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Strengthening legal communication and education in the ethnic minority and mountainous areas

(PTOJ) - In leadership and social management activities, improving legal knowledge plays a critical position. Knowledge, respect, and observance of the law by cadres and people are the foundation of each person's political system and cultural lifestyle. The article focuses on clarifying legal education methods for commune-level cadres and people in ethnic minority and mountainous areas, analyzing the current situation and proposing solutions to raise the legal consciousness of commune-level cadres and people in ethnic minority and mountainous areas today.

Legal education activities at the commune level at mountainous areas - Source: dangconsan.vn

In recent years, our Party and State have paid particular attention to promoting law-making, promulgated many new and high-quality legal documents, creating a legal corridor for social relations to mobilize and develop. However, facing the requirements of the cause of innovation and international integration, our country’s legal system still reveals many shortcomings and incompleteness, such as comprehensiveness, uniformity, suitability, and legal, technical standards. Legal documents have not ensured uniformity; there are overlaps and conflicts between legal documents and sub-law documents.

This is a significant limitation of our country’s legal system, which makes it challenging to organize the implementation and application of the law, especially in localities where the education level is still low.

In order to build a socialist law-ruled State of the people, by the people, for the people, it is necessary to have a complete and synchronous legal system that meets the requirements of regulating social relations, and at the same time do well the communication, dissemination and education of the law, especially for grassroots cadres and people in socio-economically difficult areas, with low education levels and many outdated customs and habits.

Educating and improving legal knowledge for commune-level cadres and people is an active and positive process through communication, education and self-education to make the contingent of commune-level cadres and people step by step improve their knowledge, have attitude and belief in the law, and improve the effectiveness of applying legal knowledge in work and life.

Communicate, disseminate and educate the law in order to equip legal knowledge so that cadres and people can respect and voluntarily obey the law “Honoring the Constitution, the law, educating the sense of respect for the law for everyone in society”(1), “strengthening the legislation, ensuring social discipline”(2).

1. Forms of law communication, dissemination and education at the grassroots level

Through grassroots conciliation. This activity helps to socialize the State’s social management, which mobilizes people and cadres at the grassroots level (who meet the conditions and standards prescribed by the Law on Grassroots Conciliation) to participate in a conciliation group or self-governing organization in the community in order to resolve law violations, disputes, conflicts arising in the community. Party committees, authorities, Farmers’ Unions, Fatherland Front Committees, Veterans’ Associations, Women’s Unions, Youth Unions... have all participated in reconciliation activities at the grassroots level, thereby building a law-conscious residential community and promoting the self-governing role of the people.

Through public court trial. Legal education is a function and duty of the court. The public trial and mobile trial in the locality where the case takes place, contribute to raising the people’s legal consciousness.

Through policy and law training. Training contents usually focus on the topic presented in one legal document, the guiding documents, or in many legal documents. Training activities usually focus on the content of the legal document issued for the first time or the document propagated repeatedly and must go into depth on issues related to the areas at the commune level.

Through thematic talk about the law. The talk’s content is not limited to the legal content, within the framework of a closed issue but needs to expand to related issues. Thematic talks on law communication should invite reporters with extensive legal knowledge, specialized knowledge and in-depth understanding of the law.

Through integration into party and mass meetings. When integrating the content of legal knowledge dissemination into the meeting, it is necessary to have a convincing and attractive way of asking questions so that the attendees can see the importance and urgency of mastering the topic of legal knowledge. In addition, it is also necessary to determine the practical and easily receptive communication topic.

Through practical leadership and management activities of political system cadres at the commune level. In practice, issues of law and legal documents often arise. Commune-level cadres need to apply legal knowledge to resolve problems effectively creatively. The detection and resolution of arising problems is a normal process, and requiring knowledge and scientific methods, through which the legal consciousness of commune-level officials and people is enhanced.

Through preliminarily summarizing, drawing and from experience in law enforcement at the grassroots level. Summarizing and drawing from practical experience in applying the law will help cadres enrich their legal knowledge and use the practical experience gained to make decisions in line with objective reality in the working process.

Through the application of legal knowledge to work and life. Legal knowledge is a prerequisite for forming skills; specific activities through practice and application of knowledge in work will contribute to improving the law enforcement capacity of cadres. Legal knowledge is permanent in leadership and management at the grassroots level, creating the habit of using legal knowledge to consider and solve problems.

By providing documents and updating legal information on cases for cadres and people, cadres and people can apply the law in solving legal problems and issues.

