Wednesday, 9 May 2018

Shonibare, others protest exclusion of creative subjects in new UK education system

Tonka Shonibare

Nigerian-British artist, Yinka Shonibare and over 100 others in the U.K, including Tracey Emin, Jeremy Deller, Lubaina Himid, Antony Gormley, Anish Kapoor, Rachel Whiteread and Grayson Perry, have written protest letter against what they noted as decline of art in state-owned schools.

The letter, according to The Guardian of UK was sent to the newspaper, alerting the country of how exclusion of creative subjects from the new education structure affects secondary school's arts knowledge.

 Text of the letter:
We are writing to express our grave concern about the exclusion of arts and creative subjects from the new English baccalaureate, or Ebacc, for secondary school children, which we believe will seriously damage the future of many young people in this country. There is compelling evidence that the study of creative subjects is in
decline in state schools and that entries to arts and creative subjects have fallen to their lowest level in a decade. Young people are being deprived of opportunities for personal development in the fields of self-expression, sociability, imagination and creativity.

This places one of our largest and most successful global industries at risk, one worth £92bn a year to the UK economy. That is bigger than oil, gas, life sciences, automotive and aeronautics combined. This is at a time when economic growth is of critical importance to the UK’s international position. A good education fit for the 21st century, must be broad and balanced. The Ebacc in its current form is not the way to achieve this.

We call on the government to reverse its decision to blindly press ahead with the Ebacc, regardless of the consultation responses and in the face of overwhelming evidence against this policy. If we care about social mobility, wellbeing and economic growth – and if we want our creative industries to continue to flourish – we need to rebalance our education system so that the arts are valued just as much as other subjects. Every child should have equal access to the benefits that the arts and culture bring, not just a privileged few.

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