The Library Council is now likely to be abolished.
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. 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 and recently (see chapter 4.3). The Creativity Engagement Scheme (see chapter 3.3) is the latest endeavour in the domain of inter- departmental co-operation to address some of the deficits. In 2006, the Arts Council with the Department of Education and Science published Artists ~ Schools, Guidelines towards Best Practice in Schools.
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 is the establishment of a national arts-in-education development unit. No developments have been announced since then. 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 reiterates 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. The failure of the Department of Education to respond to such initiatives over decades constitutes the single most critical issue in arts development in Ireland.