5. Arts and cultural education
Last update: November, 2020
The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport (MEYS) is the primary body responsible for education in the arts in the CR. In conformity with the National Programme for the Development of Education in the Czech Republic from 2001 (the ‘White Book on Education’), Act No. 561/2004 Coll., on Preschool, Elementary, Secondary, Higher and Other Education establishes a multi-level system for the creation of educational programmes for educating children from the age of 3. Framework Education Programmes (FEPs) are formulated at the state level for individual types of education. Based on these FEPs and the rules established therein, individual schools each create their own School Curriculum (SC). To date FEPs have been issued for pre-school education, elementary education (including a programme for special education elementary schools), academic secondary schools, for secondary schools with a vocational speciality, including conservatories, for language schools that administer language exams certified by the MEYS, and for elementary-level arts schools.
The FEP for preschool education establishes five learning areas that include arts subjects. The FEP for elementary education establishes Arts and Culture as one of nine learning areas in elementary education. The Arts and Culture learning area encompasses the subjects of Music and Art (which are compulsory subjects in the curriculum for grades 1–9 of elementary school). Complementary course subjects include Drama, Film / Audio-Visual Studies, and Dance. The Arts and Culture learning area is also part of the FEP for academic secondary schools. Music and Art are established as compulsory subjects in the curriculum for the first two years of study, and related taught subjects may also be offered in the upper grades and they may be offered with the option of an end-of-school exam granting an advanced-level academic qualification. The subjects of Drama and Film / Audio-Visual Studies are here again included under Complementary Subjects.
The most complex programme of arts education is offered by Elementary Arts Schools (a Czech phenomenon) as extra-curricular educational institutions. In conformity with the FEP they teach subjects in music, dance, the visual arts, and literature / drama.
Conservatories provide grade-level education in the fields of music, drama, and dance and specialise in preparing students for a professional career in the field of the arts and in arts education.
Secondary vocational, academic-technical, and technical schools provide an education in the arts by specialisms either directly within a given arts field (Art or the Applied Arts), in the framework of an education studies programme (secondary pedagogical schools and academic-technical schools), or within a course in Aesthetics taught as a foundation course for understanding the arts and culture.
There are four public post-secondary schools in the Czech Republic that offer educational programmes in the arts: the Academy of the Performing Arts in Prague, the Academy of Fine Art in Prague, the Academy of Applied Arts, Architecture, and Design in Prague and Janáček Academy of the Performing Arts in Brno. Other universities have separate arts faculties, such as the Institute for Arts Studies at the University of Ostrava, the Faculty of Art and Design at the University of West Bohemia in Pilsen, the Faculty of Fine Arts at the Brno University of Technology, the Faculty of Restoration at the University of Pardubice in Litomyšl, or the Faculty of Applied Arts and Design at J. E. Purkynì University in Ústínad Labem. Education faculties and some post-secondary arts institutions also prepare teachers of individual arts fields based on curricular documents.
Next to state schools and schools under the jurisdiction of the municipalities there are also private arts schools at every level of education. Since the start of the 1990s a variety of initiatives of professional and interest associations, professional conferences, and discussion forums have been striving for a place in arts (especially formal) education (e.g. Scholaludus, a document put forth by the state-wide Creative Drama Association in 1990; Dance in the Schools, a project by the civic association Tanec Praha; and Dance Vision, existing since 2006; or an initiative that emerged from a Meeting on Film Education in February 2011).
In September 2011 an initiative of NIPOS and the professional community in cooperation with the MEYS and the MC led to the organisation of the Inter-Ministerial Discussion Forum on Arts Education and the Role of Cultural Organisations. The Forum initiated a nationwide discussion of the role of and support for arts education in the CR. At its conclusion, participants agreed on summary communique in support of essential dialogue between representatives of the ministries of culture and education (see also chapter 3.3). In a follow up to the discussion forum, an initiative of the Department of Drama in Education at DAMU and the Theatre and Education Studio at the Theatre Faculty of JAMU resulted in a public discussion form, held on 21 January 2012 at DAMU, on the position of subjects in the arts within the general education system, which was attended by representatives of post-secondary schools, the Ministry of Education, National Institute for Education, and other organisations concerned with education in the arts.
