Cultural and Education Development
The Ministry of Petroleum has long paid due attention to the issue of social responsibility and sustainable development. Although these activities have turned out to be influential, they have mainly been physical and limited to investment.
Over recent years, besides investment, cultural aspects have been also highlighted. Mere allocation of financial resources would not lead to cooperation between people and organization. In this regard, necessary mechanisms have to be worked out for further alignment between people, organizations and public organs so that each would fulfil its own role. In fact, service providing is not limited to physical activities; rather, it needs joint and mutual work between service providers and beneficiaries.
One key issue in social responsibility within the Ministry of Petroleum is to upgrade education and culture.
Promoting the concept of social responsibility in the petroleum industry, presenting and sharing scientific experience with oil companies, upgrading public awareness, introducing frameworks and standards for CSR reporting in the petroleum industry, interaction with oil companies in institutionalizing social responsibility and exploring challenges in the petroleum industry and offering necessary solutions are among CSR necessities in the petroleum industry.
Oil companies affiliated with the Ministry of Petroleum arrange their actions in line with the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) education and learning standards, including ISO 26000.
Pursuant to ISO 26000, CSR comprises seven key principles as follows:
Organizations should be held accountable for their impacts on society, the economy, and the environment.
Organizations should disclose in clear, unambiguous terms all policies, decisions, documentation, and activities for which they are responsible.
Organizations should behave ethically. Their behavior should be influenced by clearly defined values of honesty, equity, and integrity.
Respect for Stakeholder Interests: Organizations should respect the best interests of their stakeholders and be aware of their interest.
Respect for the Rule of Law:
Organizations should accept and respect the rule of law in the capacity to which it applies to them.
Respect for International Norms of Behavior:
Quite simply, organizations should respect international norms while also “respecting the rule of law” as it applies to them locally.
Respect for Human Rights:
Organizations should respect and recognize the importance and universality of human rights.
The Ministry of Petroleum also lays emphasis on the development of education and culture particularly in local communities. It tries to have specific orientation in this domain and work in favor of the following aspects:
Promoting education at all levels, upgrading quality, providing access to education and enhancing knowledge in local communities with a view to eradicating illiteracy;
Promoting opportunities for learning among vulnerable groups faced with discrimination;
Upgrading traditional knowledge and technology among local communities;
Respecting local cultures and traditions and recognizing them, and contributing to cultural activities upgrade.
The Ministry of Petroleum strives in favor of positive dialogue and subsequently constructive interaction between local communities and administrations. Effective communications with people, social currents and seniors for the purpose of creating the feeling of common interests, persuasion and enlightenment of public opinion will be followed by cultural growth and pave the way for the deep and realistic development of social responsibility.
Empowerment of social infrastructure in oil-rich areas may be viewed as a step towards social development. For this reason, over the past years, the Ministry of Petroleum has held university entrance exam courses in oil and gas-rich areas, including the South Pars gas field and West Karoun oil field cluster based on the mentality of schoolchildren being future social developers in those areas.
In the past, there were not enough education facilities for residents of these areas. The Ministry of Petroleum launched technical and vocational training in order to empower local people to manage cooperation with the petroleum industry.
Upgrading social and cultural infrastructure is a clear indicator of development in local communities. It is of high significance as local communities, as a group of stakeholders, must be involved with oil projects and find enough knowledge of the activity and objectives of corporates. This key objective will not be achieved unless specialized education is offered and necessary skills are achieved.
Education of youth may meet the petroleum industry’s future dependence on local manpower with the possibility of engaging staff of higher quality; however, it has to be taken into consideration that the growth and dynamism of local communities largely depends on the increased level of public awareness. People have to focus on the fact that education and improvement of human infrastructure could bring about more favorable and more effective results in the long-term.