KUALA LUMPUR: The National Academy of Arts, Culture and Heritage (ASWARA), which will be upgraded to Universiti P. Ramlee (UPR), will not only produce quality arts graduates but can also spur the nation’s growth in a dynamic manner.
Its rector, Prof Datuk Ir Dr Mohd Rizon Juhari said, the announcement by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, who is also Barisan Nasional chairman, has delighted ASWARA’s more than 1,000 staff and students, given that the academy is now in its 24th year.
Mohd Rizon, said, from 2010 to last year, 1,432 graduates have completed their studies in 17 academic programmes offered by the academy.
“ASWARA currently has 700 students. Around 300 fresh enrolments are taken in each September.
“ASWARA has produced numerous talents, such as actress and presenter Sherry Al-Hadad, Nad Zainal, Amyra Rosli, famed novelist Siti Jasmina Ibrahim and many more, who can contribute towards the nation’s development.
“Based on our overall achievements, this recognition comes at the right time. All of us here at ASWARA are ready to become a full-fledged public university,” he said.
Mohd Rizon said the government had previously aimed to have the country’s creative industry generate RM33 billion in revenue by 2020.
However, he said the latest report from Megasains 3.0, issued by the Malaysian Academy of Science, suggests that the target could even be achieved this year.
He said the government also plans to transform Kuala Lumpur into a Cultural and Creativity City in the next five years.
“The creative industry can contribute immensely towards the national Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The data gleaned all this while proves the industry’s importance to the nation’s economy,” he said.
Elaborating further on UPR’s establishment, Mohd Rizon said its main campus is at ASWARA’s original site in Jalan Tun Ismail, Kuala Lumpur while its branch campus will be built in Besut, Terengganu.
“Our focus after this will naturally be on research and publishing, a different path from our previous focus, which mostly centred only on teaching and learning.
“This is because a public university’s scope is larger and more inclusive, compared to an academy’s.
“It is my hope that this recognition will encourage more students of the arts to seek knowledge in this field,” he said.
Meanwhile, actress and presenter, Sherry Al-Hadad, expressed her appreciation over the upgrade of ASWARA. She said the Barisan Nasional government, at the same time, has paid tribute to legendary entertainer Tan Sri P. Ramlee.
“Although there has been a name change, I hope that the spirit and aspirations of ASWARA remains the same, which is to produce even more outstanding creative arts personalities.
“This is an honour not just for the people in ASWARA but also a nod to the achievements of the late P. Ramlee,” she said.