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IMPLEMENTATION PROBLEMS OF SECONDARY SCHOOL ARTS CURRICULUM IN FINE ARTS,
BENUE STATE, NIGERIA AS CASE STUDY
1.1 BACKGROUND OF STUDY
For a nation to be classified developed or developing, such a nation must attain tremendous sphere of independence, this is achieved through demonstrable ability of the citizenry to explore and exploit their potentials realizing their self interest in the various endeavour’s of existence especially in the educational system. The secondary school system of education as observed by Ukeje (1996) is expected to prepare the youth for life in a society for which are parts of and therefore should avail them with the necessary basic foundation and tools for effective functioning in the society. However, when these basics are absent, it could be said that some level of confidence and all other levels of education will collapse.
The National Policy On Education in Nigeria (2004) emphasizes the inculcation of the right type of values and attitudes for the survival of the individual and the Nigerian society, the acquisition of appropriate skills, abilities and competencies both mental and physical as equipment for the individual to live and contribute to the development of his society. The design of an educational programme is influenced by a wide variety of decisions ranging from the type of educational policy on the aims or content of the curriculum, planning of the curriculum policy or curriculum priorities to operate programmes within the schools.
According to Tanner (1975) curriculum is from the Latin root-word curus (running). It came to be used to describe the “face course” by contestants, in those days, in education it was figuratively used to refer to the course programme run by students towards their certification. In its very narrow sense it refers simply to the subjects the learner for any programme have to cover before they could be said to have completed that class/programme.
Curriculum has numerous definitions which can be slightly confusing in its broadest sense. Curriculum may refer to all courses offered by the school, it could be regarded as the sum total of the school’s planned programme of study, designed to bring about desirable changes in behaviour of student or learner both in and outside the class. Similarly, curriculum has been viewed by Bobbit (1981:42) as “that series of things which children and youth must do and experience by way of developing abilities to do things well that make up adult life; and to be in all respect what adult should be” it is a prescribed course of studies which students must fulfill in order to pass a certain level of education.
Okoli (2006), has also reiterated that curriculum is “all of the experiences the child has under the ages of the school”, this conception was also created by progressive educators during the 1920s to emphasize several beliefs that they considered central to any adequate conception of education. When we talk about curriculum we mean that body of materials that is planned in advance for classroom use. That the teacher uses to promote learning, acquire skills and develop beliefs on valued types of experiences. Curriculum studies provide the theoretical background for meaningful education, if the young and inexperienced members of the society are to be properly brought up, the school and other educational agencies in the society must be mutually supportive. Therefore, curriculum is seen as the whole of the interacting forces of the total environment provided for the younger and inexperienced members of society by the school and its complementary agencies. To reflect these, curriculum must be regarded as the process of determining and pursuing set societal objectives. To highlight this, Ola Oloidi in Okoli (2006) emphasized that traditional Africans before the influence of foreign cultures had a highly structured system of Art-education that was very effective in ensuring the continuity of its age-old art and culture. This was even before the coming of the colonial administration and missionaries in Nigeria by then Traditional Art had its forms of art education which had its aim and objectives as follows:
- To produce a creative craftsmanship and develop the persons mind and personality.
- To prepare the mind to meet up with community participation.
- To prepare a sound mind on moralist and responsibility.
- To promote a cultural heritage.
- To train people for the acquisition of artistic skills to make a vocation.
Ukeje (1996), points out that curriculum must be a reflection of what people in the society feel, believe and do, in consideration of the above therefore, after the coming of the missionaries formal education was introduced and geared towards the three Rs. (writing, reading and arithmetic), production of clerks and church officials. These colonial administrators and missionaries who controlled education did not favour traditional arts and culture: Wangboje (1964) agrees that they associated them with idol worship and barbaric activities. The European attitude towards traditional art and culture persisted even amongst educated Nigerians as it continued to obstruct the development of arts education programmes in schools. It is pertinent to note that in spite of the rapid expansion in formal education introduced by the colonial masters, the curriculum planners did not show much interest and concern for art education until the third decade of the 20th century.
Several Commissions were set up to investigate Nigeria’s need in the field of vocational educational and recommendations made. However it was not until 1969 when a National Curriculum Conference under the auspices of Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council (NERDC) was held and it addressed the curricula issues in Nigerian education. The outcomes of this conference led to the formulation of National Policy of Education (1977, revised 1981).
According to Wheeler (1978) curriculum must have a firm basis on culture, indeed culture is the substance of education. Culture is to education as what current is to electricity, any society whose education is not based on its culture is in danger of being un-rooted and entangled.
The development of art education in Nigerian schools is closely tied to the development of western type of education. Art was introduced into the curriculum of education in Nigeria in 1922, when Chief Aina Onabolu, the father of Nigerian Art, returned to Nigeria after studying and acquiring a Diploma in Art from St. John Wood College London. Thus, Aina Onabolu became the first African art teacher to implement art curriculum not only in Nigeria, but also in West Africa. He began teaching art in schools around Lagos; some of the schools he taught were Wesley Boys High School, C.M.S. Grammar School, Eko Boys High School, Kings College and Christ Church Cathedral School.
Later Kenneth Cross Waite Murray a British teacher was brought to help in art teaching in 1927 this gave way to the emergence of many art students to make a remarkable turn in art teaching and learning, but the result was not adequate enough. Besides, the British trained Nigerian art teachers according to Palmer (2004) had difficulties in adapting their teaching to the traditional arts in Nigeria, also the planning and implementation of art programme by the educational administrators was lopsided, whereas it would have been more fruitful to introduce art teaching into teachers’ training institutions to enable grassroots foundational level.
