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Online deliberative democracy meetings mean civic participation is no longer a distant future

The purpose of deliberative democracy is to help the public have informed and rational discussions about government policy. In response to the developing pandemic situation, online deliberation is now seen as being more suitable for the times. Through its enhanced online deliberative democracy process, the Ministry of Education’s Youth Development Administration (YDA) hopes future participation in public issues will not be affected or limited by the pandemic or geographical factors.

The ongoing pandemic has changed our way of life. Digital governance, network society, and innovative applications have all come to the fore. However, the lack of relevant research on online deliberation needs to be addressed. Online deliberation is feasible and practical to implement. In that context, the YDA held five deliberative democracy online meetings focused on its 2021 Let’s Talk agenda and the topic of “How to use digital methods (the Smart School Alliance and the Digital Learning Partner program) to improve rural educational resources?” Each two-hour event was attended by 14 to 16 people, including citizens and facilitators. In addition, there were five observers. A total of 88 citizens took part. Using digital meeting tools and instant messaging software, the events not only promoted the public participation movement through online deliberation but contributed valuable research to the field of online deliberation and created a culture of youth civic participation and practical digital democracy. Research results will be published on the YDA website by the end of April for interested members of the public to read.

To further promote online deliberation, the YDA has designed a free online course called Youth Level Up—Deliberation Mission, which uses elements of fantasy-themed video games. Users can build up their knowledge stress-free, anytime, and anywhere. The course materials are available for download on the Civil Service Development Institute’s e-learning website, YDA’s Rock The Future e-learning website and YouTube channel, PanSchool’s website, and other platforms. Apart from the online course, a physical deliberative democracy training program will be held in Taipei on May 1-2. Interested young stakeholders who qualify (18-35 year-olds) should sign up online before April 18 (https://reurl.cc/mqRxpj).