The role of arts in establishing a developed or civilised society and nation has been recognised and acknowledged by the country. The arts are a manifestation of a country's civilisation. Theatre, dance, music, fine arts, cinematography, etc are basic principles that are practised in the arts and complement the quality of life. All developed countries emphasise on the importance of practice and promotion of arts through either formal training or other incentives among their society. Performance, quality and facilities for arts activities are often associated with living standards and also used as an international yardstick in determining a country's stage of development. At present, arts have been accepted as one of the elements of national development to generate a quality life. Through arts training based on education, society is able to produce prudent and civilised human capital. The matter has been realised by various parties and through the government machinery, measures have been taken in their respective jurisdictions.
Implementation of quality arts programmes cannot be accomplished by simply letting them run by themselves in school. Arts, as with other development programmes, should be guided, nurtured and planned in an orderly manner through instruction, guidance and training programmes. Outstanding achievement in arts in the international arena is an obligation that should be carried out with full commitment by all parties concerned.
The Ministry of Education has strived and conceived plans consistent with the National Education Policy and the National Cultural Policy as well as Chapter 23 of the Ninth Malaysia Plan, Enriching Culture, Arts and Heritage, to create a Malaysian society that is well balanced, outstanding and appreciative of arts. Various programmes that include guidance, nurturing and training have been carried out in schools in line with development of multi-skill oriented education and intelligence so that today's generation will be better equipped to face the realities of the working world which is highly competitive and challenging.
The genuine desire of the MOE to uphold arts education in school is in line with the mission and vision of the Ministry of Culture, Arts and Heritage to produce a Malaysian society that is rich in a heritage of culture and arts of a distinct identity.
The MOE has carried out arts activities in the following programmes:
Nevertheless, the MOE is of the view that these efforts have yet to achieve its goals and niche specifically to help students strengthen the culture and reinforce the identity of Malaysians as our country's education system must be comprehensive rather than focused solely on academic achievements. To attain developed country status, the education system must produce a society according to our own mould, culture and language.
Recognising that fact, it is timely that the MOE established arts schools to provide opportunities and space for young Malaysians to express themselves in the arts. Without depending on certain careers only, they could make a living from arts such as painting, music and theatre.
A formal single-session educational institution with facilities to polish and nurture students' potential and talent to participate in arts and cultural activities actively and creatively.
An effort to develop individual potential in a balanced and integrated manner through planned and systematic arts education. This is to produce individuals who are responsible with noble attributes to practise a rich Malaysian culture with a distinct identity.
To be the centre of excellence for arts and culture in order to produce world-class arts aficionados
Facilities at arts schools are similar to those at a fully residential school. These facilities enable the students to undergo the process of academic teaching and learning, arts and cultural training as well as co-curricular and recreational activities in a scheduled and planned manner. In principle, the physical facilities in the arts school include the following:
The arts school needs buildings and basic facilities with attractive designs and an environment that is conducive for students to develop their talent in arts, apart from academic learning. These facilities include:
The facilities available at the Arts Complex are for the display of students' work, whether for the purpose of evaluation or arts appreciation at the school level. The facilities include the following:
Arts support equipment includes teaching and learning facilities based on modern equipment in line with the current development and progress in arts, technology and social life. Among them are;
The landscape and environs at the arts school should have features that are conducive and attractive to encourage creativity and inventiveness of the students to produce quality work and arts performances. The landscape design, whether natural or artificial, should be based on local culture and values.
Enrolment is open to all students of government schools and government assisted schools from across the country. The main intake comprises form 1 students. Nevertheless, admission is also open to form 2 and form 3 based on the needs of particular cases.
Admission to arts schools is through several methods:
Among others, students will be tested to ensure the following during audition:
Students with artistic talent (visual arts / performance arts) must be certified by the school, district education office / combined education office, state education department, MOE or any agencies recognised by the Ministry of Education to be eligible for consideration for admission to an arts school. From the aspect of academic achievement, students who apply will be considered only if they attain a minimum of 3Bs in UPSR.
The student offer and selection secretariat is the Physical Education and Sports Department. The state education department will assist in the screening of applications and selection of students. The School Division will determine the student selection panel with the agreement of the Physical Education and Sports Department. Personnel with expertise in related fields will be involved.
The number of students accepted for a particular subject is very much dependent on the facilities provided. However, to ensure effectiveness of the teaching and learning process, it has been proposed the arts schools (and arts classes) accept a maximum of 25 students for every class of a subject: (additional classes are subject to physical planning).
Two arts schools that have been established:
1. KUCHING MALAYSIAN ARTS SCHOOL
2. JOHOR BAHRU MALAYSIAN ARTS SCHOOL