THE proposed funding cuts have the potential to severely restrict or even eliminate the activities that thousands of my fellow primary and secondary school students across the state regularly participate in.
As a student involved in the arts unit, I am concerned about the consequences of this for current and future students.
The learning opportunities the arts unit provides for students like me across the state – who enjoy and excel in music, drama, public speaking and debating – are unmatched by any other public programs in the state.
The ensembles, camps, concerts, tours and competitions provided by the arts unit allow us to represent our schools in our chosen fields, while interacting with peers from all metropolitan and rural regions of the state. These opportunities, such as the yearly state camps and Schools Spectacular, bring thousands of us together from around the state to join in shared interests and passions, learn skills in our respective fields, and work towards an end product which is an indication of our commitment and hard work.
We take back the skills we learn and share them with people at our respective schools, which greatly improves the quality of the arts at our own schools, and thus the quality of our co-curricular activities.
We also learn how to work hard towards a goal, something which helps us take a more positive approach to learning when we go back to the classroom and, outside of school, in our personal lives.
Aside from the incredible learning experience these events provide, they also give us the opportunity to meet and interact with people from all around the state with similar interests and abilities to us, which we would not otherwise be able to do.
This provides an enjoyable learning environment as we get to mix with people from completely different backgrounds and upbringings.
Students like us have been benefiting from these programs for seven decades, and if the proposed cuts were to go ahead, it would greatly diminish the opportunities for students to excel and find things they enjoy outside of the classroom.
The teachers at the arts unit are inspirational, spending long hours working with us in order to improve our skills and make our time under their wings as beneficial as possible.
The positions in line to be abolished are those which organise events such as the camps – supposed “non-teaching positions”.
These staff organise events to provide an incredible learning experience for us, as well as providing us with the opportunity to represent our schools and have many enjoyable and memorable experiences we would not otherwise be able to have.
It is difficult to understand why music and other creative arts are so poorly viewed when it has been shown that they increase teamwork, lateral thinking, self-discipline, communication and an a sense of wellbeing; are associated with improved problem-solving and mathematics skills; and help unite communities.
There is significant scientific research that repeatedly demonstrates the immense benefits from quality music-education in schools.
Public schools, in particular, are currently starved of quality music-education, and for the government to decide to downscale the arts unit flies in the face of all that research.
The government should be increasing both the amount of music education in schools as well as the opportunities for students to perform and extend their experiences.
I hope Mr Piccoli will reconsider, for the sake of the future of the arts in our schools as well for the benefits music education has for all communities regardless of their socioeconomic backgrounds.