In the follow up to both forums, in February 2013 in cooperation between NIPOS and the Goethe Institute a conference was held in Prague called ‘Impulses for Education in the Arts in the Czech Republic and Germany’ and in November 2017 a conference called ‘Growing Up with Culture’ was held. The programme provided representatives of Czech and German cultural institutions with a platform for sharing experiences with programmes and projects in the field of arts education in Germany and the Czech Republic. The conference provided participants with impulses for the further development of formal and informal education in the Czech Republic.
An Inter-Ministerial Memorandum between the MEYS and the MC has been under preparation since 2017, the aim of which is to support inter-ministerial cooperation and identify the specific joint steps the two ministries can take towards systematically integrating the arts into formal education. However, the Memorandum has not yet been signed.
In May 2013 the initial Week of Arts Education and Amateur Creative Work took place. A total of 254 musical, theatre, literary, dance, audio-visual and interdisciplinary projects and events signed up and posted their events on the activities map of this initiative. As the coordinator of this project NIPOS helped to promote all these activities nationwide and created a unique map offering the public a geographical presentation of an exceptionally wide range of activities taking place in the CR over the week of this event. The Week of Arts Education and Voluntary Arts is an initiative that fuses UNESCO's International Arts Education Week and Europe's Voluntary Arts Week. Since 2013 the event has taken place every year, with the exception of 2020, when it was organised online (for more information, see http://www.amaterskatvorba.cz).
Round tables are regularly organised on the subject of formal and informal education and education in the arts. For example, in February 2014 a round-table meeting was organised on the subject of Formal and Informal Education in the Arts under the aegis of the Czech Commission for UNESCO. The main discussion points were the relationship between formal and informal education in the arts and the role of public administration, civil society and professional cultural organisations.
Another round-table meeting, this time on the subject of the Role of the Media in Education in the Arts, was held in October 2014, again under the aegis of the Czech Commission for UNESCO. In November 2019 a round table was held on the topic of support for education in the arts.
Last update: November, 2020
There is a specific curriculum of arts education in the formal system of education in the Czech Republic and there also exist various forms of extracurricular arts activities. The methodology also provides room for the inclusion of elective educational subjects and courses that can be integrated into the teaching programme of other school subjects. In current international discussions about arts education curricula, the increasingly prevailing opinion is that students should have active and long-term exposure to and encounters with high-quality art that is balanced by direct experience with every branch of the arts, primarily within the framework of compulsory school attendance. The ideal curriculum from an educational perspective is one that overcomes traditional divisions into individual subjects, the division into the humanities and the sciences, and reflects an integrated approach to the world in educating students.
Interest-based and informal education is an essential part of the system of continuing education in the CR. It is an integral part of national strategies and documents related to the concept of lifelong learning. Unlike formal education, however, it takes place outside or beyond the framework of curricular education.
There are several arts organisations in the CR that offer schools experiential education programmes that employ artistic methods. The Society for Creativity in Education in 2018 initiated the creation of a platform through which these organisations come together. They work together in the effort to obtain systemic support using the arts in educational instruction. Since 2013 the Society has also been engaged in the Creative Partnerships programme, which focuses on developing the quality of education and on introducing creative methods in educational instruction. In 2019 the conference School and the Arts was organised, where the results of arts projects conducted in schools so far were presented along with examples of best practices, and the needs and goals were defined for further developing the cooperation of schools with artists and teachers.
Last update: November, 2020
Higher arts education is provided mainly through conservatories and other professional and arts schools. There are currently 18 publicly subsidised conservatories in the Czech Republic providing education in the fields of dance, ballet, theatre, and music. Secondary and higher arts schools also focus on other fields such as visual arts and design. Alongside state schools and schools that fall under the control of the municipalities, there are also private schools, such as the Miroslav Ondříček Film Academy in Písek, o.p.s.
The CR has been a participant in the Bologna process since 1999 and the Czech representative is also a member of the Follow-up Group for the Bologna Process.
