Art institute receives authority to admit junior high students

Saturday, March 8, 2008
Issue 276, Page 6
Word count: 770
Published in: Macau Daily Times

By Poyi (Natalie) Leung

The Executive Council yesterday announced the revision of the administrative regulation regarding the organisation and operation of the Cultural Affairs Bureau (ICM) in which the Macao Conservatory will be officially conferred the authority to admit students for mainstream junior high school education provided by the performing arts institute.

The Macao Conservatory is the only institute in Macau that provides dance, music and drama education at its three individual schools.

A press conference was held at the government headquarters where Executive Council spokesman Tong Chi Kin said the institute experienced a significant growth in the past years and the number of intakes had seen a double-digit increase.

In 2005, the institute collaborated with the Shanghai Conservatory’s dance school to launch a full-time high school level dance course in which both junior (Form 1 to Form 3) and senior (Form 4 to Form 6) high school students would devote most of their time on the vocation training.

But the law decree outlining the non-tertiary education system was introduced in 2006 which prohibits full-time vocational and technical education from being conducted on junior high school levels.

Art education, especially dance however, should be started as young as possible and Mr Tong said the law decree could not meet the demands of the institute’s students and the aim of art education.

Therefore, in order to comply with the law decree and adhere to the goal of providing art education, beginning from 2007 when the institute admitted new dance course students, those in Form 1 to Form 3 levels have to undertake full-time mainstream education including classes of Chinese and English languages, mathematics, social science and civil education, while training and practices of their dancing skills will be conducted after a set of academic requirements were completed and during non-school time.

However, the Macao Conservatory was not qualified to admit students to receive mainstream junior high school education inside the campus back in 2007 and Mr Tong said the revision of the administrative regulation was finalised after obtaining opinions from the Education and Youth Affairs Bureau (DSEJ) and the Public Administration and Civil Service Bureau (SAFP).

And the next day after the amendment has been published in the Official Gazette, president of the institute will formally be given the authority to accept intakes of such kind with its effect traces back to August 1, 2007 when the new education system began at the dance school.

Full-time vocational education on dance for senior high school students has not been affected. However, those students still need to fulfill certain requirements of mainstream education as set out by the DSEJ.

Director of the Macao Conservatory, Dr Leung Hio Ming, told the reporters at the dance school in Dynasty that he “doesn’t think it’s reasonable” to limit art education as well as talented and passionate students as set out by the 2006 law decree.

“In order to train a professional dancer or musician, we should be able to start the education on them as early as possible,” Dr Leung said.

“But because of the law, we can now only concentrate on the professional training when the students enter senior high school levels which may create difficulties for their future development” he added.

The introduction of the law decree, according to the institute head, might be an initiative of the government to try boosting the quality of local students.

Dr Leung said students could probably be equipped with a more solid mainstream education background, “but it won’t be as advantageous as like the old system [before 2006] for students who are keen to develop their art talents in a long-term”.

Although the director believed the laws had rooms to improve, he said the institute would do as most as they could, adding “if we keep complaining, we can’t achieve anything”.

Citing musical skills should also be developed as early as possible, Dr Leung said the institute was studying the possibility of launching a full-time course at music school where students could at least start learning a bit of the music world during junior high.

He added that he was very positive about this move which was predicted to be happened “within the next two years” by co-operating with another renowned institute from the mainland.

The conservatory currently has about 1,800 students including full-time, part-time and freelancers.

Dr Leung said the music school usually attracted the most applicants but due to the limited places, the number of students being accepted was lower than at the dance school of more than 100 during the three schools’ recruitment in 2007.

Drama school, by contrast, admitted no more than 100 new students last year.


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