Saturday, 19/10/2019
Perfecting cultural institutions to meet requirements of sustainable national development
18/7/2019 15:26' Send Print
The conference on preliminarily review of the 5-year- implementation of Resolution 33/NQ-TW on building and developing Vietnamese culture and people to meet the requirements of sustainable national development. Image:vov.vn

1.Deeply aware of the importance of culture, each country takes appropriate ways to develop its culture. In Vietnam, after the 1943 Vietnamese Culture Blueprint, Resolution No.03-NQ/ TW dated July 16, 1998 of the 5th Plenum of the Party Central Committee, 8th Tenure on "Building an advanced culture imbued with national identity of Vietnam” was issued, marking an important step in the development of the country's culture. The resolution defines guidelines for cultural development in Vietnam to build an advanced culture imbued with national identity. In that spirit, Resolution No. 33-NQ/TW dated June 9, 2014 of the 9th Plenum of the Party Central Committee, 11th Tenure on "Building Vietnamese culture and people to meet the requirements of sustainable national development” is a step further emphasizing the power of culture. The 12th Party National Congress organized in 2016 affirmed the need to comprehensively promote the renovation process; on the one hand, taking economic development as a crucial task; on the other hand, considering Party building a key task while making culture the spiritual foundation of society, combining economic growth with environmental and social sustainable development. These extremely important elements of the process of national renewal have had a great impact on the perception of the contents and form of cultural management.

Implementing these resolutions, the Party has issued guiding documents, the State and the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism have issued a series of legal documents to improve cultural management. There documents include 5 laws, 1 ordinance, 42 decrees, 14 decisions of the Prime Minister and 98 inter-sectoral circulars regulate the field of culture and family. Cultural entities such as theaters, cinemas, exhibition centers and especially cultural houses at grassroots levels have been newly built through out the country, from urban to rural areas. Approximately, 38 localities have developed master plans on cultural entities; 21 out of 29 localities have had plans on cultural entities for industrial parks and export processing zones. Cultural mechanisms and policies have been increasingly flexible and responsive to market demands. Culture and arts have got closer to the people. Cultural and artistic activities have developed towards serving the spiritual life of the people. And in fact, culture and arts have a big impact on people's spiritual life, ideology, ethic and lifestyle.

However, under the impact of globalization and international integration as well as rapid, diverse and complex changes of life in the market economy, cultural management is facing numerous difficulties and challenges, showing shortcomings and limitations; leadership and management of culture have been slowly reformed. Therefore, the delay of cultural policy implementation has a great influence on the development of the whole society.

2- To develop culture, the most important thing is to renovate cultural institutions, first of all, mindset, ideology and concept of new cultural development; then combine public cultural development with the development of cultural industries, and renovate cultural institutions with culture itself.

Firmly grasping the trend of world cultural development today, fully aware of the law of cultural development under the socialist-oriented market economy, the renewal of cultural institutions is the continued improvement of economic, political, educational, scientific and technological, health, sports institutions. Cultural and social development is in harmony with economic development, ensuring social progress and justice in each step and each development policy clearly demonstrate the superiority of democracy. This has posed new set of requirements for cultural development and cultural institutional reform.

The comprehensive renovation of the country requires Vietnam to put together the building of culture and economy, politics and society in the whole development process. The principle of harmonious socio-economic development demands Vietnam to promote its synergy, create a new national spirit, take patriotism the core of the spirit of the new era, the viewpoint of comprehensive and thorough renovation as ideological nucleus and generate solidarity and maximize the wisdom of the entire Party and people. This forces Vietnam to vigorously and scientifically renovate cultural institutions, liberate cultural production force as a driving force for the development of an advanced socialist culture, harmonizing cultural, economical, political and social development. Along with requirements to improve people’s living standards and comprehensive socio-economic development, people’s cultural and spiritual needs have constantly increased, creating new impetus for cultural development and at the same time. setting new and higher demands for cultural building. On the one hand, the masses demand further development of the public culture, such as the construction of public cultural infrastructure, public cultural services, ensuring the basic enjoyment of culture, strong development of cultural industries, and cultural market, providing new and diversified cultural products suitable to their tastes. On the other hand, the development of culture itself in the new context also requires a breakthrough in traditional management institutions so that cultural resources can be effectively used and cultural personnel can be positive, proactive and creative in their work. At present, in some localities, especially where public cultural infrastructure is in serious shortage with old equipment; cultural production entities are weak, foreign cultural products have massively occupied the market, causing cultural chaos, limiting people’s cultural enjoyment of the people. Many harmful cultural products have significantly affected the social spiritual life. Obviously, it is necessary to liberate more strongly and effectively cultural production force. To do so, it is necessary to innovate cultural institutions, build new people-oriented and market-oriented institutions. Accordingly, cultural personnel will devote their talents and be duly remunerated, people will be able to enjoy excellent and diversified cultural products suitable to individuals and communities’ needs.

