Culture Culture

02/01/2021 - 11:09

The dream about a museum of education is coming true

In early December, there appeared an original and meaningful activity at Quoc Tu Giam (the only university of the Nguyen Dynasty.) It was the first ceremony that honored 367 students who were selected as the best of the year in their schools in Hue, including 37 students from high schools, 130 from secondary schools, and 200 from primary schools.

As the name “Honor Student of the School” suggests, only well-rounded excellent students of the year were chosen; one from each school.

Mr. Phan Ngoc Tho, Chairman of the Provincial People’s Committee, awarding honor students from schools all over the province. Photo: NGOC MINH

The honor ceremony took place at solemn ancient Quoc Tu Giam. The atmosphere became even more “sacred” and lovely with both province leaders and students in traditional Ao dai and turbans. Not only the participants but also the public got very excited at such an original “Hueish” ceremony.

Many people in Hue, especially culture researchers and educators are so happy to see their dream about a museum of education in the former imperial capital taking shape.

It is impossible not to mention the talk between the researcher Ho Vinh and me. I remember once reporting Mr. Vinh’s ideas on Thua Thien Hue Weekly that Hue was well known as land of studies. Many talented people and great men of the country used to study on this sacred land of the Huong River and Mount Ngu Binh. In Hue we can see characters everywhere, on the Noon Gate, the gates into the Citadel, the Thuong Bac Pavilion, the Temple of Literature, the Temple of Martial Arts, at pagodas, etc. Why not a museum about education in Hue?

Also according to Mr. Vinh, Hue Monuments Conservation Center should “reproduce” ancient examinations at the Temple of Literature so that people know what education in the Nguyen Dynasty was like. It should then continue with education before 1975 and now. There would be lots of material for an exciting and diverse museum of education. Such activities not only encourage education but also give people chances to remember their predecessors. Quoc Tu Giam will be surely an indispensable destination for tourists to Hue.

Quoc Tu Giam was considered the only university in the feudal times that remains in our country. It is a unique valuable historical and cultural monument, a symbol of education on the land which used to be the imperial capital of the country. Quoc Tu Giam contributed a lot to training talented people for the nation. Many doctors of the Nguyen Dynasty had studied at this school.

As recorded in historical documents, in the examination of 1915, only 30 out of 3,000 candidates passed the exam, 24 of whom were from Quoc Tu Giam, and the 6 left were from other provinces. That confirmed the prestige of the school.

It was a pity that for a long time after 1975, Quoc Tu Giam was wrongly used as a museum of history with many war remnants on display, which partly ruined the monument. In 2016, the project of moving the museum of history to another location was passed and signed. 

In early 2020, the history museum was relocated at 268 Dien Bien Phu St., Truong An Ward. Quoc Tu Giam is now being repaired and embellished to take the new role as a museum of education following the policy of the province.

The joy of Mr. Ho Vinh, those who love Hue and its culture, and those who always take pride in the tradition of studies of the land of the Huong River and Mount Ngu Binh is understandable. With this honor ceremony, the dream about an education museum in Hue is taking shape.

It is likely that from now on, the honor ceremony will be an exciting event that gets the interest of tourists and the public. It will be a “dual” event which both honors studies and serves as a unique tourism product which takes place once in a year in the Citadel.

Of course, there is still much to do to make the event more exciting for attendees. To students and their parents, being honored at Quoc Tu Giam is a nice desire. It will be a motive for the young generation toward knowledge, development and prosperity.