The state has the key role in ensuring the right to create and to make available its citizens’ cultural activity, ensuring access to cultural services and benefits, and encouraging society’s cultural potential. Put differently, the principle of cultural animation is part of the state cultural politics. However, this principle does not work equally for all citizens of Armenia for a number of reasons. A socially polarised society and uneven regional development hamper the formation of coherent and culturally involved communities.
According to the National Statistical Service of Armenia, the average monthly wage in Armenia in 2012 was 115 000 AMD, which equals 213 EUR. In the meantime, the average monthly fee for art classes is between 5 000 and 10 000 AMD (about 9.2-20 EUR) excluding expenses for the purchase of materials or tools.
Table 2: Average monthly nominal wages, in AMD and in EUR
|2013||146 524.0 AMD||271 EUR|
|2012||113 163.0 AMD||213 EUR|
|2011||108 092.0 AMD||200 EUR|
|2010||102 652.0 AMD||190 EUR|
To ensure social unity, one of the main tasks of the cultural policy is the link between the provision and availability of cultural services. To ensure the availability of cultural education for socially disadvantaged families, since 2007, the music and art schools receive extra payments from the state budget (in the form of refunds). The refund system was applied initially in the education of folk music instruments; it is anticipated to extend this benefit to other professions as well. In order to expand access to museum, library and theatrical-concert services, a new tariff policy and reduction system for socially disadvantaged groups is being developed. Today there are fixed days to visit museums free of charge. Concert tours of state theatrical-concert organisations are presented in the regions, financed by the state budget.
Another main direction of cultural policy is the enhancement and development of the cultural potential of society. In cooperation with the Ministry of Education and Science, the Ministry of Culture carries out the training of specialists at medium and highly specialised educational institutions with the goal to ensure the necessary quantity of specialists. There is state support for educating young people from socially disadvantaged families and there is also support to ensure that the cultural organisations functioning in the regions are replenished with necessary specialists.
The officials responsible for ensuring social cohesion at all the levels of power are the bodies that control the cultural policy (see chapter 1.2.2).
The Armenian legislation ensures social and cultural rights of people with disabilities. In 2010, Armenia ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. However, the problem of physical accessibility of cultural institutions remains acute. A number of non-governmental organisations (like “Unison” NGO) cooperate with state agencies in the development of corresponding by-laws and regulations to have the problem resolved.