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Reasons Why Culture is ignored in five-year Development Plans

 

 

Hassan Bonyanian

The head of Academy of Arts of Islamic Development Organization

  Addressing the honorable Government Mission, the Supreme Leader warned that culture is ignored and this warning provided opportunity for those who always complained about not paying enough attention to the culture to analyze this issue from different dimensions. For those who follow contiguous processes of planning, budgeting and allocating the society's resources to different social needs, it is clear that although lack of budget allocated to the different parts of culture by governments is one of the reasons for why culture is ignored, the previous phase for allocating the budget and resources is the five-year development process.

  So now the honorable government started to compile the five-year plan, it is a suitable opportunity to analyze the fact that culture is ignored according to the five-year development plans. we hope the issues under negotiation provide opportunity for authorities to present their views in this field and cause to complete and deepen the wise outlook towards this sensitive dimension of development plans.

  Before discussing about the issues why culture is ignored in the five-year development plans, we should cite reasons for the fact that why we say culture is ignored. this question should be answered in order to understand this fact that culture is ignored: after the victory of islamic revolution, have managers' attention, human resources, organizational resources, financial resources and facilities been in accordance with cultural aims of islamic republic system and real cultural needs of people? more specific questions should be posed in order to answer this general question.

1. In the current situation, how many of country talents pay attention to engineering, medical, financial, social, judicial and cultural parts? 

2. In the current situation, how many research centers have been established in different industrial, medical, agricultural and cultural parts? and how different is the efficiency of these centers?

3. In the current situation, how different are executive organizations in technical, medical, financial and cultural parts according to their efficiency?

4. What are the differences between markets related to industrial, agricultural, medical, judicial services, goods, production, distribution, consumption and markets related to cultural services and goods?

5. And finally, if the indices related to per capita production, literacy level, physical health, industrial import and export, public welfare level and totally if the indices related to financial and welfare changes of society are to increase, are the indices related to deepen the religious beliefs, improve human behavior and moral and totally what defines as humanity eminence in society to increase too?

  It is obvious that by reviewing the answers of these questions and feeling the present condition over the public culture, even the people who do not have any direct relation to cultural activities in their daily activities will conceive that although our society has a islamic republic system and great aims have been considered for promoting the country's cultural indices, it has not yet achieved great success. although abundant supplies of the past religious culture support islamic system, how long can this condition continue? do not the continuous warnings of supreme leader about the fact that culture is ignored, the necessity of society's cultural engineering, and using the concepts such as cultural onslaught show his worries clearly? saying that society's cultural changes domain is like a battlefield and addressing the supreme cultural revolution council to consider it as a cultural champion base, are not enough for  accepting this fact that culture is ignored in the system of society' executive management and the five-year development plans?

  If these signs are not enough for the ignorance of culture in the development plans, just accept this issue briefly because reviewing the main reasons of this ignorance is itself a convincing reason for this issue.

The reasons why culture is ignored

 For understanding the reasons of the ignorance of culture, first it should be said that we define culture according to the definition of the supreme leader and most of the great sociologists in the world almost have this comprehensive definition in mind. in the presence of the members of supreme cultural revolution council on december 2002, supreme leader said: i observe culture of the country in three stages: first, culture in making major decisions for the country, it means "culture as the director of the country's major decisions." he went on to say: "culture is like the spirit in the body of the all different major activities of the country."

  And saying that culture has a substructural role in society, he asked this question: what is the culture that determines the limits and shows the direction and should be observed in services, construction, agriculture, industry, foreign policy and security decisions?

  Second, culture forms the general behavior and thought of the society. and he continued: the government and governmental organizations can not keep themselves away from this important fact.

  And third, culture is as macro educational and scientific policies of the responsible governmental organizations.

  So the cultural management according to the supreme leader's view should be presented in the three stages:

1. Utilizing an original religious belief system and ideology in order to compile policies, regulations, work frames and forming organizational culture in all financial, political, judicial, military, etc. organizations and institutions.

2. Utilizing an original religious belief system and ideology in order to evaluate and correct public culture of the society.

3. Utilizing an original religious belief system and ideology in making policies and plans of educational and scientific systems of the country.

