The place of the visual arts in Pre-University education in Ghana

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One of the major aims of education is to contribute to the development of a dynamic, self-renewing society. It is significant to note that formal education which takes place in schools and collages aims at transmitting to the young people, the skills and knowledge, values, aptitudes chats will help them contribute their quota to the socio-economic development of the nation. It the country does not have citizens with adequate technical skills and knowledge, the country cannot develop fully. No wonder, many nations treat education as an investment for the future. Visual art education, is therefore considered as a contributing factor to national development for many authorities in education agree that in every nation, art act as a the flesh to the bony disciplines such as engineering, medicine or physics, and that no nation can advance without the full enjoyment of its arts, for they are of prime importance to human life and development. However, it is unfortunate to note that in Ghana, despite official pronouncement on the relationship between art and culture, visual art has always been considered frill in the school programme, but not a priority area of study, hence, due attention has not been given to its teaching and learning. This is because the Ghanaian believes that it has no direct economic value to the nation. It is also believed to be a subject which is understood by persons with low academic mentality. Therefore it has been a little or no importance to most of our educational leaders. It is in the light of the above statement that the thesis seeks to clarify certain attitudes, contentious and misconceptions about art, so that it will be given due attention by educational authorities in the country. This will ultimately promote the effective teaching and learning of the visual arts in our schools and colleges. The research methodologies employed are the descriptive and analytical survey methods. The research instruments used are questionnaire opinionnaires and interviews. As a matter of convenience, eighteen selected schools and colleges were used for the study. The first chapter deals with the review of related literature. Chapter two discusses a historical over view of the development of the visual art education in Ghana since 1920. Chapter three examines the significance of the visual art to the society. Chapter four also discusses the place of the visual arts in formal education in Ghana. Chapter five deals with procedures for the research on the visual arts in per-university education in Ghana, chapter six deals with the results of research findings and finally, the seventh chapter concludes with the summary, recommendation and conclusion of the study. The research has revealed that visual art education has been treated as a secondary subject of study and not the basis of education, as philosophers of education claims. Therefore it has not been adequately catered as English, Mathematics and science, which are considered priority subject in the school curriculum. It is the view of the author that if more attention is paid to the teaching and learning of visual arts, individuals and society will benefit more from general education, and the socio-economic life of Ghana will be greatly improved. It is therefore hope that if visual art education will be given equal opportunity and due attention, it will contribution immensely to the enrichment of the curricula of schools and colleges in the country.
A thesis submitted to the Board of Postgraduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of the Degree of Master of Arts in Art Education, 1990