National University of Arts and Culture – Yangon
Est. 24 September 1993
I admit I have been pretty hard on this government-run school in the past. Established under the Ministry of Culture, the school was founded under the Act No. 71/93 of the State Law and Order Restoration Council. First located in in the Kanbawza Building on Kaba Aye Pagoda Road, it is now located in South Dagon on a large campus. 250 students are admitted every year, provided they:
- passed the high school examination with “A” level
- have high morals and keen interest in the arts
- are in good health and not handicapped
There are 5 Major courses including Music, Dramatic Arts, Painting, Sculpture and Cinematography. In addition to their major courses, students must also study Myanmar literature, English, Aesthetics, Archeology, History of Myanmar Culture, Geography and Science.
Dramatic arts includes Art history, stage direction, and play writing as well as cane ball (chinlon), make-up and marionette. Painting includes drawing, design, anatomy, traditional arts (i.e. temple relief drawing), and “communication arts.” Sculpture follows a similar structure, save for the “material technology” category. Post-graduate studies include Museology (or Museum Studies), Applied Archeology, and Library Management.
A few fascinating facts on my visit to the National University of Arts and Culture:
- none of the classrooms have computers, including design, which consists of 2-D and 3-D blackboard instruction in English
- when asked whether the students conduct research online beyond the classroom, all answered “no”
- the library does not allow student to search books on their own, instead having to go through a physical library catalog and ask an assistant to pull the book for them
- The on-campus art museum is exclusively devoted to traditional arts as in lacquer, temple sculpture, metal work, and wood
- the campus is large and spacious and the classrooms are massive and well-lit
- the potential of the university is great and the professors are all incredibly enthusiastic to learn about new projects and collaborate with former students, many of whom now work as professional artists
State education in any country does not generally emphasize the importance of the arts, and if they do, it is to the preservation of old world mediums such as painting, sculpture, folk, and performing arts. But perhaps the future will bring new opportunities to experience contemporary art in schools and encourage students to conduct research outside of the classroom.