  According to this definition of culture, in the presence of the members of supreme cultural revolution council in january 2004 supreme leader said:  "here is the prior headquarters of the command of the army, your mental background at your university, seminary, secretariat centers that should be the main part of these centers and your front line is the government, parliament and even expediency council."

  He went on to say: "these executive powers are not just four cultural ministries, but our industries are your front line too. our culture should be effective in our industrial production. broadcasting, judiciary system, etc. are your front lines too. all of them are in relation to culture." and in one of his recent speech, he mentioned the necessity of preparing a "cultural appendix" for all the executive plans and activities.

  So by his definition of culture, the supreme leader expects that supreme cultural revolution council to be a cultural plan and policy maker that supervises all policies and plans of financial, judicial, political, military, etc. sections by utilizing the scientific capacities of seminary and university and it is necessary to make efforts to supervise how policies and activities of these parts are related to the culture and find the necessary strategies to complete and improve it.

 For achieving this aim, a specific planning is necessary; all cultural effects of policies and executive measures in all financial, political and social domains should be considered during a scientific process and their effects should be compared to the values and beliefs of ideal culture and solutions should be offered to avoid its negative effects and strengthen its positive effects and this is exactly the view that the experiences of the modern human have proved it and it is pointed to in the policy-making  literature. this means policies are advised to solve the society's problems which are in more conformity with the cultural values of the society.

  Now, by this definition of culture and the supreme leader's expectations, the reasons why culture is ignored in the past four five-year plans can be evaluated as this:

1. Transferring the focus of the comprehensive cultural, financial and social plan to an organization that its dominant dimension has been financial view:

  As everybody knows, the foundation of planning and management organization has been arranged around the financial issues and it was clear that from the view of the managers and experts of this organization, efforts should be made to compile policies and practical solutions to solve the short-term financial crises and also the process of allocating the sources should be in the direction of solving the short-term financial crises and in this situation, any kind of investment in cultural field that is long term and can not be evaluated, should not take priority.

2. Continuing the view of "welfare government" as a sign of the effects of the acceptance of west investment finance and using the current development model throughout the world in the structure of planning and management organization and state organizations.

  This theory which results from the secular view in the west societies has entered into the university system and from there to the state organizations by theoretical substructures in presenting the lessons of human sciences in the recent hundred years and gradually as a dominant culture has been established in the theory, thought and act of state organization and naturally it fights against any new way in the country's planning system.

3. Forming the harmful circles in the strategic management  domain of culture

  In the recent 200 years that modern but west secular organizations have come to iran and caused the cultural traditional institutions to be put aside in practice and especially in the recent hundred years that oil incomes have found a dominant role in providing the incomes of governments, all of these generally caused the society's talents enter into medicine, engineering and financial organizations and prove the management of welfare and financial issues by utilizing the developed countries' experiences such as decision patterns, definition of assessment indices, establishing independent evaluator organizations and compiling organized regulations and by showing the deficiency of cultural activities of traditional institutions and making the foreign theories dominant in the definition of government and its responsibilities, put the interference of governments in culture into the question and limit the responsibility of the governments just in making regulations in production of goods and cultural services.     

  On the other hand, this principle that government should not interfere in the culture was accepted as a true theory because the imperial regimes were illegal in the view of religious thinkers and this principle was accepted in the culture of the society; even in islamic system, it could prevent the islamic governments doing their missions in the domain of culture as a cultural belief among the managers, experts, universities' professors and clerics.

4. Accepting the lowest meaning of culture in the governments and reflecting it in the documents of five-year planning

  All of these practical and mental changes in forming the modern governments and accepting this fact that government should not interfere in culture by most of clerics and religious people caused the society to divide responsibilities in a wrong way; during the first and second pahlavi period, people asked to strengthen their religious principles by the clerics and traditional institutions of the society and government just took measures to develop the modern arts for the leisure time of urban classes and in the way that weaken the religious beliefs of people and this strengthened the fact that governments should not interfere in culture.

