Primordial acts or arts?

Here we go again. The Ministry of Education is discussing the idea of removing art classes from secondary education. And that’s just one of the changes being proposed.

There are two angles to the story, of course: one being the loss of employment by teachers who have made their talent a profession. I think it’s fair to say the issue of unemployment these days has high stakes and, yes, anyone living with the fear of losing their job has a right to be concerned. But the other angle is as equally disturbing – and perhaps even more deeply rooted. The education of any further generation without art in their curriculum is somewhat reducing a whole educational, philosophical, practice, and encouraging an inward looking approach to a European world which is traditionallly differentiated, country by country, by its cultural and artistic differences.

Surely, we must keep on seeing our educational systems with a globalised, rounded vision, where the importance of a mathematical brain coincides with a visual one, and where the tendency of students to lean towards one subject more than another is one that is defined, dealt with and endured by students themselves and not the leading heads who, for whatever reason, have decided to contemplate the unimaginable. Meanwhile, the Finns are also in the process of changing their educational system. What they want to do is scrap the traditional “teaching by subject” and favour “teaching by topic”, which in a nutshell gives a broader approach to subject matters – yet there is no mention of scrapping any school subjects altogether.

I have to wonder why art is always the first subject to suffer within our educational system. Beyond my casual curiosity, this should also give me a concrete explanation as to why and how a vast majority of people on the island have a belittling notion of what the subject has to offer. I will however remain grounded in my position: a life without music, paintings, theatre, video, sculpting, and fine arts in general should never be subject to negotiation. It’s of vital essence to encourage balanced individuals.

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