Newly-elected member of the NA’s Culture, Education, Youth and Children Commission, and director of the Ha Noi Conservatory of Music, Tran Thu Ha, is extremely concerned about the deterioration of the country’s educational and art environment. She talks with Van Hoa (Culture) newspaper.
Where do you think is the better place to hold traditional arts training – in an art school, or its place of origin?
There are advantages to providing training courses in the origin points of traditional arts. But I think the ‘root’ problem is the school’s environment.
The goal is always to create an environment that is similar to the one of its origin.
And the fact that students rush to study lucrative arts which have the potential to earn big money is a reality that exists not just in Viet Nam. This phenomenon will be wiped out when traditional arts are evaluated as "rare and precious".
In the Ha Noi Conservatory of Music, the Department of Traditional Music is always one of the most attractive departments to students.
What problems will you raise for the National Assembly to debate?
The State must create proper basic conditions to allow teachers and artists to devote themselves to their work and display exemplary professional ethics.
We need to make the working environment for teachers more healthy – there are still a lot of concerns about corrupt practices that go on within the profession.
I myself will fully carry out the duty of a teacher and educational manager to help people working in the field to fulfil their social obligations.
Are the State funds sufficient to meet the costs of art training?
Almost all art colleges nation-wide face funding problems. For example, the number of students recruited at the Ha Noi Conservatory of Music has doubled in recent years, but the level of funding remains unchanged.
Party Central Committee resolutions 2 and 5 have provide guidelines for us to work out a plan for a new music curriculum. It includes programmes for different grades, students books, scientific research, preservation of traditional values and development, infrastructure and equipment.
For this plan to be realised, the Ministry of Culture and Information must provide more funding.
What can you say about the outcomes of the conservatory’s training?
The situation has improved thanks to some new policies. We have adjusted the enrolment numbers for each subject in each academic year.
Teaching quality has also been improved because almost all our professors now hold master degrees.
Though the policy to grant incentives for talented students hasn’t been carried out yet, we are doing our best to encourage them. Those who are sent to international contests are always provided with special training and financial assistance.
Moreover, we also set up the Performing Centre to help the students practice skills they learn at the conservatory. The centre is now in full swing. A lot of performances have been successfully organised at the centre with the assistance of foreign musicians.
Also under this programme, a lot of our most outstanding students are invited to perform in the Asian Youth Orchestra. Lan Anh, a vocal student, is now preparing for her solo in Beethoven’s Ninth (Choral) Symphony. She will tour in Japan and other countries with other foreign vocalists.
Reprinted with permission from VietNam News Agency.