Monday, December 13, 2010

After five years of Danish Support to Arts Education in Primary Schools, SAEPS, a national seminar was held in Hanoi by National University of Art Education and Danish embassy with approximately 140 participants from 29 different provinces. The learner- centred approach was the main subject of the seminar and the group discussions.


‘Support to Art Education in Primary Schools’ is a component in the Embassy of Denmark’s Culture Program: Denmark-Vietnam Cooperation in Culture 2006-2010. The stated component objective is: Primary school teachers in art educate children in arts, combining artistic skills with innovative teaching methods, which can serve as a model for arts education in Vietnam.

After three years of implementation in Thai Nguyen Province, the 2nd phase of the Danish development assistance project ‘Support to Arts Education in Primary Schools reached national level by the cooperation with National University of Art Education. On Wednesday, 08th April, 2008, representative of University College Sea land and the Rector of National University of Art Education signed a Partnership Agreement regarding the implementation of the second phase of the Danish development assistance component ‘Support to Arts Education in primary schools’. The signing was witnessed by Danish Ambassador Peter Lysholt Hansen and representative of the Ministry of Education and Training. It focuses on capacity development for art teachers in colleges in Vietnam in terms of teaching methods, development of teaching materials and support to in-service training.


An important aim of the seminar was to make it interactive and learner- centred in line with the pedagogical approach, which has been piloted in the six provinces. The seminar should be a chance for newcomers to learn about the approach and gathered experiences. The outcome of the piloting was presented as an exhibition at the seminar venue and everyone could enjoy all the children’s different art works.


Experiences from the implementation period as well as theoretical reflections of the learner- centred approach were presented from both specialists and primary school teachers. The participants taking part in the seminar consisted of newcomers and teachers from the piloting provinces, and everyone was after the presentations invited into group discussions. Here the newcomers were given the possibility to share their thoughts and reflect upon the presented approach together with the more experienced teachers.


The learner- centred approach gives room for the children’s own ideas rather than following a textbook where they are obliged to paint vases. Focus has therefore been to develop pedagogical methods that are child- centred and stimulates creative thinking and cognitive development of the children. Put into practice the new learner- centred approach gives children a possibility of developing their ideas through active participation, and according to several of the teachers the new approach has lead to happier children in the art classes.

Speaking about the new approach Ambassador John Nielsen says: "The Support to Arts Education in Primary School has created awareness of how to develop an action based learning strategy, and we hope to develop this further in the next five years. The participating learning strategy will develop children’s’ multiple intelligences and creativeness. The experiences tell us that this approach contributes with strong and happy children, who later will be skilled citizens".

The SAEPS will be prolonged with five more years. After having shared the good results and discussed where improvement could take place this national seminar will be a steppingstone for the next five years’ support to arts education in primary schools in Vietnam.