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January 26, 2016

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Home » Metro » Education

Arts to take center stage in school plan

WANDERING around art galleries and museums will be a regular feature of school life, thanks to a curriculum reform package aimed at broadening young minds.

Teachers will soon be accompanying students into venues where they will be exposed to the arts, said Shanghai vice mayor Weng Tiehui at a meeting with local political advisers yesterday.

“Shanghai has been emphasizing artistic education and requiring students to have at least one artistic skill before graduating from high school,” Weng said at the fourth session of the 12th Shanghai Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference.

“We plan to blend watching dramas or seeing exhibitions into curricula, such as Chinese, art and music courses. (We will take) students into artistic venues.

“We hope that our children will enjoy visiting theaters, galleries and museums after work to make their life more colorful when they grow up,” she added.

“Most theaters for adolescents are empty on weekdays, which means our schools have not made good use of them,” said Cai Jinping, a political adviser and director of the Children’s Theater of China Welfare Institute. “Artistic education should not be limited to music or art classes in schools,” Cai said.

“We have to bring children into professional venues to experience the complete presentation of real and elegant arts in person.”

Wang Yang, principal of Caoyang No 2 High School, welcomed the plan, saying that Chinese students do not enjoy the same standard of arts-oriented extracurricular activities that are taken for granted in western countries.

“It’s important to cultivate artistic tastes in our children when they are young. Listening to a concert when being taught about a musician, or seeing an exhibition after learning about the artist, would be really helpful in understanding the arts,” he told Shanghai Daily.

“But most students focus on lessons at school and only some who are members of student artistic groups have the opportunity to visit artistic venues regularly.”

He said that some parents bring children to concerts or exhibitions on weekends, but not every family can afford it.

“Visits to galleries and theaters are cheaper when they are organized by schools,” Wang said, adding that the government could help to improve Shanghai’s cultural scene by building new arts venues.


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