In view of providing students with a holistic and well rounded education, developing the students with a sense of appreciation for the arts and culture is important. As such, art is a compulsory subject for all primary and lower secondary students to take. However, art, unlike the other core academic subjects, is graded but not taken into account for their total score at the end of the year.
As students get more specialized and get to choose their preferred subjects during upper secondary level, they can then choose if they want to take art as one of their core academic subjects which will be taken into account for their total score at the end of the year.
Purpose of Art Programmes
The purpose of art programmes during the earlier stages of education in Singapore is to inculcate a sense and love for the arts. Through learning art, it is hoped that they can become cultured individuals who understand and appreciate the value of art in our world.
Art is also aimed for the students to be able to observe and explore the world around them through using the skills of arts, such as perceiving and observing. Through learning art, they also learn visual literacy, and are able to observe and look at the world in various perspectives.
Through learning and taking art, students are also given the opportunity of expressing themselves through art. They are able to express their creativity, show their insights on how they view the world and their way of thinking. It is a good way for them to channel their thoughts and opinions by making and creating various art forms.
Primary Education Art Curriculum: Arts and Crafts
During primary school education, students are to take art as a compulsory subject for all six years. The art curriculum for primary school art education is arts and crafts.
The arts and crafts syllabus provides a broad based education for students of various interest levels and abilities. It serves as a primary introduction to art and its various permutations by exposing students to various art forms be it 2-dimensional, 3-dimensional or through electronic media.
The arts and crafts syllabus of primary art education also encourages students to create many hands-on crafts and art pieces, allowing them to have an actual feel of creating art and the satisfaction of being able to create a masterpiece. Their art skills are also tested through these hands on activities and new forms of arts are also exposed to them as they try to create different types of art pieces.
The primary aims and skills involved in primary art education is seeing, making and appreciating. Seeing is a skill which refers to the observation of the world around them and gaining inspiration to create art from their environment. It is hoped that they can connect what they see with what they do. Making refers to the hands-on aspect of art, where students are able to create art pieces and communicate with the world through their art pieces. The last skill, appreciating, refers to the students being able to appreciate the existence of art in our world and how they affect our society.
Lower Secondary Art Curriculum: Visual Arts
Pupils are to continue with taking art during the first two years of their secondary education. Pupils who show great interest in art may apply for the Art Elective Programme (AEP), where they take art as a core academic subject, and have art as a subject for all four years of their secondary education. Secondary students not in the AEP can then drop art during their upper secondary school life, when it is deemed that they have a solid and firm foundation for art.
The lower secondary art syllabus focuses on visual arts, and aims to develop visual literacy in students, allowing them to not only see, but create and develop meanings from what they see. In other words, it aims to allow students to be able to interpret what they see into something useful, and this is a core skill.
The visual arts syllabus also aims to let students feel a sense of achievement and ownership to the art pieces they create, as their art pieces are different from what others create, and is unique to themselves and themselves only.
The skills the visual arts syllabus aims to develop in students are extensions of the foundation which the arts and crafts syllabus has developed during primary education. They are perceiving – the extension of seeing, communicating – the extension of making, and appreciating, which remains the same.
Perceiving aims to develop the sense of visual literacy in students and allow them to understand the theories and methods of creating various art forms. Communicating aims to allow students to communicate and express themselves through the art which they create. Appreciating aims to let students have a deep appreciation and interest in art for life, and see the context and relevance visual arts have with the society that we are living in.
Art Elective Programme (AEP)
The Art Elective Programme (AEP) was founded in 1984, to allow talented and art students who are interested in art to take art as an examined, core academic subject which contributes to their annual grade.
AEP normally occurs outside school curriculum time and thus, students who take AEP are exempted from normal art lessons during curriculum time.
The AEP is only made available from secondary education onwards and provides a more in-depth, broad based education as compared to the ordinary art syllabus. It allows students to further explore with their art, and learn more about the various art forms and techniques of design, skills which would help them in their pursuit of learning more about the arts.