Education Ministry Continues its Commitment to Art Education

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Student displaying their artwork participated in the Ministry of Education’s 10th Annual Visual Arts Exhibition at the Mall at Marathon on Monday, February 18, 2008. (Photo/Raymond A. Bethel) 

By: Llonella Gilbert

NASSAU, Bahamas – Minister of Education, Youth, Sports and Culture the Hon. Carl Bethel took part in the presentation of awards to schools and students who participated in the Ministry of Education Art and Design Unit’s 10th Annual Visual Arts Exhibition Monday.

Mr. Bethel said the Ministry first introduced the exhibition to develop an interest in and awareness of the discipline of art and to provide students with an opportunity to display their art work in a major exhibition.

He also explained that it was designed to develop school pride in the presentation of artwork, to demonstrate competencies using a wide variety of materials as well as to demonstrate the components of the art and design programme.

The Minister said the Ministry of Education constantly seeks to provide high quality teaching/learning experiences and opportunities for students to grow and become well adjusted, well rounded citizens.

Mr. Bethel said this commitment is clearly defined in the Ministry’s mission: “To provide all persons in The Bahamas an opportunity to receive an education that will equip them with the beliefs, attitudes, knowledge and skills required for work and life in a democratic society, guided by Christian values.”

Mr. Bethel explained that art and design, like music, is one of the specialist’s areas on the school’s curriculum that combines both the theoretical and practical.

“Art is one of those subjects,” he said, “that builds self-esteem, fosters creativity and helps the student to develop and acquire an understanding of their culture and the world around them.

“Combined with academic, technical and vocational subjects, the Ministry is satisfied that the students who take full advantage of what is being offered, will indeed be able to make meaningful contributions to their families and our country at the end of the day.”

The Minister said the Ministry is extremely proud of the students, and he encouraged them to continue pursuing their dreams through excellence in education.

He added that the field of art and design is “wide open” and there are many jobs students could qualify for as result of their artistic ability and knowledge.

“You may be the next Maxwell Taylor or Antonius Roberts,” he noted. “You can become an art teacher or graphic artist, or you may even want to delve into cartoon animation which would allow you to work with computer programmes or become a fashion designer who can cause our Bahamian labels to be recognised abroad.”

Mr. Bethel commended Pamela Chandler, Education Officer for Art and Design at the Ministry of Education and her team for organising the event.

Ms. Chandler said the students were invited to participate in 26 categories to display mastery in the art and design components outlined in the art curriculum.

She explained that the exhibition caters to the different ability levels in fine art and creative craft.  Students also provide the examiners of the national examinations with a preview of their ability levels.

“School pride is demonstrated in the presentation of each school participating in the exhibition,” Ms. Chandler said. “Students are recognised by their art department by exhibiting their art work in a major exhibition.

“Consequently team spirit and self-esteem are developed.  Category winners are awarded points that contribute to the school’s overall performance.”

Schools participating in the exhibition were awarded certificates presented by representatives from the Royal Bank of Canada, who sponsored the event.

The competition was divided into three divisions: Junior High Schools, Family Island High Schools and Senior High Schools, with the three top winners receiving trophies for their efforts.

In the Junior High School Division, first place went to S.C McPherson Junior High School, second place went to CC Sweeting and third place went to L.W Young.

In the Family Island Division, L.N Coakley in Exuma took first place with Jack Hayward High School and NGM Major High School taking second and third respectively.

In the Senior High School Division, first place went to CC Sweeting, second place went to Government High and third place went to C I Gibson.

The 10th Annual Visual Arts Exhibition is now showing in the centre court of the Mall at Marathon, Nassau.