Maltese schools gives prominence music, drama, art and dance

A recently released document analysing arts and cultural education in schools across Europe praises Malta's curricula and initiatives when it comes to promoting the arts among the up and coming generation. The study was conducted by the EU's Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency. In March 2009, the European Parliament passed a resolution on Artistic Studies. Among the key recommendations are that artistic education should be compulsory at all school levels, arts teaching should use the latest information and communications technologies and the teaching of art history must involve meetings with artists and visits to places of culture. In several European countries, including Malta, cross-curricular links between the arts and other subjects may be established. Malta has also recently launched the 'National e-Learning Strategy', the underlying principles of which ensure that educators and administrators have the necessary skills and support for the use of ICT in their work, as well as to support their own career development. As part of the strategy, free laptops were also given to teachers.

The study reports that Maltese pupils frequently make visits to artists' workshops, organised by their art teachers, as part of the school's visual arts programme. Children are also encouraged to participate in arts-related competitions at national and international levels. The study also highlighted the fact that, from September 2008, the schools of art and music on the island, together with the Malta Drama Centre, merged into a College of Arts, allowing for cross-disciplinary interaction and further development of cross-disciplinary courses. The government also intends to encourage further networking between these schools and other artistic and cultural entities such as the National Orchestra, the Manoel Theatre, the St James Cavalier Centre for Creativity, the University of Malta and MCAST. In the long run, says the report, the long-term goal in Malta is to have schools where teaching is based on the general curriculum with a special focus on music, drama, art and dance.

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