On the Need for the Arts in Basic Education
Statement by the University of the Philippines College of Fine Arts
October 29, 2022
It has recently come to our attention that proposals for removing or reducing music and arts in basic education, from Grades 1 to 3, are currently being considered by the Department of Education (Deped).
This proposal is a cause of concern for cultural educators and learners around the country. As one of the national institutions offering an undergraduate degree majoring in Art Education, the University of the Philippines College of Fine Arts (UPCFA) stands with colleagues in asserting the need for integrating music and art at every stage in the basic education curriculum and beyond.
Visual and musical literacy must be introduced early on instead of being reduced or removed from subjects critical to early and holistic development. Exposure to music and art forms, themselves the culmination of complex learning processes, helps reinforce foundations in math, reading, and science. Facility in geometry, for instance, begins with the simple act of a child learning how to draw shapes. The skill of writing, also, begins with the form of pictograms or drawings of objects as the earliest scripts. There are numerous examples of how music and art are able to convey concepts and stir one’s imagination towards an interest in the natural and physical sciences.
As we continue to cope in the third year of the Covid-19 pandemic, remember how people and youth everywhere have turned to the arts for learning, seeking and extending support, healing, and responding to the crisis.
As we continue to pursue national targets on mass numeracy and literacy, recognize how music and the arts hold immense possibilities as channels for introducing and reinforcing multidisciplinary information as well as critical social values.
We hope that the department will continue to undertake broader consultations with stakeholders on this concern, and on the direction of arts education in general. The UPCFA and our pool of artist-educators are more than willing to engage in discussions to affirm the critical and positive role of the arts in Philippine education and national development. ###