An evaluation of the administrative processes and an enhancement strategy for policy formation at the cultural services of the Ministry of Education in Cyprus
In Cyprus, the main government body for the handling of cultural affairs is the Cultural Services of the Ministry of Education and Culture, established in 1968. It deals with all the contemporary artforms as well as the spectrum of the cultural heritage area apart from the antiquities. This project represents an extensive research into the administration procedures at the Cultural Services and their responsibility to formulate cultural policy. As my intention was to study a specific governmental department’s activity, I felt that the most suitable research approach that I should use was the case study. I focused on inquiry about the Cultural Services without excluding any of the available research methods. A survey, in-depth interviews with key individuals inside the department and with artists and writers, observation and literature reading were methods which enabled me to gather as much data as possible and as related as possible to the objectives that I sought to meet. Thus both the quantitative and qualitative information acquired and cross-checked, i.e. triangulated through the different methods of data collection, helped me to produce valid, objective and interesting findings, elaborate and evaluate them and eventually recommend ways of improving existing malfunctioning at the Cultural Services due to administrative inefficiency and inconsistency in policy matters. The research revealed interesting findings that regarded mostly problems in the administrative processes and the formulation of Cultural policy at the Cultural Services of the Ministry of Education and Culture. Delays in handling applications by writers or artists or the public for governmental support either moral or financial, lack of communication among cultural officers, assignment of tasks inappropriate to the role of cultural officers, confusion in the assignment of responsibilities, mistrust in the role of experts who are members of advisory committees came to surface. Also problematic criteria or inexistent criteria that determine who and what to support, problems in governmental assistance regarding issues dealt with at the literature section e.g. poor promotion of book-reading and translation, low attendance at literary events, problematic advertisement of the department and its services, unspent money from the government budgets, the minimal role of the Arts Council, low attendance at the Kypria International Festival, problematic state support to religious groups and ethnic communities, lack of clear policy for the decentralisation of culture etc were revealed. All the above areas of the cultural sphere in which malfunctioning was detected of a severe or mild degree were analysed and the outcomes of this research were evaluated. This led to the making of recommendations by the researcher which can be adopted by the department in order to improve its efficiency and the manner in which it shapes policy for such a sensitive aspect of the society in Cyprus, the creation, preservation dissemination, and mobility of art.