OPEN LETTER TO GOVERNMENT - InSEA
25th November 2020
Dear Minister Caruana,
Established in 1954 as a non-governmental organisation and official partner of UNESCO with members in over 80 countries, the International Society for Education through Art (InSEA) is the largest worldwide Society dedicated to research and advocacy in the field of visual arts education and related fields. We have also developed a special relationship with educators in Malta, following the organisation of a highly successful InSEA seminar held at the MUŻA museum in October, 2019, for which over a hundred InSEA members travelled to Malta.
During these difficult times characterised by a global pandemic, InSEA has been following developments in art education around the world. We are disappointed to learn of recent directives in the Maltese Primary State sector that have negatively impacted the art education entitlement of pupils around Malta. We understand that the current health crisis has put educational systems around the world to a tough test. However, over the years, international declarations and research have shown time and again that arts education should form the basis of a balanced educational experience of all children, especially during uncertain times like these. The 2006 UNESCO Lisbon Road Map for Arts Education established arts education as “a universal human right” and a “compulsory part of educational programmes for all”. This is reiterated in the InSEA Manifesto (2018), which states that a systematic art education provided over several years helps to connect people to their world and is a basic entitlement of all learners.
Recent research demonstrates that the arts in education can enable transformative action and help people face difficult situations at individual, regional and national levels. In the absence of a holistic, inclusive approach to art education, children could be at risk of missing out on invaluable creative experiences that could help them cope with the challenging circumstances they are facing today. InSEA urges educational authorities in Malta to consider the detrimental effects that the absence of the arts in children’s education can have on their social, emotional and cultural development. At times like these, it is imperative that the arts and culture continue to support learners’ well-being and social-emotional learning.
(Professor) Glen Coutts