3- In the field of culture, the Party and State’s guidelines and policies have been strictly implemented at all levels and sectors.

Cultural, artistic, information, physical training and sports activities have been increasingly expanded, gradually meeting people's needs for cultural enjoyment. The movement "All people unite to build cultural life" has been stepped up. Vietnam’s Human Development Index has constantly gone up. Vietnam accomplished most of the Millennium Development Goals. The implementation of 5 guiding points, 10 tasks and 4 major solutions set out by Resolution No. 03-NQ/ TW dated July 16, 1998 of the 5th Plenum of the Party Central Committee, the 8th Tenure on "Building an advanced Vietnamese culture imbued with national identity” as well as 5 guiding points, 6 tasks and 4 major solutions set out by Resolution No. 33-NQ/TW dated June 9, 2014 of the 9th Plenum of the Party Central Committee, 11th Tenure on "Building Vietnamese culture and people to meet the requirements of sustainable development of the country" has stirred up an extensive movement in the Party and government agencies and socio-political organizations, greatly contributing to strengthening the great national unity bloc, upholding patriotism to build and develop the country. People’s positiveness, proactiveness and creativeness have been promoted and social democracy has been expanded. Investment has been made to refurbish Vietnam’s cultural heritage which has exerted its role in socio-economic development, improving people’s spiritual life. Vietnam boasts several world cultural heritage. As of November 2018, the country currently has 26 cultural elements inscribed in the List of Cultural Heritage of UNESCO including 8 tangible cultural heritage, 12 intangible cultural heritage and 6 documentary heritage, in addition to 95 national special relics; 3,447 national relics; 249 elements are in the list of national intangible cultural heritage; 617 artisans were conferred the title of emeritus artists in the field of intangible cultural heritage; 160 museums which archive and display about 3 million exhibits, including 142 objects and groups of objects recognized as national treasures. The unique cultural values of the ethnic peoples in Vietnam have been preserved, inherited and promoted, enriching the national culture.

The Party and State have paid much attention to directing and developing cultural institutions at grassroots levels. Given efforts of localities, achievements have been recorded in the development of cultural institutions at grassroots levels: all provinces have cultural centers; about 91% of districts have cultural-sports centers or cultural houses; 73.2% of communes have cultural and sports centers; 74.7% of villages have cultural-sports houses. There are good examples, and practices on organizing the establishment of cultural institutions at grassroots levels through mobilizing capital and human resources from people. The building and development of cultural institutions at grassroots levels need great concern of leaders at local levels. This can be considered a decisive factor. Such attention must demonstrate through specific programs of action, such as land planning, investment and funding for cultural institutions construction.

However, in the process of perfecting cultural institutions, there remain some weaknesses:

First, the construction and development of a new culture are mainly in the field of cultural activities, and have not yet had great impact on and closely linked to economy and politics. Non-state and foreign-invested economic sectors, in their economic activities, have not yet set fully appreciated the role of culture in development. Many economic development programs and projects have opted for economic benefits at the expense of culture and environment.

Second, achievements and progress in the field of cultural, social and human development have not yet been commensurate with economic development. They are unstable, and have not had effective impact on social life, especially the field of ideology, morality, lifestyle. Degradation in terms of virtue, morality, lifestyle of a part of cadres, party members, especially those in high positions has developed complicatedly, even more serious in some aspects, causing harm to the prestige of the Party and the State, reducing people's confidence. There are limitations in building a cultural environment in the Party, in State agencies and political-social organizations. Clear changes have not been made in building new-type of man in the period of accelerating industrialization and modernization. The cultural environment is polluted by social ills and rampant provision of superstitious cultural services and products. Cultural and artistic works and literature of high value in terms of ideology and arts having a positive and profound impact on human education are scare. In the field of theory - criticism and composition, there are signs of confusion and rightist manifestations in ideological struggle before the complex impacts of international economic integration and cultural exchange expansion. The trend of "commercialization" to feed poor tastes in the press and publications, cultural and artistic activities have not been effectively prevented.

