Australia could make arts education compulsory

Posted on: April 21, 2009

In Friday’s (4/17) Australian, Corrie Perkin writes, “The future of arts education in Australian schools rests in the hands of federal, state and territory education ministers, meeting in Adelaide today. It’s a weighty responsibility for government officials who find themselves in office at this particular moment in the national curriculum debate. Indeed, some may argue that the introduction of compulsory arts education is still a long way off and unlikely to happen on their watch. But today’s Ministerial Council on Education, Employment, Training and Youth Affairs could further the debate and fast-track its development, or shut it down. … Since late last year federal Arts Minister Peter Garrett has been discussing the arts’ inclusion in the curriculum debate with Education Minister Julia Gillard. … While Garrett says he is committed to all art forms, including dance and visual art, it’s likely music will be the first discipline for discussion. Much of the groundwork has been done: the Howard government’s 2005 National Review of School Music Education, a 313-page tome of analyses and ideas, sought the views of many experts. Its chairwoman, Margaret Seares, concluded that ‘raising the quality and status of music education will have a positive impact on the breadth and depth of aesthetic, cognitive, social and experiential learning for all Australian students and, ultimately, for our society at large.’ ”

Posted April 21, 2009