5. Arts and cultural education
Last update: September, 2018
A debate on programmes and models of arts education began after 2000 within the Ministry of Education and was initiated by the University of Arts, Belgrade. Until now, arts education has been integrated in the curricula of primary and secondary schools only for a few disciplines, namely, literature, music, and fine arts. There are no drama, film or media literacy courses and, during the last ten years, workshops as well as extracurricular activities have disappeared from a great number of schools. The Law on Education had the intention to introduce changes to reverse this trend, which would have an impact on students entering primary and secondary school in autumn 2003, but it did not become operational.
However, since 2007 the National Council on Education has worked on creating a new national educational platform, which defines concepts and priorities for further work on strategy. Several public debates were organised within this framework, relevant to the inclusion of artistic education in primary and secondary schools. Emphasis was specifically given to drama education, which still is lacking in the national curricula. This document: Guidelines for development and improvement of the quality of pre-school, primary and secondary education in Serbia, was approved by National Council in February 2010, and work on strategy development started.
The Ministry of Education, Science and Technology is in charge of arts and cultural education. Arts education is obligatory for all primary school children. However, most of the responsibility regarding the content and the quality of such classes lies with the teachers themselves. Some of them invite artists, take children to visit museums, galleries, theatres and the opera. However, they face many financial and organizational issues.
Cultural institutions also play a role in artistic education, since there is a long tradition of cultural visits with children. Recently, several research and advocacy projects aimed at improving this collaboration. Some institutions have special departments (mostly museums and galleries) devoted to working with children. Gallery of Matica srpska, together with a private company, in Novi Sad equipped a special room for children’s workshops – the first of its kind in Serbia. The Museum of Vojvodina from Novi Sad has published a guidebook for teachers, showing the possible inclusion of museum visits in the annual curriculum of school across many courses. However, most cultural institutions and schools (especially in smaller communities) are still struggling with this cooperation. Research has shown that there are problems with communication in the relation between schools and cultural institutions, that programmes are not synchronized and that access to children is hard, especially transport for remote schools (Tomka, Matić, 2017).
The Museum Association, Foundation Point (devoted to increasing children participation in culture) and the NGO Baza Art have organized special conferences dealing with the cooperation between schools and museums or theatres in 2017 and 2018. These conferences showed that there is a lack of priority, will and clear strategy of the Government in providing quality arts education for children and that most of the initiatives and efforts come from individual artists and teachers and their associations. It is interesting to note that the position of the Ministry of Culture is that it is not interested in arts education as long as it is not educating professional artists. That shows a clear lack of conscience when it come systemic efforts in audience development.
Last update: September, 2018
Since the first grade in primary school, national curriculum is envisaging the teaching of the arts: music, visual arts and literature. There are two 45 minutes classes of music and visual arts per week. Literature is taught together with Serbian language on everyday daily basis, so it depends on the teacher how much time is devoted to literature. Such programmes continues throughout eight classes of primary school and is also part of curriculum in Gymnasium and few other secondary schools. Unfortunately, drama and film education are not yet part of the school curricula, but there are schools with extracurricular activities in those domains. There are also competitions of "drama sections" of primary and secondary schools, choral singing, children "October salon" (visual art exhibition), etc.
Artists in school, ticketing for children, special cultural buses, multimedia platforms and digital apps and other initiatives that introduce children to arts in an engaging way are not present on a large scale.
With the innovative “Culture as a gift” initiative
of the city of Pančevo, each citizen of Pančevo receives a voucher of
30 EU to spend on cultural participation (approximately six events or
books) once they reach the age of 18.
However, in 2017 only 150 persons came to the municipality to claim the voucher.
