Visual art education is one of the vibrant and resourceful aspects of general education that ensures skills development. This form of education grooms young students in the senior high school level with strong entrepreneurial drives to set up their own small-scale industries. This assists them greatly in performing their civic responsibilities which is also quintessential in the development of the nation. After all, it helps these youngsters in producing useful and marketable products that are used in carrying out everyday life activities. It helps them in fending for themselves, their families and even employing some other youth. This form of skill development prevents the youth from engaging in gross social vices that hinders national development like armed robbery, rape, and the like. This youngster no more become a burden to the society and does not add up to the pile of unemployed youth already in the burden sack of the ruling government.
This notwithstanding, if care is not taken, the primary goal of this aspect of education which is to train and equip students with useful skills for personal and national development would lose its grip. Skills development comes naturally to talented students as well as students who do not have any artistic gift but are hardworking, well disposed, and positive minded to succeed in their chosen art profession.
However, it is very sad to admit that most parents and some heads of second cycle institutions based on their own discretion and judgment blindly push most students who are not mentally disposed to read the art programme to the visual art department.
A critical survey of the academic performances of these students revealed that they are mostly below average students and/or poor students who performed abysmally in the Basic Education Certificate Examination for Junior High School students. They feel that these students are not very good academically or theoretically and as such blindly push them to pursue the art programme without their consent, conviction and approval. Most of these students stubbornly refuse to coy themselves in their new professional environment and thus ends up performing woefully in the visual art education offered them.
This challenge has been a huge canker and burden to the visual art tutors in most senior high schools who are just at the receiving end to transform these students to sing the tunes of visual arts whether they concur or not. It is even sad to know that most of these students who are blindly pushed hardly turn out for classes or engage in practical lessons given them. Due to the unwillingness on their part to adjust to their new professional environment, they end up been truants or half-baked in their training, defeating the principal goal of the visual art education.
This attitude on the part of parents and heads of institutions must cease. They have to realize that visual art education is a prideful, innovative and respected form of education that must be accorded with the same accolades like its counterparts like Science or Business education. As such, serious and willful students who would want to pursue the programme must be allowed to read it as it is done in other subject areas’ education.
Another remedy is not silencing the students whom parents and heads of institutions want to pursue the visual art education. They can be coached, helped and heard in lengthy, flexible discussions to gradually assimilate their needs, goals and aspirations. This must be done in conjunction with visual art experts and visual art tutors who can even be called upon to give orientation sessions to buttress the prospects and essentials of visual art education to these students before they are allowed individually to decide whether to pursue the programme or not.
If these measures are taken, it will help in maximizing expected learning outcomes of visual art education. It will also help raise the image of visual art education which is rubbed in the mud, labeled as the preserve of the dull and academically deficient students. In fact, this form of education has been pursued by academically vibrant and giant students who perform even better in general courses or subjects read by all students. Visual art education must be seen as a lucrative profession as it is truly. It must not be seen as the den of truants or unfit theoretical robots. This can be averted if the blind push of students to pursue this innovative form of education ceases while opening a new chapter for the enrolment of willing, hardworking, and academically serious students.