Fine art being one of the core subjects like every other discipline it is expected to realize the importance of education which is the realization of the overall educational goals of effective National Policy on Education (NPE 2004). Even though it is generally accepted, art curriculum is not well implemented in schools and colleges due to various problems and hindrance.
In secondary schools, implementation problems dates back to when art came to exist as a course of study; many constraints. According to Ola Oloidi in Yusuf Grillo (1967) a foremost Nigerian painter and the Director of Technology Lagos State states that when he likes his other classmate choose art as an academic career, he never thought of the material and social gains which this would bring, this is because the society including educational institutions never trained them to recognize the usefulness of art as a subject worthy of academic pre-occupation.
Sociological factors and general attitudes, Uzoagba (2005) and Okoli (2006) agree that it is unfortunate that people perceived art as a line of low resistance in the academic pursuit, thus art is meant for the never do well. Parents are disappointed when their children take art as a career. They feel there is no future in art since the uneducated people e.g. the roadside Artist are already famous without any college training, thus they refuse to recognize and respect arts and therefore, discourage their children from studying arts.
Fine art was thought as a period of relaxation after other subjects and mostly towards the end of school hours when everybody is already tired. The Head Teachers or Principals and Deans of studies were ignorant of the knowledge of art curriculum content; all classes were still taught in open ground with no provincial art education hall. It is difficult to believe that art is in fact far inferior to other subjects today. Art education has not been able to make necessary impact it is expected to make on the vast majority of the Nigerian populace because of lack of awareness about the functional relationship of art and society. Mhambe (1999) observes the lack of interest on arts by school administrators, those in authority, including policy makers who formulate policies and who must be experts or experienced for the curriculum to succeed and who should, therefore play the role of striving to provide adequate facilities for the schools in order to restore interest in the learner.
Mhambe (1999) also points out that Government of this country (Nigeria) is to be blamed because her educational system, policy and implementation of art courses have not been adequately taken care of, all emphases are towards intensive science teaching and establishment of special science schools.
Art depends so much on public orientations, exhibitions, seminars, personality and interest of the art teacher to be able to implement and coordinate the curriculum without hindrance from others who perpetuate the teaching of art education due to lack of instructional materials, textbooks, art materials by both teachers and students, non-availability of funds from government and principals and none or low incentives for the art teachers/instructors.
Implementing curriculum in Fine art is a complex process that deals with people with diverse views, ideals, and background. It involves parents, students, teachers, producers of educational art materials, curriculum planners, subject associations and government because art subjects have broad value for both arts and science inclined students in secondary schools. It is therefore not easy to state where the curriculum implementation starts and ends in Fine Arts.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Over the years, there exists a low impact of Fine arts curriculum not only in the educational sector alone but also the entire society. As such, parents, scholars and the entire public are worried about what could be responsible for the low impact of Fine arts curriculum in the society. However, the contents of Fine arts curriculum is comprehensive and articulate as observed by Dienye (1995), the contents of Fine arts curriculum is not only comprehensive but also valid to the extent that it is true, authentic, it needs overhearing to address contemporary issues of the society and more appropriate strategies for implementation need to be adopted. Also, Akolo (1988) and Okoli (2006) lament on the problem of implementing Fine arts curriculum as stipulated in National Policy of Education (1981 revised 2004). Perhaps, could it be lack of quality teachers or instructional materials or inadequate periods of Fine arts that is responsible for the low impact of Fine arts in the society. The focus of this study therefore is to ascertain what implementation problem could be responsible for the low impact of Fine arts in the society.
1.3 PURPOSE OF THE STUDY
The general purpose of this study is to investigate the problems that affect the proper implementation of Fine Arts curriculum in secondary schools. The study is to set the goals and objectives of Fine arts curriculum and provide all the students, teachers, parents, curriculum planners, principals, general public with the understanding of nature, values of arts, through practical and theoretical view points. The specific purposes of these studies are as follows:
- To determine the extent of coverage of Fine Art curriculum content at secondary schools.
- To assess the suitability of Man-power needed to execute the teaching methods used for the teaching-learning of Arts in our schools.
(c) To examine the effects, lack of instructional/art materials have on the teaching-
learning in art education.
- To evaluate the capital facilities in (structures) in schools which enhance the
smooth implementation of curriculum of Fine Arts.
- To determine the causes of non-challant attitudes of Principals and Deans of studies on the teaching-learning of Fine Arts in Schools.
1.4 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
Practical experience has shown that there are problems in the implementation of Fine Arts curriculum in secondary schools. The study intends to look into such problems affecting Fine arts as a subject and non-implementation of its curriculum in secondary schools.
- The results or finding of the study will be of benefit to the government and curriculum planners who will re-examine the curriculum content and validate appropriately. These will give sufficient exposure to teachers of Fine Arts on the different teaching methods for proper implementation of the curriculum and also to take care of needs of the society at large.
- The study intends to create awareness through exhibitions, workshops and public lectures that would help teachers, students and public to develop appropriate skills and techniques for effective teaching and learning of arts.
- The study may also enhance Principals and Deans of Studies in schools who never saw art as important enough to be included as a subject on the time table, give sufficient timing, spacious room and arts studios in schools.
- It would also create awareness for the parents, general public, this would enlighten them on a wide range of the field based Arts and encourage them to take Art as a career.
- The researcher feels that after the findings and recommendation given are accepted by the parties involved, the curriculum of Fine arts in secondary schools will be of no hindrances.