0815 GMT December 06, 2022
Iran has a rich repertoire of mythological, cultural, and scientific characters that can be used in toys’ design in accordance with Iranian-Islamic lifestyle, said general director of the Institute for the Intellectual Development of Children and Young Adults (IDCYA).
In an exclusive interview with Iran Daily, Mehdi Aliakbarzadeh explained that Western countries have made great efforts to warm Iranian children’s mindsets to Western role models through toys like Barbie and Spider-Man.
Western countries, beyond doubt, do not offer proper toys for Iranian children, Aliakbarzadeh said, adding that the responsibility falls on Iranian parents to introduce appropriate role models for our children.
Iran is fairly rich in having mythological characters, for example in Ferdowsi’s ‘Shahnameh’ (Book of Kings), each of which could be an attractive toy character inside and outside the country, he added.
He criticized that Iran’s toy designers for failing to design figurines that well represent such epic characters, he said.
The center has prepared several books and films to introduce those literary characters, he said, noting that the institute is trying to pave the ground for toy manufacturers to include the characters in toy designs.
The institute, as a government company affiliated to Iran’s Ministry of Education, has the widest network of children and teenagers’ libraries, the IDCYA director said, pointing out that there are also films and other cultural products for the said age groups.
“At present, there are many toys in Iranian market that represent scientific, cultural and religious characters of our country. However, we have a long way to go and require considerable efforts to create toy models and brands for our children,” he said.
Since the center’s responsibility is to review and approve the toy production in the country, and the toy manufacturers must obtain their permits from the organization to present new products, the IDCYA enters into negotiations with the manufacturers to design toys in accordance with Iranian lifestyle, he said.
The center is also involved in attracting investment for toy manufacturing and cooperates with the private sector, Aliakbarzadeh noted.
The Secretariat of the Council for Supervision of Design, Manufacture and Distribution of Toys is to organize the country’s toy industry by supporting, guiding and supervising toy design, manufacture, import and distribution processes, he explained.
The center initiated to include Iranian models and characters on designs of notebooks and other stationaries and even on some card games, he said, explaining that it has also plans to produce puppet characters in accordance with Iranian culture.
Touching upon the institute’s plans, he said at present, the IDCYA is engaged with a number of organizations to review cultural and scientific role models introduced through course books.
He added that children, due to their age, are constantly and carefully researching their surroundings and imitate the characters around them.
“Toys are the children’s means of life with which they are constantly interacting. Thus, their lifestyles are highly influenced by the toys. Toys can teach children a variety of good deeds, including kindness and benevolence, and planning for life,” he said, adding that it is necessary that these products be well designed and carry appropriate content for their growth.
“Therefore, one of our tasks is to design and provide toys suitable for various age ranges. To this end, the center organized an annual event for toy manufacturers to present their latest products designed for certain age groups,” he concluded.
The country's toy industry has progressed in terms of quality and variety compared to the last two years, he said.
Pointing to a permanent exhibition for children which was launched recently at the IDCYA, Aliakbarzadeh said that in addition to toys, but also to books, the event showcases photos and videos as well as other children-related products such as clothes and foods.