2. Legal education activities at the commune level in ethnic minority and mountainous areas today

Law communication, dissemination, and education activities through popular classes and meetings; system of law bookcases, law clubs, law contests

In recent years, the provinces have focused on law communication, dissemination, and education at the grassroots level: Hoa Binh Province organized nearly 37,000 communication campaigns on the Constitution, the 2015 Penal Code, the Civil Code; the Law on the election of deputies to the National Assembly and People’s Councils; the Law on Belief and Religion… to millions of people. 100% of agencies, units, schools, and commune authorities have maintained the Law Bookcase. In Thai Nguyen Province, all levels and branches organized 1,662 integrated training courses and conferences to train the law on anti-corruption for 188,698 cadres thoroughly, civil servants, and employees; printed and distributed 152,585 brochures and leaflets on anti-corruption, judicial bulletins, learned several regulations on the Law on Referendum, the Civil Code...

Party committees and local authorities at all levels are interested in organizing law-learning contests, which are increasingly being innovated on how to organize. Bac Kan Province promulgated Plan No. 55/KH-UBND dated February 4, 2020 of the People’s Committee of Bac Kan Province on law communication, dissemination, education and reconciliation at the grassroots level, and building the commune level up to the standard of legal access in 2020. Implementing the plan, the commune authorities in Bac Kan Province organized writing contests, multiple-choice exams, oral quizzes, theatrical contests, democratic flower picking, subject-based contests with content related to occupations and jobs of candidates such as “good mediator”, “good registrar”, “good legal propagandist”, “good civil status-judicial official”... organized contests through the network, sending phone messages with the topic of learning about the law.

Through trial activities of the people’s court.

Law communication through the organization and operation of the court where the trial is held is enhanced; the applicable law to settle the case is in accordance with reality; material conditions are guaranteed… thereby facilitating the court to fulfill its duties of law communication and education.

Through leadership and organization activities, the State’s policies and laws into local and grassroots practice concretizing the Party’s line.

In recent years, the Party committees and commune authorities in mountainous areas have increasingly appreciated the position, role and meaning of raising the legal consciousness of cadres and people in mountainous and ethnic minority areas through leadership and management activities (accounting for 49.4%)(3). The Party committees and commune authorities have thoroughly grasped to improve the realism, directness in performing their duties and responsibilities for commune-level cadres.

The Survey showed that commune-level cadres applied legal knowledge and understanding to practical work (57.7% rated good) and focused on self-criticism and criticism, drawing experience in raising the legal consciousness (45.1% rated good)(4).

Most cadres and people in mountainous and ethnic minority areas have made great efforts to self-study and improve their legal knowledge.

The survey results showed that commune-level cadres were able to resolve conflicts arising in the practice of applying the law at work (40.9%), do well in summarizing practices, drawing experience in law application activities, meet the requirements of assigned tasks (42.6%), have skills in conducting activities of applying legal knowledge, associated with working experience (38.7%)(5). It shows that resolving disputes and complaints in people’s lives has motivated the grassroots cadres to self-study to improve their legal knowledge, practice problem-solving skills, and gain experience applying to work.

The detection and settlement of cases arising in practice in accordance with the law have been gradually improved. 35.3% of commune-level cadres had practical experience in applying legal knowledge at work; 36.7% firmly grasped the guidelines of the Party, policies and laws of the State, assigned tasks; 38.1%(6) thoroughly understood and applied the guidelines and lines of the Party, policies and laws of the State to perform assigned tasks and responsibilities.

Some limitations:

Some agencies and units have not paid due attention, still passive and confused in the law communication, dissemination and education, improving legal knowledge for cadres and people in mountainous and ethnic minority areas. Although the content and methods of law communication and education have many innovations, they still do not meet the practical requirements. Funding resources for this work are limited.

The quality of legal aid cases is still limited, mainly focusing on two primary forms of legal aid: legal advice and participation in legal proceedings.

Although there have been many methods and ways to improve legal knowledge for cadres and people, since the subjects have not identified appropriate methods, the effectiveness is still limited and inappropriate to cadres and people’s ability to receive and demand legal information. Subjects have not yet paid attention to the classification, summarization, assessment, and drawing experience of law observance of cadres and people in mountainous and ethnic minority areas.

The ability to grasp, concretize, and apply legal knowledge to the local practice of grassroots cadres in mountainous and ethnic minority areas is still limited.

3. Solutions to enhance legal knowledge education in mountainous and ethnic minority areas

Firstly, improve the capacity of cadres engaged in legal dissemination and education, especially qualifications, communication skills and sense of responsibility for their work. Party committees, authorities and functional agencies need to strengthen professional training for propagandists. Strengthen the application of information technology in legal dissemination and education. Continue to strengthen, consolidate and improve the quality of the contingent of reporters, propagandists and mediators at the grassroots level, focusing on building and employing a contingent of cadres who are ethnic minorities knowledgeable about the law, skilled in law dissemination, and education.