Last update: September, 2018
Six public (Belgrade, Kragujevac, Niš, Novi Pazar, Novi Sad and Priština) and five private universities (Alfa, Educons, Megatrend, Singidunum and Union) in Serbia offer programmes in the fields of theatre, film, fine arts, radio and TV. Together, they provide the educational background for a wide range of artists, art teachers, cultural managers and other professionals in the cultural field. The education of cultural managers and animators already began in Serbia in 1960, introducing thinking about productivity, efficiency and market orientation in the fields of art and culture. In 2011, the Faculty of Dramatic Arts celebrated 50 years of teaching cultural management and there are now Departments for Management and Production in Theatre, Radio and Culture and a Department for Film and TV Production).
Higher artistic education is fulfilling the needs of different professional qualifications except in the fields of ballet, dance and choreography, as well as puppet theatre. Various initiatives are being planned to launch adequate courses for ballet students and choreographers. Recently, the Institute for Contemporary Dance organised a 3 years BA education in this domain. The Institute is a department of the Faculty for the Management in Engineering. Accredited for study programmes in art field, the Institute had been led by a group of artists educated abroad. The Institute also has a MA programme in the area of dance performance (IUI Transition Dance Kompanija).
Graduates from art schools (except fine art graduates) can easily find a job, and there are many professions where the demand is greater than "the supply" (music teachers, various orchestra players, sound engineers, cultural managers, etc.).
Following the approval of a new University Law in Serbia in 2006, all faculties of arts have finished the process of reforming their curricula and methods of teaching according to the Bologna Process. The first doctoral studies in the arts have been introduced, in many art domains, as well as doctoral studies in art theory and culture and media management at the University of Arts in Belgrade. In 2009, the first PhDs in arts, under the new system, were awarded. Also, all those programmes have been approved by the State Commission for Accreditation and Quality Control in Education.
Last update: September, 2018
In Serbia, only music education was systematically developed along specific educational lines, starting with Elementary Music Schools (only in half of Serbian municipalities), Secondary Music Schools (in big cities) and Schools of Higher Musical Education (University of Arts in Belgrade, Novi Sad, Kragujevac and Niš). Four ballet schools, at secondary level, are located in Belgrade, Pančevo and in Novi Sad. There are also several specialised secondary schools for design and traditional crafts (Belgrade, Šabac, Niš), and numerous programmes related to arts and culture in different secondary technical schools (such as conservation of cultural heritage, textile design, wood carving, etc.).
There are four levels of music education: preparatory music school (music kindergarten and preparatory class); elementary music school; secondary music school; and a higher music education (faculty, academy, university). There is a special secondary music school for talents in Cuprija that is financed by the Ministry of Education.
All music and ballet schools (in total 76) are members of The Association of Music and Ballet Schools of Serbia which is a member of the European Music School Union. Primary music schools represent 47.37% of the Association’s members, while secondary music schools represent 46.05% of the membership. The number of ballet schools (4) represents 5.26%, while the school for talents (1) makes 1.32% of membership.
Art education, outside of the school curriculum, is left up to municipal cultural institutions (creative centres for youth and children, houses of culture), NGOs or individual artists. They are actively proposing courses, workshops, and events etc., mostly paid by the children and parents themselves (sometimes those programmes, especially for children with handicaps, are financed through public calls). Most state art institutions do not have an arts education policy or department. In autumn 2002, The International Council of Museums (ICOM) organised a working group of museum educators to start working on project proposals to raise money for such programmes. Thus, numerous museums have developed workshops for children and different creative activities. The Gallery of Matica srpska in Novi Sad, the Museum of contemporary art in Belgrade and the Museum of Yugoslavia have regular and sporadic programmes in this respect (last winter, the children could visit the Museum of contemporary art for free with their own artwork and an exhibition of these works was held in the museum later).
Within the system of cultural institutions, there is a network of children theatres and youth cultural centres, inherited from the socialist period (e.g. Youth Theatre from Novi Sad, “Boško Buha Theatre from Belgrade, Children’s theatre from Subotica, etc.). Today they are making an effort to adapt their work, considering new forms and practices. Most of the theatres for children are members of ASSITEJ Serbia (together with NGOs, ASSITEJ has more than 50 members).
Please find the available information on this subject in 5.3.