Is it customary to commission reviews, produce reports and hire consultants for the fun of it? This seems to have been the case regarding the treatment of Visual Arts and the development of a National Curriculum to be in effect in 2013.
In 2005 a two-year review of the visual arts sector was commissioned. A report of the review was produced in 2008 stating the benefits of Visual Arts education. The creative skills inherently associated with the visual arts are seen to foster innovative, critical thinking and problem solving skills necessary for the 21st Century. Educators developed the term ‘visuacy’, which runs alongside literacy and numeracy as essential proficiencies.
The visual nature of the 21st Century cannot be ignored. In today’s culture we are bombarded with visual images. It is necessary to be able to look at and decode these symbols to make sense of the world. Therefore, why on earth would Australia wish to implement a National School Curriculum that will diminish future generations’ ability to compete on a global scale?
The proposal outlined that the visual arts will continue to be taught, however, without a distinction between the visual arts and the performing arts. Visual Arts, Dance, Drama, Music and Media Arts will be lumped together. A preposed two hours a week is to be divided across the five disciplines equalling a whopping 20 minutes per week for each!
I am not convinced that future generations will be able to achieve ‘visuacy’ in 20 minutes a week.