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Old 13-06-2003, 12:20 AM
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Arts education has improved - by William Natera

Veteran arts education man Gary Stonehouse talks to Wantok reporter William Natera about arts education in PNG and the changes to its curriculum.

Arts education has improved...Changes to the curriculum

THERE is a more balanced approach to arts education in PNG now according to veteran arts man and Curriculum Unit (department of Education) editor, Gary Stonehouse.

The subject which used to be known as Expressive Arts is now referred to as Arts - a more encompassing name - which takes in, not just art expression, but art appreciation, for example, as well.
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Old 13-06-2003, 12:23 AM
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Stonehouse in the interview late last month said that arts which in the past was an optional or elective subject in schools is now a core subject with 150 minutes of lesson time given to it a week in lower primary schools, and 180 minutes in upper primary schools.

He said the revising of the curriculum has been going on over the last 10 years since the education reforms, and the teaching is now "broader".

"PNG arts is studies and also arts appreciation.

Community involvement is encouraged and traditional arts are used as a basis for study," Stonehouse said.

He said a new Arts Syllabus and Teachers Guide for upper primary is finalised, however, lower primary is being reviewed. It will also be called Arts.

Secondary is being reviewed also now with Arts in lower secondary (grades nine to ten) and specialised High School Certificates (HSC) electives in grades 11 and 12 art, drama and music.
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Old 13-06-2003, 12:26 AM
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"Half of the students will drop out after exams and will have to go back to the community, and the fact that there is a art industry must be emphasised to them.

"People forget that the media, for example, is part of arts. There is money involved, even more so when there's tourism involved," he said.

He said arts education now has a set timetable and a wider content which requires the student not just to express him or herself, but also to describe and to know 'who's doing what' - to have role models.
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Old 13-06-2003, 12:36 AM
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Founder of the PNG Arts Council and former Tambaran man, Pius Wasi, in a paper he wrote titled 'The arts industry cycle and its problems in Papua New Guinea' in 2002, stated that arts teachers in schools were inexperienced without national, international, and arts industry knowledge and recommended that "those who apply to become arts teachers must have at least one or two years work experience in the arts industry".
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Old 13-06-2003, 12:39 AM
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Wasi also suggested that PNG adopt a program being used in schools in the Northern Territory, Australia, where performing artists are sent to primary and secondary schools to conduct workshop type classes.

Stonehouse said that it was a good idea, however, there would be a funding problem.

"Where's the money, but also, where are the professionals?" he said.
Stonehouse said that most professionals have the arts experience and perhaps can teach well, but lack the actual teaching qualifications - "papers with a little writing on them" - which most schools require to allow him or her to teach, especially if its on a permanent basis.
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Old 13-06-2003, 12:40 AM
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He said the curriculum has been put together so that it is "teachable", so that most teachers can teach it regardless of their experience. As long as the basic elements are involved.

"For example, music does not have to get technical, as long as there is rhythm and melody involved. It is better to teach it from the ground up," he said.

In regard to arts materials and if there was a shortage of it, Stonehouse said "there is and there isn't".

He said though that not much is needed in teaching arts, unless one is using the western method of teaching.
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Old 13-06-2003, 12:43 AM
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"I've been in classrooms where the students are banging on tins with gravel in them, and glasses filled with water to different levels, and a kundu made from a PVC pipe and a rubber over the top.

Drama doesn't need much, just imagination.

"If a school has materials, good, if it doesn't, don't let that stop it from providing good education - improvise," he said.

The Curriculum Unit is a branch of the Curriculum Development Division of the department of Education.
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Old 13-06-2003, 12:53 AM
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pngbd thanks William Natera (Wantok Reporter) for his contribution to our website.

If any other journalists would like to email me something, you too will be acknowledged on our website as making a contribution to help spread the word, that Papua New Guinea has more to offer, than the criminal element that is so often portrayed in the media.

My email address : stories@pngbd.com

Photographs are also appreciated and will be posted if you are kind enough to contribute.

rgds

Aussie

'Untitled' by Pax Jakupa (2002), felt pen on paper, 45x80cm, courtesy of the artist :
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Old 13-06-2003, 01:22 AM
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Local Artist:
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Old 13-06-2003, 01:23 AM
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Crowd at the Art Exhibition Coffee Festival in Goroka :
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