Arts in Schools

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Background: 

Artists in Schools
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 the 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 education or 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. New ideas and solutions are the keys to survival in a rapidly changing world. Arts and cultural activities offer distinct and stimulating ways of nourishing essential characteristics. This contributes to unleashing the creative capacities of our young people to constantly reinvent themselves to innovate and compete in the ever-changing global social, economic and political environment. In a country where arts education has been pushed to the periphery - with very little investment in human resources in arts and culture learning areas - arts practitioners are best positioned to transfer their artistic skills to both educators and learners.
Rationale
"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.″ – Mzansi Golden Economy – Declaration on Basic Education (Arts and Culture), April 2011
This groundbreaking initiative is a direct response to the lack of quality arts and culture educators and comprehensive education in the majority of 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 Schools (AiS) is often not effectively realised. This is 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 Mzansi 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 AiS in improving the quality of arts and culture education and training in schools. The Summit went further to reiterate the importance of such initiatives in unlocking the artistic potential of young people and in developing future audiences for 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 public schools, as well as contributing to the professional development of educators.
Purpose
″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 arts practitioners’ pedagogical capabilities and the skills they need to collaborate with arts and culture learning area educators (in schools and other learning centres) and to communicate more directly 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 public schools. The programme also seeks to create sustainable job opportunities for arts practitioners in the formal educational sector.
Objectives
″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 on Arts, Culture and Heritage (1996)
The objectives of the AiS project are to:
o Unleash the creative capacities of young people to thrive and compete in the knowledge economy of the 21st century;
o Capacitate 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;
o Improve the quality of basic education through rich arts, culture and heritage programmes;
o Foster social cohesion and national identity among learners;
o Forge a closer partnership and working relations between communities and schools;
o Create sustainable job opportunities for arts practitioners in the formal educational sector, thereby contributing to the economic development of the country;
o Develop sustainable audiences and markets for the arts, culture and heritage programmes and products in the communities;
o Acknowledge and celebrate cultural diversities among the learners, thereby removing xenophobic and racist tendencies that tend to disrupt social cohesion in schools and communities.

Structure
"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
o The AiS training programme (workshops) for arts practitioners consists of interrelated modules or topics focusing 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 that came into being in 2012.
o 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’s history, participating arts practitioners are being remunerated for the services rendered in the participating schools.
It is envisaged that the work of the AiS project throughout the academic year, in collaboration with the educators and learners, should culminate in a regional or provincial arts exhibition and concert. This event, resources permitting, should be taken through all the regions of the respective provinces. Budget allowing, the national AiS exhibition will take place at a central place and venue as identified by the key role players. The purpose of this endeavour will be to expose disadvantaged communities to the arts, particularly exhibitions and semi-professional musical, dance and drama performances. This will result in the development of audiences for the cultural products and programme in those provinces and at national level.

Implementation
"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 (DBE) play a pivotal and advisory as well as monitoring and evaluation role during all the stages of the project’s life cycle.
The placement of arts practitioners in schools is generally preceded by intensive capacity-building workshops on the methodology and the relevant policy imperatives such as 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
o Absorption as full-time staff by school governing bodies (SGBs) in the participating schools;
o Starting own Arts Education and Artist in Schools initiatives;
o Furthering careers in Arts Education through institutions of higher learning.
Training to be provided
o Project Management
o Presentation Skills
o Basic Teaching Methodology (CAPS)
o Personal/Time Management

Provinces, Regional/Local Municipalities
The AiS Programme is a national programme.
Beneficiaries
o Primary: arts practitioners including women, youth and people with disabilities
o Secondary: schools, learners, educators and community
Duration: 2013-2016
Project Manager’s contacts details:
email: mphom@dac.gov.za
Tel: 012 441 3656
Cell: 082 881 1899