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Ireland/ 8.3 Arts and cultural education  

8.3.1 Institutional overview

The paucity of provision for the arts in Irish education is well documented. The Arts Council has had a long history of involvement with the arts in education, from the perspectives of advocacy and policy development, as well as through direct schools programmes but it is severely constrained in terms of resources to address the needs of arts and cultural education in Ireland, a domain that falls properly within the remit of the Department of Education and Skills. There has been a significant improvement in arts provision in the curriculum for primary schools which bears witness to a welcome and momentous shift in the perspective on the full development of the child: it now remains to resource this adequately. The glaring shortcomings of Irish education particularly in relation to music have been pointed out regularly. A 2003 Arts Council publication Supporting Arts in Education lists and details the programmes of 104 funded organisations, 33 local authorities and 10 national cultural institutions engaged in arts education as well as Arts Council awards and opportunities for arts educators. In July 2008 the Points of Alignment Report articulated once again the case for arts in education and the role of the Department of Education in this enterprise.  First among its recommendations was the establishment of a national arts-in-education development unit. However in its ongoing advocacy work the Arts Council published in 2008 a digest of information on 72 research reports published in relation to the arts in education between 1979 and mid-2007 (Arts, Education and Other Learning Settings). In their planning document, Developing the Arts in Ireland 2011-2013, the Arts Council reiterated its wish to build on the 2008 Report of the Special Committee on Arts and Education and to work with the Department of Education and Skills as well as the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs.  The importance of this is a country with nearly one million young people is self- evident. Finally in the current year, the Departments of Arts and Education published the Arts in Education Charter to a mixed response (see chapter 3.3 and chapter 4.3).

The Broadcasting Act 2009 gave responsibility to the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland for the promotion of media literacy through its Sound and Vision II scheme. To date, as documented in a recent review, media literacy has not figured substantially in the output of this scheme.  The New Directions in Film and Media Literacy report 2012, produced by the Irish Film Institute offered a number of recommendations including a short course for the new Junior Cert and an initiative with the Irish Film Board to introduce Irish language films into the classroom.

Chapter published: 10-06-2015

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