UNESCO APPEALS FOR THE PROMOTION OF ARTS EDUCATION AND CREATIVITY AT SCHOOL TO HELP CONSTRUCT A CULTURE OF PEACE

 

Paris, November 3 {No.99-241} UNESCOPRESSE - UNESCO Director-General Federico Mayor launched an Appeal for the Promotion of Arts Education and Creativity at School as part of the construction of a Culture of Peace at the Organization's Headquarters this evening in the presence of internationally renowned artists: the pianist Chow Ching Ling, cellist Mstislav Rostropovich, actress Hanna Schygulla, composer Miguel Angel Estrella, film director Roger Coggio, writer Laredj Waciny and sculptors Ousmane Sow and Yaakov Agam.

Here is the full text of the Appeal:

"There is a lack of mediation and creativity everywhere, especially in schools. The arts are missing from our lives and we are giving way to violence". This is what the famous violinist and conductor Lord Yehudi Menuhin saw around him at the close of this century, after having devoted his life to music and the quest for a better world.

"Today we are clearly and strongly aware of the important influence of the creative spirit in shaping the human personality, bringing out the full potential of children and adolescents and maintaining their emotional balance - all factors which foster harmonious behaviour.

"At a time when family and social structures are changing, with often adverse effects on children and adolescents, the school of the twenty-first century must be able to anticipate the new needs by according a special place to the teaching of artistic values and subjects in order to encourage creativity, which is a distinctive attribute of the human species. Creativity is our hope.

"A more balanced kind of education is now needed, with scientific, technical and sports disciplines, the human sciences and art education placed on an equal footing at the different stages of schooling, during which children and adolescents must be able to accede to a learning process that is beneficial, more broadly, to their intellectual and emotional balance. In that respect
play activities, as a vital form of creativity, are one of the factors that deserve to be encouraged in the teaching of the arts. Arts
teaching should stimulate the body as well as the mind. By setting the senses in motion, it creates a memory which sharpens the sensitivity of the child and makes him or her more receptive to other forms of knowledge, notably scientific knowledge. Furthermore, it develops individuals' creative faculty and directs their aggressiveness towards the symbolic objects of their choice.

"The time has come to give all school-going children the benefit of such teaching.

"The Constitution of UNESCO provides that since "the wide diffusion of culture, and the education of humanity for justice and liberty and peace are indispensable to the dignity of man", all nations are duty-bound to ensure, in a spirit of mutual assistance, that this task is effectively fulfilled.

"Accordingly, on behalf of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization,

I solemnly call upon the Member States of UNESCO to take appropriate administrative, financial and legal measures to ensure that the teaching of the arts - which covers disciplines such as poetry, the visual arts, music, drama, dance and film - is compulsory throughout the school cycle, i.e. from nursery school up until the last year of secondary school. To that end, encouragement must be given to the participation of artists, musicians, poets, playwrights, producers, film directors, actors and
dancers in workshops held within school establishments to stimulate creativity and creative work.

I invite school arts teachers to co-operate with artists called in to work in their schools so that arts education can play its educational role - which is to stimulate children's and adolescents' creativity - to the full.

I invite teachers of all disciplines to pool their efforts and work towards breaking down the barriers between the teaching of scientific, technical, general, literary and artistic subjects. This interdisciplinary approach is fundamental to enabling young people to understand the universal nature of the world.

I invite artistic and cultural institutions such as theatres, opera houses and concert halls, cinemas, literary and poetry centres, museums, cultural centres and libraries to open their doors to pupils from the schools in their neighbourhood, district or city, running special activities for them and opening their facilities to them so that they can exhibit their own work as well.

I invite producers of artistic and musical material and equipment, and civil society, especially sponsoring firms, to take part in this effort by providing financial backing for artistic creation projects for children and adolescents.

I call upon the written press and audiovisual media to run art, music, drama and poetry programmes designed for children and young people, and to open their columns and programmes to outstanding examples of practice developed in the school environment.

I invite art, music, theatre, film and poetry festivals, and also contemporary art fairs and book fairs, to create a section for children and adolescents.

Lastly, I invite parents, members of the international community and international, regional and national non-governmental organisations specialising in the promotion of arts education to do their utmost to publicise this Appeal as widely as possible."

A first initiative within this framework will be undertaken by the French Comité National pour l'Education Artistique (National Committee for Arts Education) with the support of UNESCO, on December 20, when it will hold a European Arts Education Summit which will present a project for a Week of Arts Education. Other similar meetings will later take place in other parts of the world.

for more information, please contact: t.wagner@unesco.org