At the outset it must be made clear that this paper is restricted to the topic under discussion in the light of the writer’s long experience in training Art Teachers. However, he is aware that there are other similar training centres in India such as at Lucknow School of Art, and at Jamia-Milia, Delhi. Also there existed a training centre for art and craft teachers at Santiniketan which two years after inception ceased to exist. Five art teachers, among others, had a chance to complete this course at Santiniketan, these being candidates deputed by the Government of Bombay during the years 1948 and 1949.
The form and content of the course for Art teachers depend very much upon the status art receives in the field of general education. Specialised schools of art generally do not appoint teachers with special teaching qualifications, but purely on their artistic merits. Even in the preparatory stages of specialised Art Education it would be right that trained art teachers should be preferred as fundamentals are to be taught methodically during this stage where only teaching ability is required.
The training centres for art teachers are forced to have the courses in accordance with the status art receives in primary and secondary schools. Thus a short resume of the conditions which prevail in the schools will not be out of place.
The present position of art instruction in primary and secondary schools all over India is far from satisfactory. In primary schools no special art teachers arc appointed and at primary training colleges this subject is hardly touched. A cursory glance at the syllabuses of studies will show that certain set objects are prescribed for study and to achieve this, several printed books have been used by teachers. This copying of the teacher’s diagrams on the black board taken from the books do not appeal to the young children at this stage as they are in the age of fantasy. Even the chance to handle colours is denied at this stage though children possess great fascination for colours. At this stage craft cannot be separated as there is no cleavage between art and craft during the early stage of Art Education.
In secondary schools, also, this subject is considered as a decoration only. The procedure followed is on the lines of the primary schools and stress is laid on accuracy and skill as if they are training every child in the school to be an artist. All other aspects in general education have been based on principles of psychology except Art Education. The conditions in respect of proper equipment, salaries and status of art teachers arc not only unsatisfactory but pitiable.
This state of affairs naturally affects the training courses for art teachers as they are trained with regard to the conditions existing in the schools. In the final examinations even the skill of the teachers under training is tested and the ability to teach is never tested at all. As a result undue emphasis is always laid on drilling them in skills so as to execute clean and accurate drawing. Even the qualifications required by the candidates seeking admission to the Art Teachers’ Training Course are too low and as such every average candidate tries to enter into this field. The duration of the course is generally short consisting of one academic year only. This shortness of the course is another temptation for average candidates as they feel that at a little cost and short duration they will earn a qualification which will enable them to earn a living. As a result nearly half the number of the trainees arc not drawn to this profession by temperament.
This sorry scheme of things must change and this change could be better effected by reorganising the courses at the base, viz. in the primary and secondary schools.
As for supervision and inspection of art in schools, some States in India such as Bombay have made a provision for an Inspectorate of Art, without powers to augment or cut the school grants. This has resulted in neglecting the suggestions made by the Inspectors of Art by the Heads of the Schools. In the rest of the States Education Inspectors inspect art works also. As much importance is given to the knowledgeable subjects in the high school education, art—being an emotional activity—never gets proper place and as such even the Inspectors treat it as a subject of subordinate importance. To avoid this negligence, every State should have a separate Inspectorate of Art which should cover the inspection of art in primary and secondary schools. This Inspectorate should have the powers to give grant-in-aid for the promotion of art in high schools.
However good the syllabuses of art in secondary schools may be, the success of Art Education depends upon the teachers who teach the subject. Their training should be complete and comprehensive.
Similar to the other teacher training centres in India the Department for Teacher Training in the Sir J. J. School of Art, Bombay, was established in a humble form as far back as 1893 on realising the need for art teachers as art was introduced in schools in 1879. In the early stages, examination mostly consisting of the test in skills was strict but gradually the standard lowered as the instruction was part time and only twice a week. A return to strictness resulted in 1909 with only 33 out of 330 candidates passing. To remove this inadequacy in training of this special subject in, 1910, the Government of Bombay were pleased to sanction a provision for a full-fledged department under a Gazetted Officer. In the initial stages only 20 candidates were admitted and the strength grew later from 30 to 45. The minimum educational qualification for admission was S.S.C. or Matriculation certificate and the candidate was to have passed the Intermediate Drawing Grade or its equivalent examination. However, highly educated and artistically well qualified candidates are taking this course in big numbers.
