The Department of Communication and Education opens up and presents the activities of the Chamber of Deputies to the general public. This is a trend that can be found in almost all European parliaments today.
The Department of Communication and Education has prepared a comprehensive series of printed information materials on the Parliament’s work in Czech, English, French, German and Russian. Other products include short films on the work and functions of the Parliament for different age groups of visitors to the Chamber of Deputies and an interactive electronic presentation of the Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament of the Czech Republic ‘Chamber for Education’. The materials can be viewed or obtained at the Visitors‘ Centre of the Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament of the Czech Republic, which was opened in the Smiřický Palace at Malostranské náměstí, Prague, in 2006. The Visitors‘ Centre also acts as a contact point providing information about the Chamber of Deputies for the visiting public, schools and other visitors. Due to the pandemic and the necessary closure of the Chamber of Deputies Visitors’ Centre, a substantial part of the activities focused on educating the public was transferred online. The issues and problems of Czech parliamentarism were presented at online seminars (webinars) for teachers and students. Thousands of students were introduced to the Chamber through streamed online tours that allowed for the age or field of study of those interested to be taken into consideration. Short videos presenting the history of the Chamber of Deputies offered an expanded opportunity to explore the Chambers interiors.
Materials were continually added to a special section of the Visitors’ Centre website called the ‘Chamber of Education’, providing materials for online learning. A new animated film posted on YouTube had a high viewership at the time of the closure of schools. Thanks to these projects, ties with schools accustomed to visiting the Chamber of Deputies have not been severed, on the contrary, the numbers of followers who are getting familiar with parliamentary issues grew in all age groups.
The Department of Communication and Education:
- operates the Chamber of Deputies Visitors’ Centre
- develops the Chamber’s public communication concept in cooperation with other organisational units of the Office, submits an annual plan for the Chamber’s public communication concept, including a publication plan, to the Consultation Board and the Secretary General of the Chamber,
- carries out publication activity related to the Chamber and the Office; as part of this activity, it issues occasional publications, information and promotional materials related to the Chamber and its bodies, issues professional and study publications and materials related to the Chamber, its bodies or the Office; it carries out these activities in cooperation with the relevant organisational units of the Office,
- prepares documents and carries out tasks related to the convening, negotiations and adopted resolutions of the Consultation Board,
- provides information on the functioning of the Chamber and its bodies (e.g. procedures, legislative process, petitions, etc.),
- prepares and carries out tours of the Chamber for the public and the professional public, and keeps record of the tours,
- provides popular educational activities for the public and professionals (lectures, seminars, trainings, courses, professional excursions, informative videos on parliamentary themes),
- serves as the Chamber’s correspondent at the European Centre for Parliamentary Research and Documentation (ECPRD),
- operates the parliamentary shop at the Chamber of Deputies Visitors‘ Centre.
The staff of the Parliamentary Institute closely cooperate with similar parliamentary departments abroad and also cooperate with professional departments of the Czech Academy of Sciences, participate in domestic and foreign conferences, publish in professional journals in the Czech Republic and abroad and engage in lecturing activities. PI experts have authored or co-authored many professional publications, such as the first Czech commentary on EU primary law or a specialised publication on the Parliament of the Czech Republic.
All of the PI agenda can be performed in the required quality and by the required deadlines only due to the fact that all three departments closely cooperate and are interconnected in terms of personnel.