Meeting of the Arts and Culture Feedback Group at the

Merdeka Room, MCD on 3 Jan 2000 at 7 pm




'A' Level Art

One member felt that the “A” level Art syllabus should to go beyond the traditional aspects of this art form, and include more contemporary art forms.   On the other hand, it was also acknowledged that the traditional aspects of art would provide students with the required fundamental skills. 

It was suggested that “A” level Art students be allowed to use computers for their work to keep up with the times.  


Art in Secondary Schools

It was observed that the Art syllabus in the Secondary Schools had increasingly emphasised on creativity.  It was feared that Art teachers might not be sufficiently trained and prepared for this change despite having attended in-service courses.


Decreasing Number of Art Students   

It was observed that the number of “O” and “A” level Art students had been decreasing.  This was probably the effect of students opting for subjects that were easy to score. 

It was suggested that bonus points for “O” and “A” level Art be awarded, given the extra time required for the subject and the difficulty in attaining good grades.  More students would take up Art as an examination subject if they could use these bonus points for entry to the next educational level. 

It was suggested that the number of subjects taken at “O” and “A” levels be reduced so that students would have more time to spend on Art and develop their skills.  In that way they would be encouraged to take Art as an examination subject.  

It was observed that compared to Art, Music had more recognition in Singapore and was more established.  This was probably the result of the formal exams offered by the ABRSM and other boards, and the systematic benchmarking of standards (eg Grades 1 – 8 etc).  With Art, no such formal assessment had been provided. 

It was recommended that there should be more approaches to create an environment for the appreciation of art. 


Foreign Art Teachers

It was pointed out that the art colleges like LaSalle have hired many foreigner lecturers.   It was felt that more opportunities should be given to the training of local teachers so as to build on the existing talent pool of locals instead of constantly depending on foreigners.  

It was pointed out that foreigner teachers would have a cultural bias, and this would affect what they considered “quality” in Art.  While they may help locals understand their kind of art, they might not develop local art because they may not be able to recognise “quality” in local art. 

It was pointed out that local artists have felt displaced by foreign talent.  If local talent was not developed and recognised, the result would be talent loss and talent drain.  There would be fewer local artists who would be able to express and capture important events from an Asian point of view.  Artists who have seen the different stages of national development would be very important in this respect. 

The issue of transference of skills was raised. The question of how much talent was actually developed by foreigner Art teachers was asked.   


It was recommended that this topic of Art in Singapore be further discussed at the next meeting.