The Secondary School of Fine Arts is the undeniable keeper of most ancient Khmer traditions. The former «school of arts » has been created in 1918 under the french protectorat and belonged to the « royal university of fine arts » . Arts teaching lasted until the Khmers rouges took the power in 1975 and exterminated teachers and artists. Some of them managed to survive, denying their true identity. Keepers of the traditional knowledge, they have been able to relay their cultural and artistic skills.
The khmer school of arts has reopened in 1980, thanks to the efforts of a few people . Aware of the meaning Relaying the traditional khmer culture had a strong meaning, after the devastating Pol Pot regime was eradicated. The new government wished the return of traditional arts ant their teaching in Cambodia.
This allowed the Cambodian population to recover its cultures’s proudness while reconstructing its national identity. At this time army ’s ancient barracks were turned into school.
Later on the school was relocated in appropriate buildings , then outside Phnom Penh in 2007/8, after the school had been separated from the royal university of fine arts. In 2007, it became the secondary school of fine arts in Phnom Penh. It’s the only public establishment teaching every kind of arts, and it depends of the ministry of culture. It is notorious today that the ministry of education will be soon in charge of the school.
This great establishment is the necessary bridge to cross for students who are willing to become artists or arts’ teachers. In fact, among the teachers today figure the best country’s artists in large numbers .
Today the school welcomes 1000 students, among them 180 boarders coming from different provinces sleeping in dormitories. The school year is divided into 2 semesters each one composed of 15 weeks. The arts training takes place in the morning, and the traditional schooling in the afternoon. A real effort is made by the concerned authorities , so that the school’s level corresponds to national and international standards.
The art classes are divided into 5 sections ; plastic arts, dance, drama, circus and music ( traditional cambodian and western ).
The secondary school of fine arts is the essential link for preserving and relaying the khmer arts.