Arts Education

 Art Education Cubject Committee  Members

“Art refers to the conscious effort of human beings to arrange color, shapes, lines, sounds, movements, and sensory phenomena to express their ideas and feelings about themselves and their world” (Cohen and Gaines). Arts Education is a collective term for the four separate and distinct disciplines of dance, music, theatre arts, and visual arts, each with its own body of content and skills. Arts Education should be viewed as a full partner in the academic community and fundamental to the total school curriculum. We must consider and identify arts education as part of each child’s basic education as core, academic subjects. The arts are one of the best ways to teach 21st century skills such as creativity and innovation; critical thinking and problem solving; and communication and collaboration.

In today’s globally competitive world, innovative thinking and creativity are essential for all school children. High quality, standards-based instruction in the arts develops these skills and effectively engages, retains, and prepares future-ready students for graduation and success in an entrepreneurial economy. Dance, music, theatre arts, and visual arts, taught by arts educators and integrated throughout the curriculum, are critical to 21st century education.

The introduction of new Arts Education curriculum in our Bhutanese schools was actually resolved from the 11th Annual Education Conference held from 7th -12th January, 2008 based on the need from the field based on its positive impact. Further, the 22nd CAPSD Board Meeting (May 6, 2008) resolved under Resolution 23 that Arts Education Section be established and form a separate Subject Committee/Task Force in the CAPSD. Being new, the Section considered at an appropriate time in availing the expertise of a TA (Technical Assistance). A detailed plan was prepared after the section was established in May 2008.

After inviting “expression of interest” from all dzongkhags, and based on their art portfolios, nine teachers were selected as members of the Subject Committee in August 2008. The Committee also included lecturers of art from the two colleges of education. Starting from November 2008, a need analysis survey was carried out to help in planning for the curriculum framework development. The workshop on Arts Education Curriculum Framework Development from PP-IV was conducted in 2009. This writers’ workshop produced the first curriculum framework for arts education in Bhutan.

After the Arts Education Section was formally put into existence under the then Department of Curriculum Research and Development (DCRD) with a separate entity since 2008, it took a few years to develop a comprehensive Arts curriculum from classes PP to IV under the guidance and auspices of the core members. It was then finally completed by the end of July 2012 and a first batch of 65 teachers covering all the Dzongkhags and Thromdes were oriented on the new curriculum from PP to IV. A total of 65 schools across the country started to implement new Arts Education curriculum from 2013 academic year. Today, about 208 schools have Arts Education teaching as a regular school curriculum.

The group started working as a team from January 2009. Over two winter vacations (2008-2009 and 2009-2010), the group has developed the following documents:

  • Arts Education Curriculum Framework for classes PP- VI
  • Arts Education Teachers’ Guide for Class PP-IV
  • Arts Education Students’ Workbook for Class PP-IV

In the development of the documents the group was guided by the following people:

  • Mr. Yang Gyeltshen, Lecturer, Samtse College of Education
  • Mr. Ngawang Phuntsho, Lecturer, Paro College of Education
  • Mr. Nima Tshering, Curriculum Officer, CAPSD, DSE, Paro.

As per the directive of the CAPSD Board during its 24th meeting, arts education curriculum materials for Bhutan were developed for classes PP-IV.

Based on the important policies reviewed during the National School Curriculum Pre-Conference, there is a need to diversify the curriculum for better scope and opportunities for our students to learn different art forms and disciplines. All the educational policies; National Education Framework (NEP), National Curriculum Framework (NCF), and Purpose of School Education (PSC) clearly state that there is a need to introduce both visual and performing art to suit the 21st learners’ needs. It is also to provide different platforms to showcase their artistic skills and creation through these disciplines. In fact, Arts Education is all about two basic disciplines; Visual Art and Performing Arts which are further divided into different strands and areas. Visual Arts basically talks about drawing, painting, printing, sketching, craft works, collage and clay works. Performing Arts are music, dance and theater arts (Drama).

  • Mr Ngawang Phuntsho, Lecturer, Paro College of Education, Paro
  • Mr Pratap Tamang, Vice Principal, Gomtu MSS, Samtse
  • Mr Pema Wangchuk, Vice Principal, Khoma LSS, Lhuentse
  • Ms Sonam Choden, Teacher, Gyalpozhing CS Mongar
  • Mr Tshering Dorji, Teacher Simphu CPS, Trongsa
  • Mr Nawang Gyeltshen, Teacher Bjena CPS, Wangdue Phodrang
  • Mr Tsheringla, Vice Principal, Ramjar MSS, Trashi Yangtse