Third, discrepancy in cultural enjoyment between regions, regions and social strata has increased. Poor and backward spiritual and cultural life in many rural, mountainous, ethnic minority areas and former revolutionary bases has not been improved.

Fourth, the construction and improvement of cultural institutions, the system of legal framework and policies in the field of culture, especially the relations between economy and culture, between culture and Party building, strengthening political system is slow and inconsistent, limiting the impact of culture on the country's development.

4- In this context, in order to complete the current Vietnamese cultural institutions, it is necessary to focus on synchronous implementation of the following basic contents:

First, innovate mindset on cultural management based on cultural rights and the spirit of building a modern public administration system; step by step develop a new mechanism of decentralization and assignment of power. The state agencies focus on developing institutional systems, investing in developing key infrastructures, developing high-level human resources and organizing a number of national cultural and artistic activities and events.

Second, cultural institutional reform is an integrated, and highly systematic activity, showing close links between different aspects, such as labor, personnel, finance, tax, distribution, social security, administrative management. Therefore, strict leadership must be strengthened, synchronous measures to create policies strong enough for cultural institutional reform must be taken. First of all, cultural institutional reform must be simultaneously carried out with the renewal of cultural leadership; innovate quickly cultural management thinking, form a scientific cultural view, not to use culture’s specific characteristic as a form of consciousness to deny its patrimony feature, or vice versa. In short, we must correctly handle this relationship. The State should facilitate cultural development. by making policies relating to administrative approval, land use, market expansion and management, investment and circulation of capital, preferential policies and support of cultural industries, perfection of cultural legislation, creating a good legal environment for cultural institutional reform.

Third, the State assumes its regulation and macro-management role. When society changes, accordingly the State’s roles and functions also change in nature, contents, orientation and enforcement measures. In order to response to the requirements of developing a socialist-oriented market economy, Vietnam must build a mechanism whereby the Party leads, the State manages, branches and sectors are autonomous, and non-business enterprise unit operate under the law. This is the direction of cultural institutional reform in the new period.

Fourth, the State delegates power to cultural management levels, assigns autonomy to specific branches, assigns specific responsibilities, supervises the use of state cultural assets, requires cultural units to abide by the law, and comply with the law of the market economy. The State does not directly assign cultural units with cultural production plans but requires them to be self-accounting and balance their revenues and expenditures based on market requirements. When necessary, the State places direct orders for public cultural works, cultural products for public service. Cultural and artistic organizations gradually build a mechanism of self-responsibility in creating and producing cultural products.

Thus, the state management must be regulated, must be lawful. The State needs not intervene in those cases which can be solved by the market mechanism. The State will only participate in those cases that the market mechanism fails to resolved. This involvement must be transparent and democratic, in line with the requirements of market economy and modern spiritual civilization. That means, the State's management function of administrative approval must change. Its main functions are to serve cultural and facilitate cultural creators, not to directly interfere in micro cultural activities and businesses. It must focus on social management and market monitoring, provide orientations, principles, planning, order, mechanism, and quality.

Fifth, provide training and develop an association of cultural occupations and trades, provide highly professional cultural brokerage. This is something that Vietnam is lacking and very weak, especially when it has joined international trade agreements. On the one hand, quickly establish the association of occupations and trades, assign specific functions and powers so that the association has a legal status, becoming a legal and professional organization acting as a "bridge" between Government and the industries; on the other hand, encourage the development of cultural brokerage organizations, set up cultural brokerage organizations and agencies, such as general cultural brokerage companies, performance brokerage companies, art auction houses, young talents introduction companies. Establish a mechanism where by the Government supervises and directs, occupational and professional associations supervise management, and brokerage organizations build their own autonomy regulations. These issues must be paid due attention to in order to create changes in the State functions of cultural management and orientation in this period of time.

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This article was published in the Communist Review No 920 (June 2019)

Assoc. Prof. Bui Hoai Son, PhDDirector of Vietnam National Institute of Culture and Arts Studies