Chu Van An was a great teacher, renowned for his profound knowledge and upright and lofty personality. He left a shining example for many generations of students and is called “the teacher of eternity”. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) has recommended the organisation of activities to commemorate the 650th anniversary of the death in 2020.
The teacher of eternity
Teacher Chu Van An was born in 1292 in Van village (now in Thanh Liet commune, Thanh Tri district, Hanoi). He was very interested in reading and studying by himself when he was very young.
Several paintings by children on great teacher Chu Van An.
As an adult, Chu Van An opened a teaching school in his hometown. Under the reign of King Tran Minh Tong (1314 - 1329), he was appointed as head of Quoc Tu Giam – the first national school for members of the royal family. Chu Van An directly taught two princes who were later enthroned: Tran Vuong (King Tran Hien Tong) and Tran Hao (King Tran Du Tong).
Many students of great teacher Chu Van An were excellent and made significant contributions to national construction and defence. Despite taking high positions in the court, his students still maintained their respect for and sentiment of reverence toward their teacher.
Teacher Chu Van An’s morality and contributions were often highlighted in legendary stories. The story “The tale of Dam Muc” talked about a student from the aquarium, who admired the teacher’s morality, incarnated into a normal person to study at Chu Van An’s Huynh Cung school.
Because of his respect for his teacher, the student disobeyed the Gods’ orders to make rains to save people from drought.
Under the reign of King Tran Du Tong, teacher Chu Van An suggested the King slash seven sycophantic courtiers who exceeded their authority. However, when his suggestions were not followed, teacher Chu Van An resigned as mandarin and came to Chi Linh mountain, planted medicinal plants and continued to teach students.
In 1370, teacher Chu Van An passed away and was conferred a title. He is worshiped at Van Mieu (Temple of Literature) along with other Confucian scholars. Many streets and schools around the country have been named after him.
Activities to honour great teacher
In December 2019, UNESCO recommended the organisation of various activities during this year to mark Chu Van An’s 650th death anniversary (1370-2020), to recognise and honour his contributions to the fields of culture and education.
Teacher Chu Van An is worshipped at Van Mieu - Quoc Tu Giam.
Implementing UNESCO’s suggestion, various activities were held in his hometown in Thanh Liet commune, Thanh Tri district, Hanoi, and at Van Mieu – Quoc Tu Giam, the first national university in Vietnam, to celebrate him, on the occasion of Vietnamese Teachers’ Day.
The Centre for cultural and scientific activities in Van Mieu – Quoc Tu Giam launched a musical composition contest on the great teacher Chu Van An as well as presenting creative awards to students from Hanoi and naming school after Chu Van An around the country.
The contest helped students know more about Chu Van An as well as offering an opportunity for younger generations to pay respect to this excellent teacher from the country’s educational sector.
An exhibition is taking place at Van Mieu – Quoc Giam from November 18 until the end of this year, highlighting the personality and educational prowess of celebrity Chu Van An.
With a modern arrangement, the displayed documents, artefacts and photos were planned as a scroll of pictures across various aspects this legend, helping viewers learn more about the live, career and spirit of the great teacher Chu Van An.