Step up the training of capable and qualified commune-level civil servants with political qualities and a good working style. The activities of commune-level civil servants directly contribute to enhancing the role of the law, strengthening the socialist rule of law, contributing to the law dissemination and education, and raising the legal consciousness of commune-level cadres and people.

Secondly, renew methods of law communication, education and dissemination, ensure science, promote the initiative and positivity of commune-level cadres and people. The propagandists and reporters need to harmoniously combine methods to raise situations, pose problems with presentations, conversations combined with real-life situations, strengthen dialogue and discussion on legal topics, and find reasonable ways to solve real-life situations.

Use a variety of methods such as: legal teaching, presentations, seminars, legal talks... Use modern technical equipment and technology to easily implement visualization methods, models associated with actual observation situations. The equipment needs to be mobile, compact, convenient for the movement and operation of the propagandists. Methods for behavior adjustment and activity stimulation are aimed at influencing the perception and emotions of cadres and people, contributing to strengthening attitudes and beliefs in the law, and at the same time helping the recipients easily refer to and recognize shortcomings to self-correct and overcome.

Third, select the content of law communication, dissemination and education suitable to the characteristics of the locality and grassroots level. For mountainous communes, it is necessary to focus on the contents related to the Law on Prevention and Combating of Human Trafficking and skills in preventing and combating human trafficking; Law on Drug Prevention and Control, Law on Forest Protection and Development; Law on Marriage and Family, against domestic violence, child marriage and consanguineous marriage; on promoting good customs and practices, strengthening village friendship in residential communities; Ordinance on implementation of democracy in communes, wards and townships; Border communes need to propagate knowledge on national defense - security, anti-smuggling...

The Category on law communication, dissemination and education on radio and television should increase the broadcasting time at appropriate time frames for cadres and people to easily follow. News and articles reflecting on legal phenomena need to be accurate and properly evaluated from a legal perspective to raise awareness and understanding of the law among cadres and people.

Provide timely new books, newspapers, documents and legal documents to equip for the law bookcases at the grassroots, helping cadres and people research and improve legal knowledge conveniently.

For localities with many difficulties, it is necessary to strengthen the loudspeaker system to reach remote areas.

Fourth, combine law communication, dissemination and education with law practice.

Combine law communication, dissemination and education with a law practice in social development and management activities such as building cultural families, campaigns among the people...

Propagate, disseminate and educate the law through the implementation of regulations and conventions in residential communities to mobilize the community’s wisdom, arouse and promote good customs, practices, and traditions of villages, hamlets, families in which communication content should be concise, easy to understand, easy to remember, easy to implement, and through customs and habits to adjust people’s behavior. It is necessary to apply the positive values of customs and practices in resolving conflicts, ensuring reasonableness and rationality.

Promote the active and proactive role of commune-level cadres in self-study and improvement of legal knowledge through work practice; through legal aid activities to continuously raise awareness and understanding of the law, strengthen attitudes, feelings and beliefs towards the law. Promote the responsibility of setting an example of commune-level cadres in mountainous and ethnic minority areas in performing their duties and handling legal situations, which will help them improve their awareness and understanding of the law.

Doing well the preliminary summary and final summary of law enforcement work, correctly assessing the spirit, attitude, responsibility, and quality of work, and timely praising and rewarding will motivate commune-level cadres to constantly improve their professional qualifications and practice to complete all assigned tasks.

Continue to promote democracy, create conditions for commune-level cadres and people to actively participate in the discussion and comment on legal projects, thereby improving legal knowledge. Enhance people’s intellectual level, create a foundation to improve legal knowledge. Morality and culture are essential factors to create the proper legal consciousness, and at the same time, there is a close relationship between morality, culture and socialist law. Therefore, for legal education to be effective, it is necessary to combine it with moral education and education to raise the cultural level for cadres and people.

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Endnotes:

(1) National Assembly: Constitution of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, National Political Publishing House, Hanoi, 2013, p.58.

(2) CPV: Documents of the 13th National Party Congress, vol.I, National Political Publishing House, Hanoi, p.119.

(3), (4), (5), (6) Survey results of 357 grassroots cadres in Thai Nguyen, Bac Kan, Lai Chau, Hoa Binh, Lang Son, Ha Giang, Yen Bai provinces conducted by the author.

References:

1. Pham Kim Dung: A legal manual for grassroots cadres, Judicial Publishing House, Hanoi, 2006.

2. Nguyen Quoc Suu: Legal consciousness education for administrative cadres and civil servants in the context of building a socialist law-ruled State in Vietnam, National Political Publishing House, Hanoi, 2011.

TRAN THUY LINH

TNU - University of Information and Communication technology

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