The Ministry of Culture is responsible for specialist training in 110 Music and Fine Arts schools from 32 regions; 9 secondary and higher art schools situated in three towns in Moldova; the Academy of Theatre, Music and Fine Arts; 5 Colleges of Music, Art Education, Fine Arts and Folk Art and 4 boarding schools at secondary level, which provide special courses in music, fine arts and choreography. The Ministry of Education is responsible for general education in all these schools.
Artistic education in the Republic of Moldova trains 3 349 pupils / students, of which 1 909 are at the Academy of Theatre, Music and Fine Arts. The Ministry of Culture provides methodological assistance, partial financing and monitors these institutions, while the Ministry of Education is responsible for the curriculum management and ensures funding for these 109 institutions together with local public administrations.
In 2012 the Regulations on functioning of the state higher education institutions in conditions of financial autonomy was approved and the Law on Education amended. Thus, beginning in January 2013, higher education institutions, such as the Academy of Theatre, Music and Fine Arts, began operating in the regime of university autonomy, while the role of the Ministry of Culture is limited to participation in the evaluation and accreditation of the institution.
Artistic education funding is made based on the Medium Term Expenditure Framework prepared by the Ministry of Education. In 2013 the planned amount constituted 99 669 800 MDL. The biggest share constitutes expenses for wages, social security contributions and premiums for compulsory health insurance. In recent years, the Ministry of Culture provides funding at the level of about 30-40% annually for 9 artistic educational institutions. Under the new conditions of self-management and self-financing of the institutions, a real danger exists that some institutions might disappear if they will don’t succeed to make ends meet independently. The education system costs are calculated according to the needs of the institution: wages, current expenditures and other institutional charges. It should be noted that due to the specifics of professional artistic training, the costs of training pupils and students are increasing from year to year. Thus in 2011, the average costs for a student at the Academy of Theatre, Music and Fine Arts amounted to 27 378 000 MDL, which is 322 400 MDL more than in 2010. While the national average in 2009 in higher education institutions spending per student was 6 802 MDL, the expenses per student at the Academy of Theatre, Music and Fine Arts was 25 847.5 MDL. The same is true for colleges, where the national average cost per student in college was 8 709 MDL, while in the colleges with an artistic profile was 18 016.6 MDL.
The buildings of the artistic educational institutions are in poor condition. In the years 2009-2012, investment in capital development amounted to 999 600 MDL (Academy of Theatre, Music and Fine Arts). Capital expenditure from special funds amounted to 431 300 MDL (2010) and 166 800 MDL (2011). Practically all artistic education institutions remain dependent on budgetary funds.
The system is adapted from Soviet practice and is based on the identification of gifted children and their selection for a progressively specialised education and training in the higher art schools. In the case of music or fine arts, the process of training may extend to 20 years. The system makes provision for several hundred students and delivers professional training to a high standard.
Despite a very difficult period, students or graduates of these schools have been highly rated at a number of prestigious international competitions and art festivals.
Despite the problems facing artistic education, in 2013 approximately 357 pupils and students performed in national and international competitions, winning prizes and prestigious awards including: Gold Medal – 2, Silver Medal – 2, Grand Prix – 11, Prize I – 67, Prize II – 39, Prize III – 65, which proves the high quality of the instruction and teaching.
In 2011 the National Commission for UNESCO of the Republic of Moldova, with the financial support of the UNESCO bureau in the amount of USD 10 000, developed the pilot project “Artistic education in Moldova: problems and perspectives for the development of creative capacities for the 21st Century”. The report contains the analysis of the current situation; priorities for art education, and recommendations for developing arts education at all levels.