View of the main gate of Peking University in Beijing, China on Sept 3, 2018. (Photo: IC)
The Ministry of Education has recently required all college students to obtain at least two mandatory art credits before graduation.
Universities should set up or designate management institutions for popularizing art education and incorporate art courses in their teaching programs, an unnamed official at the ministry said.
The official encouraged universities to approve cross-school registration for public art courses and recognition of credits earned at peer institutions.
In addition, higher education institutions should be equipped with qualified art teachers and promote the innovative development of traditional Chinese culture, the official said.
Hu Zhifeng, director of the public art education center at Beijing Normal University, said his university has opened 44 art courses for non-art majors. They can also choose to take some of the 399 courses open to art major students.
The courses cover different genres, including music, dance, painting, movie and television, digital media and visual arts, he said. "They are very popular among students and they help students relieve the pressure from study and develop better aesthetic abilities."
The university has also opened Massive Online Open Courses and more than 290,000 students from about 1,000 schools have taken the courses, he said.
It organized 70 free performances given by well-known art troupes from September to December, which were viewed by more than 30,000 students and teachers.
The school also organized special activities including performances, lectures and workshops to help students learn traditional Chinese culture every May and June, Hu said.
Students can participate in the production of gala shows organized by the university to put what they have learned in class into practical use, he added.
In a guideline issued recently by the ministry, it set the goal for universities to make a breakthrough in aesthetic education by 2022, with better teaching staff and facilities, and improved results.
A diversified and high-quality aesthetic education system featuring socialism with Chinese characteristics should be established by 2035, it said.
It also stressed the need for special aesthetic education institutions to find innovative ways to foster talent for the arts while improving evaluation criteria.