Art for Education
In the year 2000 in Dakar, Senegal, countries undertook an assessment of what had been achieved in basic education since the First World Conference on Education for All (EFA) held in Jomtien, Thailand, in 1990. The EFA 2000 Assessment conducted at national, regional and global levels showed that progress had been made over the previous decade towards achieving the vision reflected in the Jomtien Declaration. Investments had been made primarily in improving school infrastructure as well as addressing access-related issues in order to increase enrolment. Consequently, many more children, and especially many more boys, had entered primary school. However, retention rates remained low and dropping out before reaching grade 5 remained high.
This situation highlights the fact that getting children into school is only half of the battle. The other half is ensuring that they are given a quality education, one that fits their own lives, aspirations and interests as well as those of their families. Yet when faced with a poor quality educational system, the lack of qualified and motivated teachers, insufficient and unattractive teaching and learning materials and curricula that are not child-friendly in content and process, many children and their families doubt that an education is worthwhile. If this quality of education does not materialize, and classroom learning continues to be a dull, tiresome duty, then children and their parents see little reason for schooling, especially when the money spent on it may be needed very badly for meeting other basic needs.
It is a well-established fact that arts education has a positive impact on children’s learning achievement, their ability to work in teams, their self-esteem, their creativity and problem-solving skills and the like. Most of the research and experimental studies supporting this fact have been carried out in the United States, Europe and well-developed Asian cities such as Hong Kong, where the availability of trained artists, art museums, theatres and other fine art institutions are readily available. But the situation for less-developed countries and the realities of their rural schools, particularly in Asia, remains quite different, as does the role of art in learning.
KeywordsBasic Education Corporal Punishment Study Lesson Rural School Education Position
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- Isvaran, S. 2004. Creative attempts at justifying creativity in the regular school curriculum. Unpublished case study presented at the Art and Education Symposium in Hong Kong in January. Available online at www.unescobkk.org/culture.
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