I still vividly remember my first exam question upon entering university: is the purpose of university education building personal capacity for students or providing talents for the workforce? I answered swiftly – of course the prior! Working is but a mode of living, it should not be the purpose of education.
Perhaps I was answering too swiftly. What I didn't know was that the public education system was built for the Industrial Revolution. There is a hierarchy of academic subjects, based on what is considered most useful to the economy. Hence we have mathematics and languages on top of the hierarchy, followed by science and humanities, and lastly art, for obvious reasons. Schools are like factories, with batches of students grouped by age, and everyone bears a "Date of Manufacture", and is subject to "Quality Control" in the form of periodic assessments and examinations. Learning is livelihood, studies are for exams, and exams are for certificates.
With our society rapidly changing, the public education system built for the industrial age is no longer able to meet the challenges of the new century, hence besides 'literacy' and 'productivity', we hear terms like 'creativity', 'teamwork', 'emotional quotient', 'teach less, learn more' thrown in to the vocabulary of our education system. But is this enough, or are we repairing a broken machine that's beyond repair?
Right and wrong aside, I think what we know is that learning isn't a kind of "system", neither is there only one way to learn. We want to know, that is all.
This issue, in conjunction with Drama Box's Theatre-in-Education play 11, we want to introduce to you the theme "Learning": learning inside and outside of school, learning for young people and the young at heart, learning in the system and out of it. For our Feature story, we invited 3 stake holders of the Arts Education Programme, Mr. T. Sasirathan, Mr. Kenneth Kwok and Ms. Nazreen Osman to have a conversation with one another on the implementation of arts education in schools. In the Columns, veteran arts educator Janet Pillai (Malaysia) shares with us how children in Balik Pulau used photography to document and map the cultural assets of their town in Penang, and Sonya Wong, who is pursuing her Masters in Education at University of Hong Kong shares about her experience in Process Drama. In Theatre A-B-C, our Associate Artistic Director, Koh Hui Ling sheds some light on the different types of Applied Theatre. And lastly in Grapevine, check out our Project Manager Josephine's Guide to Communication, illustrated by David Ling.
This issue, we embrace the collective intelligence and celebrate our diverse capabilities.
Kate, Wang Fang
|Kate, Wang Fang is a philosophy undergraduate at NUS. Besides answering questions about what she can do with a philosophy degree, she is also actively involved in the performance, production, research and translation works of theatre and film projects.|
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