Reducing high school art from five to three will limit student choice and “water down” their learning, say teachers and artists.
As part of the proposed reform, NCEA levels 2 and 3 in painting, printmaking and sculpture will be combined into a single visual arts subject, and photography will be expanded to include moving images.
Three Maori artistic disciplines will be introduced: raranga (weaving), mau rākau (a traditional martial art) and whakairo (sculpture).
A petition has been launched to oppose the mix of topics, with critics saying they will limit options for gifted students, those of Maori and Pasifika descent, speakers of other languages, refugees and neural learners various.
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A working paper from the Ministry of Education (MoE) states that “the number of students in the discipline as a whole is low, and those taking more of a visual art subject even smaller”.
However, he also acknowledges that “combining three subjects into one seems to conflict with the goal of having more opportunities to specialize and deepen knowledge and skills at NCEA levels 2 and 3. “.
Esther Hansen teaches art at Pukekohe High School in Auckland and is co-coordinator of the Gifted and Talented program.
She started the petition to stop the proposed “collapse” of five subjects to three, which she said is a “misunderstanding of the visual arts.”
“I firmly believe that we should keep five subjects,” she said. “Practical visual arts develop skills that cannot be achieved in essays. Practical skills are so essential.
While she welcomes the introduction of Maori arts, she believes that this should not come at the expense of existing subjects.
“In no other area are you removing topics to make this happen.”
The matter is currently open for consultation, but the education ministry’s investigation is “biased enough to achieve the desired result,” she said.
Alexis Neal is a working artist specializing in printmaking and weaving. She also teaches at the Browne School of Arts in Auckland and says the proposed reforms are “really problematic”.
“Diluting an art subject doesn’t give options to the next generation,” she said.
“We are not all academics. Often, children have learning difficulties and art is where their voice can be heard.
“A lot of our Maori and Pacific Islander children engage and learn throughout the creative process and that’s what the arts do for a lot of people. ”
Steve Lovett, who works as a support teacher at the University of Auckland and previously taught at the School of Visual Art at the Manukau Institute of Technology, said the immediate consequence would be that students entering higher education “Will have even less experience of artistic creation. ”.
“The proposed changes to the NCEA may incorporate some rather uncomfortable notions that militate against students from lower deciles,” he said.
This would lead to the introduction of an “uncomfortable classist notion” in education.
“Anyone in a position to contribute to this discussion needs to step in now because the changes are really important. They will have huge implications for students.
The NCEA Change Agenda has seven goals, including making the NCEA more accessible, providing equal status to mātauranga Māori, and strengthening literacy and numeracy requirements and assessments.
Ellen MacGregor-Reid, assistant secretary for early learning and student achievement at the Education Department, said they “are currently looking at a list of NCEA level 2 and 3 subjects.”
“Decisions have yet to be made on what topics will be available, and we are seeking comments until August 13,” she said.
Regarding the petition, she said, “It is great that New Zealand’s creative communities are engaging in this process and (we) will consider any comments received.”
The Ministry of Education survey can be completed in English or in te reo Maori and ends on Friday.