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The Ministry of Culture and National Heritage (Ministerstwo Kultury i Dziedzictwa Narodowego) is the authority responsible for shaping the cultural policy at state level. The Ministry’s responsibilities include designing relevant elements in the national draft budget and supervising numerous areas, in particular, in the context of the young generation, cultural education (the Ministry supervises artistic education), amateur artistic movements and international cultural exchange.
The most important elements of the state policy aimed at cultural activities and addressed to the young generation include (1) urban, municipal and district culture centres (in some cases, these are combined with sports and recreation centres), which usually carry out extracurricular activities and educational and cultural initiatives; (2) youth centres run as institutions of culture, and also as care and educational institutions on the basis of regulations concerning the education system; (3) school libraries and libraries at other institutions within the education system, which implement curricula and programmes concerning education and care, cultural and information education for children and young people, as well as initial and in-service teacher training; and (4) the system of artistic education (which is separate from mainstream education), for example music, arts and ballet schools, schools for cultural animators and circus artists, experimental schools, education centres providing for the development of artistic interests and talents, as well as arts universities and colleges (the authority responsible for these institutions is the Department of Artistic and Cultural Education at the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage, and Centre for Artistic Education (Centrum Edukacji Artystycznej). It should be emphasized that the Ministry of National Education is also responsible for the operations of care and education institutions, which provide non-school education, namely youth centres, interschool sports centres, non-school work centres, children’s playgrounds and non-school specialist institutions.
The Ministry of Culture and National Heritage does not run any programmes that are strictly dedicated to young beneficiaries (the only information on the Ministry’s website, in the tab School and university students, concerns artistic education). The programmes that are addressed to the young generation to the greatest extent include: Artistic events for children and young people (Wydarzenia artystyczne dla dzieci i młodzieży), aimed at supporting valuable and fully professional artistic events of regional, national and international significance, designed for children and young people under the age of 18, and arts education (Edukacja artystyczna), aimed at raising the standard of arts education in Poland by providing financial support to the most interesting projects addressed to school and university students, as well as arts school and university graduates. To a much lesser extent, the following programmes are addressed specifically to these age groups: Cultural Education (Edukacja kulturalna), with the goal of supporting activities in the field of cultural education which are important to the development of the social capital, and Accessible Culture (Kultura Dostępna), which supports activities aimed at facilitating access to culture, targeted at a wide range of beneficiaries and conducive to social integration.
Funding culture is one of the local governments’ individual responsibilities, wherein the role of the state is limited to the principle of subsidiarity, which states that each level of government should carry out only those tasks, which cannot be effectively fulfilled by a lower level or by individuals acting within society as such. This state of affairs is the result of the administrative reform of 1998, which was one of the pillars of the political transformation in Poland. The reform has triggered many processes in the functioning of cultural institutions, for instance the denationalisation and socialisation of culture or the reorganisation of institutions based on market economy principles. This has given them independence, whilst depriving them of the state’s patronage. With regard to the cultural functioning of the young generation, attention should be paid to the elimination of apparent actions and phenomena, the potential for cultural diversity (which has triggered a multitude of new initiatives and self-organisation within various environments, as well as the emergence of environmental pluralism and cultural minorities, including ethnic, religious, and ideological minorities, such as feminism, sexual minorities and alternative movements) and media pluralism. At the same time, the indispensable institutional networks have collapsed, making access to culture significantly more difficult for young people, especially those living away from large towns. According to sociologist Aldona Jawłowska culture has become an open area, which is developing in the course of ongoing negotiations that have not concluded with the implementation of some great new project, between the different partners of the cultural system.An outcome of these processes is a change within the structure of organising and funding culture, resulting in an increase in the resources involved by local governments. Furthermore, since 2006 there has also been a dynamic increase in the real spending on culture by households, which results from their higher incomes. In Poland, a rule is applied that the value of total expenditures on culture correlates with an increase in GDP. Among local governments, the largest share of these expenditures is displayed by municipalities and cities with county (powiat) rights. An analysis of the expenditures of municipalities on culture and national heritage preservation shows a similar division as in the case of the activities of public benefit organisations: performance in central and eastern Poland is inferior to that of other regions.
There is no evidence of cross-sectoral cooperation in the field of culture with respect to young people.