KUALA LUMPUR, May 22 (Bernama) — The National Arts, Culture and Heritage Academy (Aswara) which has been upgraded to university status hopes it will remain with the Tourism and Culture Ministry.
Aswara Rector Prof Dr Hatta Azad Khan said this was to facilitate planningÂ and cooperation with related agencies such as Istana Budaya and the Arts andÂ Culture Department in its endeavour towards becoming a university.
“Even as a university, Aswara should remain under the ministry related toÂ culture as many agencies are closely linked to the academy and the developmentÂ of the arts industry,” he told Bernama here today.
Yesterday, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak in tabling the 11thÂ Malaysian Plan (11MP) said Aswara would be upgraded to a university to becomeÂ the centre of art activities and it would continue to receive support to produceÂ artistes and performers of calibre.
The National Arts Academy (ASK) which was established in 1994, was renamedÂ Aswara on Aug 1, 2006.
Hatta said the new status of Aswara as a university would change theÂ perception of students especially the younger generation on arts and culture.
He described the upgrade as a drive for the academy to produce more localÂ arts activists.
“We hope the name of Aswara with a university status will change theÂ perception of students to opt for Aswara as the university of choice,” he said.
While expressing his appreciation to the government, Hatta said Aswara withÂ 700 students now, offered eight diploma and degree programmes apart from theÂ master’s degree and doctorate courses.
“In the last two years, Aswara had 27 students for its master’s degree andÂ PhD courses,” he said.
“With its academic and management capability, I believe Aswara’s position inÂ the development of the arts industry would be enhanced and the process ofÂ changing its name to a university would proceed smoothly,” Hatta said.
Meanwhile, arts theatre director Lukman Ghani welcomed Aswara’s upgrading asÂ timely because the country needed a university specialising in arts.
“The university (Aswara) will create a special channel to produce studentsÂ as staunch art enthusiasts apart from empowering arts among children,” said theÂ lecturer with more than 20 years’ experience in arts theatre.
According to him, Aswara’s upgrading as a university would pave the way forÂ a more organised arts development in future. –BERNAMA