Last update: November, 2020
In conformity with Act No. 561/2004 Coll. on Preschool, Elementary, Secondary, Higher, Higher Technical and Other Education, interest-based education offers participants interest activities in various areas during their free time. Interest-based education concerns children and students at every level, and is usually offered at educational facilities – children's and youth homes, centres of extracurricular activities, elementary schools, after-school clubs and centres, etc. They are non-compulsory and organised during free-time and after-school hours.
Informal education relates to all age groups and is offered by a variety of different legal entities: cultural and educational facilities run under bodies of state administration (e.g. museums, galleries, libraries, theatres, culture houses, and cultural and educational centres), NGOs and business entities.
Extracurricular cultural / arts activities are also included within the education structure: in the CR there is a traditional, established system of basic arts schools, most of them state institutions, which teach several art fields and provide leisure-time activities (afternoons) for children from the age of 5 and up and also offer some courses for adults. There is no way (or need) to merge these two institutions (different organisational structure, goals, financing etc.). It would be very useful to break down the established division between school and leisure-time arts and cultural activities of children and teachers:
- technically (synchronise the timing of the afternoon classes at both institutions); and
- contextually (motivate children to attend leisure-time activities so that they can experience and come to appreciate the skills and experiences acquired at both institutions).
There is a long tradition of education in the arts in the Czech lands. The roots of music education stretch back to the 17th century. Through the work of excellent teachers in the 18th century and the foundation of music schools in towns in the 19th century a tradition of formal music education was established in the Czech lands. The number of music schools continued to grow during the interwar First Republic and at that time they fell under the authority of the School Inspectorate. After the Second World War a uniform model of music schools was introduced. In the 1960s these schools were converted to people's arts schools, where gradually other branches of the arts were introduced: dance, visual, and literary-dramatic arts. During the normalisation period in the 1970s the significance of these schools declined when they were stripped of their status as schools. It was not until the Education Act was amended after 1989 that people's arts schools regained their original status as schools and they were given their current name – basic schools of the arts. At present, basic schools of the arts are part of a multi-level system of arts education. They adhere to the Framework Plan for Basic Education in the Arts. Basic education in the arts is divided up into preparatory study, basic study at levels 1 and 2, study with extra class hours, and study for adults, and it provides a rudimentary education in individual fields of the arts – music, dance, visual arts, and literary and dramatic arts.
Almost all arts schools and the majority of cultural institutions organise courses in the arts for the public. The most widespread and most popular are the courses for children.
Education on 20th-century history is also systematically provided, through the Jewish Museum in Prague, the Terezín Monument (education on the holocaust), the Lidice Monument (the Occupation and the Second World War), and on the history of the Romany and Sinti people through the Museum of Romani Culture. However, numerous educational activities are generally organised by museums and galleries and by NGOs whose work relates to cultural heritage.
Last update: November, 2020
The vast majority of cultural institutions organise educational courses for the public and nowadays informal education in the arts is becoming a phenomenon by which various arts clubs and associations (non-state non-profit sector) and even cultural institutions (e.g. libraries, museums, culture houses) serve an educational function for the public. Museums and galleries are the furthest along in this area and have proposed adding ‘museum educator’ as a position in the National System of Occupations and this proposal has been approved by the board that oversees the museum sector. There has been a boom in education connected with cultural heritage conservation, thanks in particular to ‘Enjoying Czech Heritage’, a large-scale project run by the National Heritage Institute.
Informal arts education is supported through various subsidy programmes of the Ministry of Culture. This form of education receives systematic attention from the MC's contributory organisations, in particular the Arts and Theatre Institute, NIPOS, the Moravian Gallery in Brno, the National Gallery, the National Institute of Folk culture, and the Czech Philharmonic.
The Arts and Theatre Institute is engaged in a wide range of activities with an international scope (e.g. international theoretical symposia organised as part of the Prague Quadrennial, programmes for managers in the arts, dramaturges, and artistic directors of festivals and theatres, theatre critics and theorists, publishing and consultation work). Since 2016 the ATI has been systematically engaged in providing an educational programme for people who work in the culture sector through the ATI Academy, which is devoted to teaching the skills (strategic planning, marketing, leadership, fundraising, project management, creative thinking) that are necessary for the effective management of cultural organisations. Courses where people who work in the culture sector can develop their skills are also organised by other contributory organisations, such as NIPOS, libraries, and galleries.