All school subjects are designed to develop different facets of the mind in children. Mathematics develops logic, geometry – space perception, language - memory, literature- imagination, and interpretation of meanings. So what should art develop? The answer is obvious - everything!
“I believe strongly in the power of arts education to engage and empower young people.” - Heather Watts
Despite this, the fact of the matter is that in the school of the XXI century your child will be taught to read, write and count, but you will have to forget about the development of creative abilities. Art classes, such as music and drawing, are being massively cancelled in developed countries: the United States, Britain and Japan, and this trend is observed in schools around the world. Especially sad is the situation in low-income areas of different countries and cities.
Nearly 900 students of the Normandie Avenue Elementary School in Los Angeles have no opportunity to study art. In Curtiss High School in the nearby city of Carson, the situation is even worse: they have completely removed music and visual arts from the program. Of the seven hundred schools in Los Angeles, only 35 are able to give children as many art lessons as the program requires. This is especially strange, given that Los Angeles is the heart of the entertainment industry. Creative disciplines are dropping out of American schools for two reasons – the widespread cuts in education funding and an increasing focus on subjects with a test form of knowledge assessment. Half of the schools have made major cuts to their arts programs over the past decade. American schools have slashed their arts programs in the wake of major funding cuts and in the run for professions with good job opportunities. One more reason is that art events do not bring in as many funds as sporting events.
In Britain, the situation is no better. However, here the problem is not so much about financing, but about English students themselves, that do not want to study art. Still, society does not make any efforts to create new programs that can increase motivation, and return the desire and interest of schoolchildren to such an area of education that is necessary for multifaceted development. In recent years, the number of high school students who have chosen subjects related to design has decreased by 50%. Only a few of the British students passed AS Level in both arts and natural sciences at the same time. In this regard, the number of teachers of creative disciplines in schools in Britain dropped by 11%.
Japanese schools reduce or completely exclude not just arts lessons, but also training in the humanities and social disciplines in general. This was done after the Japanese authorities called on the country's educational institutions to focus on the disciplines "that best meet the needs of society."
In Cambodian, Indian and South African schools, the situation is much worse. Some schools lack elementary supplies, programs, and even teachers. Arts education has been neglected since there are places where people struggle to achieve just basic education and learn how to read and write. In most Indian schools arts education is outdated. Nevertheless, we should not forget that it can add value to the cognitive and holistic development of a child completing education as is.
Most teachers understand how this situation can affect arts education in schools. They will work to provide schools with the support needed to offer dedicated art classes that students all over the world deserve and to improve the situation by preparing new art programs, ensuring art supplies and equal opportunities for as many students as possible.