Sustainable Education for Sustaining Communities
This article presents an overview based on field trips to a select number of schools in Thailand and one in China. The aim was to look at the teaching of the arts in the primary and secondary curricula and its potential scope in relation to a more sustainable education. This factor lies at the centre of educational aspirations that aim to achieve a quality education for employment, deeper understanding of social issues and the development of life skills for adaptable, flexible individuals with a solid grounding in the best human values.
It is important to rethink current educational models in the light of providing a holistic education that makes links between the arts, sciences and humanities. Research in this field indicates that students are closer to attaining their potential when a holistic approach to learning is achieved.2 Each country has its own characteristics and the contrasts between their various approaches to incorporating the arts into education remind us how diverse the world, is in spite of globalization and the ‘global village’. In this article, I identify some new developments, through selected examples in China and Thailand, where the arts are used as a unifying principle in providing a quality education. The truth of the matter is that the arts can, in fact, be the catalyst to unlock old attitudes and achieve a much greater retention rate in classes. An arts-related curriculum can increase interest in the subject matter, give students confidence in themselves and provide them with new ways and means of learning. Above all, by integrating the arts into learning, the subject becomes far more attainable and students feel stimulated to learn.
KeywordsPilot Project Quality Education Secondary Level Life Skill College Entrance Examination
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- 1.The information on HSARUC was gathered during a visit to the school by the author as guest of the UNESCO Principal Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific the Chinese National Commission for UNESCO and the Ministry of Education, People’s Republic of China as an expert participant at the UNESCO Meeting on Quality Improvement in Education for the Twenty-first Century, 12–15 June 2001, Beijing.Google Scholar
- 2.With the cooperation of the Foreign Relations Section, Department of General Education, Ministry of Education Thailand, the author was introduced to the School Supervisors of Arts and Craft General Education, Mr. Kamol Wearsuvan and Mrs. Nittaya Wearsuvan, who are the Supervisors of Arts and Crafts Departments in all secondary schools around Thailand. Mr. Kamol Wearsuvan is the Head of the Arts and Crafts Department for the Thailand Education Department. His responsibilities include maintaining a level of quality control amongst teachers and providing support for teachers who provide innovation and media for education. One of his major work roles is his position on the Secondary School Supervisor Board that supports educational innovation and technology education as well as training teachers and administrators to progress in their own continuing academic education. Mrs. Nittaya Wearsuvan shares many of these responsibilities and they work as a team. This pilot project was conceived and organized by Mr. Kamol Wearsuvan and Mrs. Nittaya Wearsuvan.Google Scholar
- 3.Mrs. Darakorn Phensiri, is from the Planning Division Department of General Education, Ministry of Education, Bangkok, Thailand.Google Scholar
- 4.Mr. Bancha Chanraksa is Assistant Director of Thanyarat School in Pathumthani Province, Thailand.Google Scholar
- 5.Information from ‘The Arts and Academic Improvement: What the Evidence Shows’. The full set of articles is published in the Journal of Aesthetic Education by University of Illinois Press, Volumes 34, nos. 3–4, Fall/Winter, 2000. The guest editors are Ellen Winner and Lois Hetland.Google Scholar
- 6.Information from the UNESCO Paper on International Consultation on Educational Governance at Local Levels presented in Paris 27–28 February 2001.Google Scholar
- 7.All comments made in this article are based on the author’s field trips and discussions with the Chinese and Thai school supervisors, educators, Ministry officials and students.Google Scholar