Artists in Schools Programme

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Introduction and Context

“The Ministry will actively promote the Constitutional right of every learner in the General Education and Training phase to access equitable, appropriate life-long education and training in the arts, culture and heritage to develop individual talents and skills through the transformation of arts education within formal school system and the development and extension of community based arts education structures. The rich and diverse expression of South African arts, culture and heritage shall thereby be promoted and developed.” White Paper on Arts, Culture and Heritage (1996).”

The social, economic, cultural and educational context of the 21st Century clearly demands new ways of thinking about the arts, culture and creativity. This thinking whether in formal and informal learning must assist all South Africans, particularly young people to become active and reflective participants in society and in their own learning. It is very clear that fostering creativity is a major priority in many areas of modern society. Creative thinking, innovation and excellence are seen as essential components of social and economic growth, and new ideas and solutions are the keys to survival in a rapidly-changing world. The arts and cultural activity offer a distinct and stimulating ways of nourishing essential characteristics, and as a result contribute to unleashing the creative capacities of our young people to constantly reinvent themselves, innovate and compete in the ever-changing global social, economic and political environment. In a country in which arts education has been pushed to the periphery, with very little investment in human resources with regard to arts and culture learning area, arts practitioners are best positioned to transfer their artistic skills to both the educators and the learners.                           


“The development of interventions throughout the education system to ensure measures to provide basic resources in schools; support and develop the skills of educators; ensure access for learners to all that the sector has to offer; identify and develop talent; influence choice of career path;  develop appreciation and therefore audiences.”  Mzanzi’s Golden Economy – Declaration on Basic Education (Arts and Culture) April 2011


This ground-breaking initiative is a direct response to the lack of quality arts and culture educators and comprehensive education in the majority of the public schools in the country. While many self-employed arts practitioners have committed themselves to sharing their skills and knowledge in their communities, the potential role of Artists in School (AiS) is often not effectively realised due to skills gaps on the part of artists and educators, and a lack of awareness of their potential role and value on the part of schools. The Mzanzi Golden Economy (MGE) Summit, a consultative conference that was hosted by Minister of Arts and Culture Mr Paul Mashatile (MP) in April 2011, highlighted and emphasised the importance of the AiS in improving the quality of arts and culture education and training in the schools. The Summit went further to reiterate the importance of such initiative in unlocking the artistic potential of the young people and also in developing future audiences for the cultural manifestations. The AiS initiative is predicated on the idea that arts practitioners have the potential to serve as a valuable vehicle in the implementation of the arts and culture subject in the public schools, as well as making a contribution to the professional development of educators.



“Consistent with the recommendations of the National Qualifications Framework, the Ministry (DAC) will seek to ensure that the expertise and skills of arts and culture practitioners, developed in and through informal processes, are appropriately acknowledged and accredited.” (White Paper on Arts, Culture and Heritage (1996)

The purpose of the AiS programme is to develop and improve the art’s practitioners’ pedagogical capabilities and skills needed to collaborate with arts and culture learning area educators in schools and other learning centres, and more directly communicate and interact effectively with the learners. Very importantly, this project further seeks to improve the quality of the delivery of arts, culture and heritage education and training in the public schools. The programme also seeks to create sustainable job opportunities for the arts practitioners in the formal educational sector.



“Arts, culture and heritage education must entail an integrated developmental approach leading to innovative, creative and critical thinking. The whole learning experience creates, within a safe learning environment, the means for shaping, challenging, affirming and exploring personal and social relationships and community identity. Experiencing the creative expression of different communities of South Africa provides insights into the aspirations and values of our nation. This experience develops tolerance and provides a foundation for national reconciliation, as well as building a sense of pride in our diverse cultural heritage. (White Paper of Arts, Culture and Heritage (1996)


The objectives of the AiS project are to;

  • Unleash the creative capacities of the young people to thrive and compete in the knowledge economy of the 21st century;
  • Capacitate the young people to become not only consumers of cultural products but also active participants and producers in the overall value chain of the creative and cultural industry;
  • Improve the quality of basic education through rich arts, culture and heritage programmes;
  • Foster social cohesion and national identity among the learners
  • Forge a closer partnership and working relations between the communities and schools;
  • Create sustainable job opportunities for the arts practitioners in the formal educational sector, thereby contributing to the economic development of the country;  
  • Develop sustainable audiences and markets for the arts, culture and programmes and products in the communities;
  • Acknowledge and celebrate cultural diversities among the learners, thereby removing the xenophobic and racist tendencies that tend to disrupt social cohesion in the schools and communities;



“GOAL 1: Ensure that arts education is accessible as a fundamental and sustainable component of a high quality renewal of education” (Seoul Agenda 2010 – UNESCO)”

  • The AiS training programme (workshops) for the arts practitioners consists of interrelated modules or topics focussing on personal and professional skills, project planning and implementation, arts and culture education theory and methodologies, interpretation, and implementation of the Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement (CAPS), as an amendment of the NCS 2005 came into being in 2012.
  • Creation of sustainable job opportunities for community arts practitioners who are unemployed but have been volunteering their skills with various schools in their immediate communities. For the first time in South Africa, the participating arts practitioners are being remunerated for the services rendered in the participating schools.


  • It is envisaged that the work of the AiS project all throughout the academic year with the educators and learners should culminate into a Regional or Provincial arts exhibition and concert. This event, with resources allowing, should be taken through all the regions of the respective Provinces. Budget allowing, the national AiS exhibition will take place at a central place at central venue as shall be identified by the key role players. The purpose of this endeavour will be to expose the disadvantaged communities to the arts, particularly exhibitions and semi-professional musical, dance and drama performances in the context of the development of audiences for the cultural products and programme in those provinces and at national level



GOAL 2: Assure that arts education activities and programmes are of a high quality in conception and delivery” (Seoul Agenda 2010 – UNESCO)

The implementation of the AiS project is carried out through the various specialist arts education organisations, including the higher education and training institutions. The Departments of Arts and Culture and Basic Education plays a pivotal and advisory as well as monitoring and evaluation role during all the stages of the project life cycle.

The placement of the arts practitioners in the schools is generally preceded by the intensive capacity building workshops on the methodology and the relevant policy imperatives such as the CAPS. During the workshops, relevant officials from the provincial and district offices of DBE, mainly the arts and culture subject advisors are called in to make presentations on the challenges of the implementation of the curriculum as well as all the relevant policy prescripts in the classroom.

Exit Opportunities to be created

  • Absorption as full-time staff by School Governing Bodies (SGBs) in the participating schools
  • Starting own Arts Education and Artist in Schools initiatives
  • Furthering careers in the Arts Education through institutions of higher learning


Training to be provided

Project Management

Presentation Skills

Basic Teaching Methodology (CAPS)

Personal/Time Management          

Province, Region/ Local Municipality: AiS Programme is a National programme



Primary – Arts Practitioners including women, youth and people with disabilities

Secondary – Schools, Learners, Educators and community

Duration: 2013 - 2016


Project Manager’s contacts details:,

  Tel: 012 441 3656

  Cell:  082 881 1899