It can be hard for parents to value the place of arts subjects. Especially when much of the curriculum focus in schools is on the need to improve basics.
A recent article in the press discussed a report which suggested that poor skills in literacy and numeracy were partly to blame for inhibiting the economy. And poor practices and policies in schools have driven the economic depression as much the financial crisis.
My worry, when reading reports like this, is that both parents and politics can become obsessively focussed on those subjects and neglect others that are equally important like Sciences and Arts.
The Sciences are generally recognised as valuable, even if not as much as literacy and numeracy. But at the bottom of the subject hierarchy lie the Arts.
What parents and politicians, and even some in the education profession, fail to acknowledge is that Art subjects contribute to a general standard of intelligence and achievement as much as any other subjects, because a broad and extensive range of subjects develops well rounded, skilled, educated and employable young people.
The Creative Industries Federation in conjunction with the Institute for Civil Engineers suggest that Arts and Sciences make as valuable a contribution to industry and economy as the core basics and to focus solely on these is short sighted. See this BBC article.
It says that Creative and Science subjects support one another and develop the diverse range of skills needed in industry. You only have to consider the huge gaming and technology industries to see how this could be the case.
But many people are out-of-date in their view of Arts subjects, thinking that it is limited to the making of works of art, viewing this as a rather pointless exercise in terms of the job market.
This is a failing on their part to see how creative subjects develop vital thinking skills. Creative thinking skills are what drive growth, whether that’s in new technology, new medicines, new Hoovers, social media, or new ways to approach learning or global crises. And creative thinking skills are developed through an extensive range of learning experiences, not just those found in numeracy and literacy. Ironically, creativity, by developing general intelligence, naturally develops aptitude for Maths and English as well.
Broad and far-seeing thinking skills are essential to the development of intelligence in general, to the development of an educated individual who can think outside tick boxes, be different from their competition, transfer their skills across challenges, and come up with ideas that industry wants.
So the more creative our young people are – in all its diverse forms – the more educated and employable they will be and it’s important we make sure they have that range of experiences.