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How art textbooks have evolved in Singapore

Two art textbooks I’m reviewing: Art Starts: Art Design for Upper Secondary (1999) (C) and Artworks: Art for Upper Secondary (2006) (L)

My pet project of 2012 (more of that later) has been pushing me into the direction of researching about Singapore’s art education system. What are students learning today? How has the art curriculum changed since I was a student back in the early 2000s? Why are there changes? Will art for the masses truly be less of a miracle?  I was curious to find out.

I made some discoveries after a brief study comparing art textbooks used for Secondary level students (from the age of 12-16) over the past 7-10 years. The books that I will be reviewing are (right to left): Artworks: Art for Upper Secondary (2006), Art starts: Art & Design for Upper Secondary (1999) and Eye for Art: Visual Arts for Secondary One (2007).

Their similarities and differences not only reflect profound changes in the focus of art pedagogy in Singapore but also symbolic of paradigmatic shifts in the State’s emphasis and value on nurturing visual arts.

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