the one that receives the most votes.
  4. Students vote for the project they would like to see implemented.
  5. The entire school can then contribute to implementing a project developed by and for students!

In preparation for the vote, you can order ballot boxes and polling booths, as well as download a ballot paper template (in French).

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