  The performance and structural deficiencies in the state cultural organizations after the revolution victory and cultural background of this division of responsibilities before the revolution victory has caused that many of luminaries and experts of country's cultural issues hesitate to accept that governments have basic responsibilities in the culture domain and these understandings govern the planning and policy-making situation of the country under the following conditions:

a. By making policies and compiling new regulations in different political, financial and social stages, governments without studying impose changes to the society's culture that in many cases it destroys the public culture especially the religious culture of the society.

b. By developing the tax systems and establishing new taxes, the opportunity for continuing the traditional financial supports of religious culture institutions that were existed in the past become limited and the role of these institutions become weak.

c. By the advent of new sciences, modern technologies, consumer goods, behavioral modeling and developing the communication ways, the role of foreign forces become prominent in the cultural changes.

  Another opportunity is needed to discuss about how governments should do their responsibilities against religious institutions of the society that in addition to keeping their historical independence and freedom, strengthen and develop the historical role of people in providing the financial resources of religious culture activities and the presence of government in religious culture relations become meaningful in the direction of forming a comprehensive spiritual and financial development process. 

  Acceptance of this limited meaning of culture has caused that in all four documents of five-year plan despite  communicating the general and strategic policies for culture by the supreme leader, in making executive policies and taking practical measures and allocating resources, in practice beyond increasing the subsidies for modern arts and forming some parts of the needed infrastructures for cultural activities and also giving some limited help to a small part of religious activities, no other resources proportionate to the needs of society have been foresighted.    

  When we look at the practical responsibilities of the organizations, we realize that although the supreme leader has emphasized on the necessity of evaluating the cooperation of financial, political, social, judicial, military, police, etc. parts with culture part, just a limited attention has been paid to the organizations which have a cultural title directly and just for theses organizations, some responsibilities have been defined.

5. Lack of  the tools of strategic management in the culture's domain

Although in all financial, social and political parts of the society, touchable and definable aims have been defined and organizations and statistic and information centers have been formed according to them, cultural domains have been stayed in the initial stages and strategic management tools such as assessment indices and statistic and information institutions have not been formed yet to evaluate the organizational and management performance and know the country's cultural changes wisely. the result of these deficiencies in the time of presenting expertise discussions related to the compiling five-year plans, some times shows considerable difference of opinion about the cultural changes of the country.    

6. Unequal conditions in adjusting the document of five-year plans

Another reason we say culture is ignored in the document of plan is that scientific and expert forces are unbalanced in the financial, social and cultural dimensions when the plan document is adjusted.

  In financial parts from long ago, thousands of talents have studied plans and projects as advisor engineers and medicine groups and accumulated scientific studies that have been created in the form of statistics. by referring to these documents in the time of compiling the plan, resources are allocated to these parts without further discussion. but whenever the subject of culture and government's responsibilities are discussed, even cultural managers arise basic questions such as what do we mean by culture?  should government interfere in culture?

  At the same time in a competitive situation about allocating the new resources, relying on ambiguity and deficiency in cultural information and knowledge in the social and political situation, the executive and financial parts' managers emphasize on this wrong sentence: "many of cultural problems result from poverty and financial problems." and in this way they invite other managers to continue this undesirable condition. it is obvious that in this situation, cultural activities are ignored regarding the natural limit of resources.

7. Oil incomes and ignoring the other profits of the country

Oil is a divine gift that the country owes many of positive changes and developments to this underground resource, but dependence of governments before the revolution and short-term attitudes of governments and parliaments after the revolution besides other mentioned reasons have caused the main resource of countries that is man powers be ignored.

  And when after 28 years, in the presence of education managers of the country, supreme leader said on august 2007: "current education of our country is not based on our thought, our plans and our philosophy." there lies a warning about our historical ignorance. because many of our plan makers and politicians have not yet realized the importance of knowledge and  public culture and their effects in the development of a society.

8. Natural performance of democracy on the sidelines of culture

In Iran that is a democratic society in its full meaning, for every political movement in search of power satisfying people's needs is in priority. it is clear that in this situation, response to the short-term financial needs of people is in priority, especially when religious principles emphasize on justice and justice is defined just in financial dimension by the media.  on the other hand, the low levels of society compare themselves with the high levels of the society and ask the government to decrease this distance based on a wrong oil culture.

  In this condition, the issue of financial needs becomes the problem of people and government and the issue of culture is just the problem of leader and elites and with a cultural attitude far from the common political movement, they are to find basic solutions for a comprehensive construction of the country.