But the peculiar composition of candidates makes the problem very difficult. Some of the candidates satisfy the minimum conditions. The deputed trainees from the high schools lack in skills as they are out of touch. Some of them hold the Diploma in Fine Arts and they are superb in artistic merit. As against this some of the candidates hold degrees in Arts and teaching and they are good in written and oral expression but poor in skill. Due to this disparity amongst the trainees the application of one common syllabus for all proved to be a handicap. The training course includes the following subjects:
|(1)||Drawing from objects leading to still-life in pencil, pastels, water colours, gouache, tempera and paper mosaic.|
|(2)||Drawing from nature in all the media explained in (1) above.|
|(3)||Design, formal and informal in all the media explained in (1) above.|
|(5)||Lettering, Roman and Indian.|
|(6)||Geometry and Perspective.|
|(8)||Educational clay modelling.|
|(9)||Theory through lectures:|
|(d)||Equipments and material.|
|(e)||Teaching methods and systems of education.|
|(g)||Fundamentals of Art.|
|(j)||Stages in teaching and maxims of methodical procedure.|
|(k)||Brief History of Art, etc.|
|(1)||Practical lessons to be taken in schools under the Masters of Method.|
Apart from the Head of the Department, there is one full-time Assistant, two visiting lecturers, and five Masters of Method to supervise the practical work. There are three high schools attached to the department for the purpose of practical lessons. There is a decent library for reference and a provision for grants for excursions to cultural centres or places of educational importance. At the close of each session the trainees are examined and they are tested only in the skills and not for their teaching abilities. With all the efforts to reorganise this department on modern lines, the manner in which the trainees are examined, there are remote chances to test the teaching abilities of the candidates. However, the reorganisation of the courses and the examinations are under active consideration of the Government of Bombay. This is the problem which might be before every similar training department. There arc three graded examinations for Art Teachers in the State of Bombay. (1) Drawing Teachers’ Certificate, covers the full training course for one full session. (2) Drawing Masters’ Certificate, requires no training but four years’ teaching experience after passing the Drawing Teachers’ Certificate Examination. (3) Art Masters’ Certificate could be acquired in two ways: (a) a candidate can take up this examination after passing Drawing Masters’ Certificate Examination, or (b) he must have passed the Advanced Examination in Drawing and Painting and must possess Drawing Teachers’ Certificate with one years’ teaching experience. Such grades amongst the teachers could be avoided and, if at all they are to be retained, there should be only two grades, one for the High Schools and one for the Art Schools. The pay-scales for the three categories of Art Teachers arc fixed: (a) Drawing Teachers’ Certificate holder gets a pay-scale of a trained Matriculate; (b) Drawing Masters’ Certificate holder gets two additional increments in the scale; (c) Art Master gets a pay scale of a trained graduate.
Thus, it will be noticed that teaching of crafts is not provided in the courses for Art Teachers. In the State of Bombay Craft Teachers’ Courses are planned by the Director of Technical Education and the certificates are awarded by the same authority. As such Art Teachers and Craft Teachers are separate persons on the staff of every school. At the High School level art and craft cannot be separated and as such the provision for teaching crafts will have to be made in the Art Teachers’ Training so that every art teacher will teach crafts as well. The word craft is unfortunately misunderstood nowadays:
|(a)||Art-Craft is hereditary craftsmanship and purely artistic in its execution. This falls within the purview of the specialised art schools.|
|(b)||Cottage Industries crafts are mainly utilitarian and beauty follows automatically. This activity falls within the scope of the Cottage Industries Boards or the Departments of Industries.|
|(c)||Educational handiwork subordinates beauty and utility to the educational process by which an article is made. This falls within the scope of general education.|
|(d)||Basic crafts carry on education through the medium of those crafts on which 80% of our villages live. These crafts are connected with the basic needs of man, viz., food; shelter and clothing. This activity also falls within the scope of general education.|
As regards the location of Art Teachers’ Training Institutions there are two opinions. Some people feel that they should be connected with the University Training Colleges while others hold that they should be associated with the Art Schools. The latter view is correct in principle. Environment is a potent factor in education and as such the trainees are considerably influenced by the artistic environment of the school which definitely moulds their personalities as art teachers.
To reach the ideal of training art teachers on proper lines, the following suggestions are made:
Minimum conditions for admission should be:
- General Education: S.S.C. or Matriculation Certificate.
- Art Education: Two years’ preparatory course at the Art Schools.
- Aptitude test, both practical and oral.
As the trainees have acquired the skills during the preparatory course the emphasis on skills should be less during this course. Theory should include the following:
Psychology, Pedagogy, History of Art, and Principles of Art Appreciation. Craft should include work in the following 4 types of material:
- Soft-clay, papier machie and paper pulp.
- Pliable-cardboard and leather.
- Flexible-wire and cane.
- Hard-wood and metal.
Also experiments in modern creative art techniques, such as paper mosaic, wax etching, colage, colour splash work, will have to be encouraged. As regards the practical teaching every trainee should take at least 20 lessons in the school under the guidance of the Masters of Method.
In the final examination they should not be tested in the skills but in the following subjects and the marks should be allocated as suggested below:
|(2)||Regularity and conduct||…||…||…||…||100|
|(3)||Paper on psychology—2 hours||…||…||…||…||100|
|(4)||Paper on pedagogy—2 hours||…||…||…||…||100|
The candidate must pass in each head with 40% marks. Those who secure 6S% aggregate should be placed in the First Class, with 55% in Second Class and with 40% in Pass Class. All the candidates should generally pass and the test is meant only to grade the merit of the trainees. The person under whom the trainees are trained should have the major voice in the final assessment.
These suggestions are made in the light of experience in this field and if they are accepted on All-India basis, the future of Art Teachers will definitely be brighter.