Text topic: Studies
Text author: Слободан Мрђа
The research on cultural life and needs of the high school children in Serbia showed that the activities that can be listed under public cultural life domain are not favourite pastimes of high school children. They usually spend their leisure time in activities that take place in the so-called private sphere (watching TV and listening to music, doing sports and using computers) and require less financial resources. This is best illustrated by the fact that most of them very rarely or never visit museums (85.8%), book reading events (84.5%), galleries (79.0%), theatres (77.8%) or cultural-historic monuments and archeological sites (74.0 %). As major reasons for failing to participate they listed lack of interest, lack of free time, inadequate contents of the cultural offer and lack of money. In addition to this youth group which practically takes no part in the public cultural life, there is also a smaller group which frequents cultural institutions and visits cultural events, making about 8.5 to 10% of this population (statistical estimate). Among them, 3.5% to 5.5% participate in public cultural life at least once a month. Generally speaking, most of these young people do not participate in the public cultural life, although we still cannot speak of their total absence from the public cultural life in entirety. This trend of most young people in Serbia abstaining from public cultural life can have grave consequences for the future of this social group and the society as a whole. These consequences are not immediately “visible” but emerge over a longer period of time in all segments of social structure, in different intensity and taking different forms. Naturally, these are by no means single-dimensional data but also indicate that part of this population finds cultural programs inaccessible or uninteresting, whether due to lack of interest, structure or conception of public cultural life, in financial or territorial sense. It should be underlined that the processes of globalization and individualization of modern society have a decisive impact on the participation of youth in cultural life. Also, we should not forget the great influence education has on creating a system of values and preconditions for reception of an art piece and various symbolic forms of artistic creation, as well as on the development of cultural needs. The role of a modern high school and a modern university cannot be reduced to mere professional education, since they also have a very significant, civilizational function in development of spiritual abilities and acquiring wider cultural knowledge. A continual education in the field of culture is necessary as the transfer of culture from teachers/professors to pupils/students cannot be a once in a lifetime educational event. This education has to follow the quickly changing civilization and knowledge. Marginalizing young people will prevent any society from developing and modernizing in accordance with modern times. Their participation at all levels of decision making and activities is of vital importance for initiating change and further social development. To accomplish this, young people must recognize themselves as fully valid members of the society. As of late, EU insists on development of national youth policies which support participation of youth in the society, especially their influence on the youth-relevant processes, decisions and activities. This involves taking a more active part in the family, school, faculty, cultural life and government. The fact should not be forgotten that the society we live in is determined by the future of our young generations.