9. The weakness of mental principles and  structures in the present cultural organizations

According to the mentioned issues and this fact that many of executive managers and elites do not pay enough attention to culture and cultural activities, the country's cultural organizations have the weakest arrangement, lowest scientific and expert ability and lowest effectiveness in activities among the different executive organizations and top managers of these organizations are satisfied with the limited attendance in the country's changes, limited resources and limited position in the documents of five-year plans due to dominance of the theory over top authorities and the basic deficiencies in the organization which are under their responsibility. for example, the authorities of guidance ministry by their low attitude towards culture and the role of government in culture made their efforts to hold different festivals, attend in the artists' gathering more than before, supervise the cultural services and goods production, receive subsides and distribute it in art and cultural activities and by this they believe that their mission is finished.

  If the past governments wanted to play their role in cultural changes according to the expectations and advices of the supreme leader and constitution, naturally by strengthening scientific and expert capacity and necessary modifications in its organizational structure, ministry of islamic guidance could gradually achieve a position to follow three domains of cooperation of all state organizations and ministries in the stage of pubic culture which consists of "modifying organizational culture, improving effectiveness in the public culture and removing cultural obstacles" and in this way it causes the effects of governments in cultural changes of the society to become positive and constructive and provide opportunity for the activity of the artists and experts in the culture domain  by observing the national cultural changes and public culture and announcing the indices of evaluation of cultural changes in the regional and national levels. and in a continuous and gradual process, appropriate research activities are formed and the opportunity is provided for training the necessary experts in accordance with cultural and art services in all judicial, military, financial, political, etc. and the art and cultural activities will be developed by removing a cultural problem or strengthening the present positive indices.

Conclusion

as mentioned, there have been many different reasons that culture was ignored in the past five-year plans and many of them continue until now unless the present government paves the way for a main change in this filed. the basic obstacles in the way of culture are:

1. Limited definition of culture in the mind of top managers, executive managers and society's experts and not understanding the expectations of the supreme leader completely.

2. Limited understanding of government mission in the domain of culture in the public's minds.

3. Serious obstacles in the country's political affairs that are against paying complete attention to the cultural changes.

4. Lack of scientific structures for observing the culture independent from governments.

5. Basic deficiencies in the present cultural organizations and comprehensive weakness in their interior affairs.

6. Increasing the risk of injection of thoughts and beliefs contrary to religious rules and bases of society from the west to the new generation.

7. Increasing danger of influence of thoughts against the religious principles of society from west.

8. Complicated nature of culture besides long-term, continuous and imperceptible effects of cultural changes caused to take measures for changing the fifth five-year plan with a cultural attitude. the most important of them are:

1. Establishing the special headquarters

For compensating the deficiencies of the present cultural organizations and removing the expert arguments about cultural planning in the initial discussions, defining the government's responsibilities in domains of religious culture, national culture, public culture and organizational culture, one of prominent figures approved by the president was appointed and three groups of prominent authorities of seminaries, universities and executive managers consisting of 30 talents were invited to define culture, appropriate policies of culture, government's responsibilities in the culture and inform the society's authorities and receive their views about this matter too.

2. Preparation of national situation

Correct understanding of the concepts, knowing the responsibilities and discovering the practical solutions is one of the important part for succeeding in cultural activities in the performance stage, and due to this fact the honorable president ordered all ministers and managers of national organizations to established a work group in the three following stages and submit their solutions to the secretariat of central core.

a. Amending the organizational culture.

b. Knowing the effects of organization's activities on the public culture.

c. Knowing the effects of public culture on the success and fail of organizational aims.

3. Activating the supreme cultural revolution council

According to the supreme leader's expectation of supreme cultural revolution council, the result of measures of the first and second steps should be submitted for the supreme cultural revolution council and for completing and strengthening it some measures should be taken.

4. Compensating the past deficiencies

As the time of ratifying the plan is limited, for compensating the deficiencies of the cultural part, the fifth plan should be prepared and organized according to time and all the experts of this happy movement at least should leave their routine activities and for responding to the supreme leader's expectations allocate all their abilities and experiences to the strengthening of the five-year development plan.

 

Monday, June 16, 2008 - 14:17

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