Ministry of Education, Guyana

Tuesday, 28 April 2015 09:40

After 11 years, the CXC Visual Arts Exhibition is back in Guyana!!!

Remarks by Mr. Cleveland Sam, Assistant Registrar, Caribbean Examinations Council Openng Ceremony of the CXC Visual Arts Exhibition Castellani House, Guyana.

After 11 years, the CXC Visual Arts Exhibition is back in Guyana!!!

Guyana was the first place outside of the two CXC home countries – Barbados and Jamaica to host the visual arts exhibition back in 2004.

Back then the exhibition was hosted at NCERD, the team of teachers and education officers was equally as talented, animated and perfection-driven as the team in 2015. Indeed when I arrived on Friday afternoon I was most impressed with the amount of work the team had already put in to setting up the exhibition. The members of the team also took great pride and went and went to great lengths to ensure every piece of fabric, drawing, ceramics or rabbit ear was in its rightful place. In fact, one teacher could be heard asking all afternoon “where is my rabbit ear” and she did not rest until that ear was found and fitted perfectly.

August 2012 Guyana hosted the release of the CXC May/June results

December 2013 Guyana hosted the CXC Council meeting

May 2014 Guyana hosted the launch of CAPE Agricultural Science

And April 2015 Guyana is hosting the CXC Visual Arts Exhibition.

Guyana’s pivotal role in CXC cannot be overstated, but more importantly, Guyana’s hosting of these CXC activities is but one symbol of the close collaborative relationship between CXC and Guyana. A collaboration that has a long and fruitful history dating back to before the formal establishment of CXC. The name Archibald Moore will forever resound in the annals of CXC History as the man who charted the course for the establishment of CXC, then an officer in the Ministry of Education, Mr Moore was seconded to the Commonwealth Caribbean Secretariat, (which we know now as CARICOM) tasked with coordinating activities leading up to the establishment of the CXC.

Indeed, you will also recall that not so long ago, just a few days shy of a year Guyana hosted the launch of CAPE Agricultural Science at the Theatre Arts Guild.

Guyana’s hosting of these events is a symbol of the excellent working relationship between CXC and the Ministry of Education in Guyana. Indeed without such a relation, it would be impossible for CXC to accomplish it goals and execute its work programme and serve the region in the way it does.

The ministry of education indicated an interest in hosting the exhibition last year, however, Anguilla had already signalled its interest in hosting the 2014 exhibition and therefore was given the opportunity. It was therefore agreed that the exhibition will be hosted in Guyana in 2015. I wish to thank the minister, PS Nedd, Deputy Education Officer Chapman, and Local Registrar Sauda Kadir and her amazing team for putting the necessary arrangements in place to execute the decision.

CXC continues to promote and advocate for the Visual and performing Arts, not just as subjects worth studying, but also an areas of significant entrepreneurial opportunities.

Currently, the Council offers Visual Arts at the CSEC level and Art and Design at the CAPE level. Music and Theatre Arts are offered at CSEC, and last September CXC introduced Performing Arts at CAPE with options in Music, Drama, Cinematic Arts, and Dance.

The rationale of the revised Visual Arts syllabus speaks to the fact that, like all other CSEC subjects, the Visual Arts encompasses all three domains of learning: the cognitive, affective and psychomotor. In terms of its pedagogy, the subject covers such topics as the theory and history of art, elements and principles of design and manipulative or practical skills. It is important to stress these aspects of the syllabus as many of the detractors of Arts education dismiss the subject as just something to fill a spare period. CXC sincerely hopes that such archaic thinking is a thing of the past; as a region, we have long moved beyond this misguided perception of education. In addition, as our societies become more sophisticated and develop an appreciation for the finer things of life, our concept of arts must also change.

The Visual Arts syllabus comprises 3 components: two-dimensional expressive forms, 3-dimensional expressive forms and the theory, process and practice of Visual Arts, commonly called the Reflective Journal.

Ladies and gentlemen, the reflective journal is a significant body of work which reflects the candidate’s exposure to Theory, Process and Practice of Visual Arts. It is required that the journal is maintained over the six terms of the 2-year course and shows evidence of research undertaken, inclusive of samples, photographs, interviews, critiques, descriptive, and analytic and personal statements and reflections. It must contain no less than 1000 words.

Therefore, not only must the students be able to draw, paint, and use all of the other exciting techniques and media they are exposed to in Visual Arts, but they must understand the theoretical underpinnings of the artforms in which they are engaged.

In September 2013, CXC introduced Digital Media, one of the most exciting subjects ever to be offered in high schools in the Caribbean. Digital Media was examined for the first time last year May/June. It was the first 100 percent paper-less examination offered by CXC.

Candidates doing Digital Media will be able to design state-of-the-art websites, develop Apps for various purposes, and produce animations and videos, games among others.

cleveland samI am sure at one of our future exhibitions, the works of the Digital Media students will be on display, but rather than using vertical boxes and wooden display boards, that exhibition would be using plasma screens, smart boards, high-definition television and 3-dimensional projectors – wow, what an exciting future which lies ahead for our students!! I sincerely encourage schools in Guyana to get on board with this exciting subject.

The artist has as much a great role to play in our society as other professionals, be it a lawyer, doctor or teacher. Recognizing this fact, CXC and the University of the West Indies have teamed up to reward the most outstanding performers in the CSEC examinations in 7 cognate areas each year with a full scholarship to any of UWI’s campuses to pursue the area of study of their choice. Two of these scholarships are reserved for Visual Arts students – one for the best 3-dimensional work and the other for the best 2-dimensional work. This is the importance CXC attaches to the arts; Visual Arts is the only cognate area allocated two awards.

“Studio Thinking: The Real Benefits of Visual Arts Education” was published in March 2013 … it’s the culmination of the first in-depth study of the impact of arts education and focuses on the benefits accrued through classes in painting, drawing, sculpture and the other visual arts.
The authors argue that “habits of the mind” taught in Visual Arts have positive impacts on student learning across the curriculum. For example, students who study the arts seriously are taught to see better, to envision, to persist, to be playful and learn from mistakes, to make critical judgments and justify such judgments,” the authors conclude.

On behalf of CXC, I wish to congratulate the ministry’s team that organized this event and the students and teachers who worked hard to ensure it is a success.

Special thanks to the students of President’s College who spent their Sunday making this impressive rangoli. It was an exercise in focused dedication, patience, precision, commitment to excellence.

In a world filled with pessimism, today’s exhibition compels us to look to the future with optimism!!

Thank you

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