Development of a framework for visual arts curriculum for Polytechnics in Ghana

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Ghanaian polytechnics, having been elevated to the status of tertiary educational institutions have a distinctive role in producing middle-level manpower which is vocational or technical oriented for national development. The production of this middle-level manpower should be in the priority areas including Fine Arts and Industrial Arts. Ghana needs artists in critical areas such as Health, Engineering, Agriculture, Education, Applied Science and Applied Social Science, to help in its developmental process. But a critical observation of Ghanaian polytechnic education reveals that the middle-level manpower in Art needed to build adequate and innovative infrastructure for national development is grossly inadequate. This thesis, therefore, seeks to address this serious problem. The main problem of this study has been to develop a framework for Visual Arts curriculum for Ghanaian polytechnics which. is envisaged to produce men and women who will help produce the artistic goods and services for national development. It was hypothesised that there is no significant difference in the views of teachers and students on the limited nature of the scope of the Visual Arts programmes run by the polytechnics in Ghana, and that, teachers and students agree that there are additional relevant and feasible Visual Arts programmes (and work oriented content) that could be introduced in polytechnics in Ghana. The thesis, first, critically examines the existing Visual Arts programmes run in Ghanaian polytechnics. It analyses and discusses the present content of the Visual Arts programmes in. the light of Ghana’s philosophy of self-reliance, Ghana’s policies on tertiary education and Ghana’s policies and objectives of polytechnic education. It also critically examines whether the Visual Arts programmes run in Ghanaian polytechnics have been based on the philosophical and psychological foundations which Ghana has adopted for the development of its curricula of schools. The thesis then examines and discusses the objectives set for the Visual Arts programmes and the methods used in teaching the Visual Arts programmes. Further, it queries whether the Visual Arts programmes have ever been evaluated since their inception. The major findings have been: the scope of the Visual Arts programmes (and their content) presently offered in Ghanaian polytechnics, is woefully inadequate and limited; the inadequacy of the Visual Arts programmes exerts too much pressure on the polytechnics because of the application of the large number of students for the limited Visual Arts programmes they offer; the Visual Arts programmes are deficient in work oriented content and courses and hardly satisfy the production of the middle-level manpower in Art required for national development; the Visual Arts programmes do not adequately reflect Ghanaian/African culture; they do not also make the graduates adequately self-reliant as the nation requires and they have not been evaluated ever since their inception. Secondly, the thesis seeks to develop a framework for Visual Arts curriculum upon which Ghanaian polytechnics could further develop Visual Arts syllabuses. Accordingly, data have been secured from field-work. The population chosen for the study included teachers and students of polytechnics in Ghana, teachers and students of KNUST, Kumasi and University of Winneba, Winneba and personnel of the MOE, Accra. Since there were many strata to deal with, the Stratified Sampling method has been used for the study. Thirty percent of the accessible The Descriptive Survey and the Analytic methods have been used to analyse the data. The data collected have been critically analysed, interpreted and conclusions drawn. The findings been that, Ghanaians as a people want additional Visual Arts programmes (and their content) run in Ghanaian polytechnics: and these additional Visual Arts programmes and their content have been outlined in detail after. Based on the findings the thesis proposes a framework for Visual Arts curriculum for Ghanaian polytechnics. The framework encompasses: i. The national philosophy on which polytechnic Visual Arts programmes should be based ii. The national policy on tertiary education on which the Visual Arts programmes should be based iii. The philosophical and psychological foundations for Visual Arts education in Ghanaian ethnics, iv. Objectives for running Visual Arts programmes in Ghanaian polytechnics v. Visual Arts programmes and content Ghanaian polytechnics should run vi. Methods of teaching and learning the Visual Arts programmes, vii. The evaluation and methods of evaluating the Visual Arts programmes run in Ghanaian polytechnics. The thesis finally outlines the trial-tests done to ascertain the efficacy of the framework. Based on the findings, the thesis offers useful recommendations and suggestions that would make the framework feasible. Some of the recommendations are: there is the urgent need to expand the scope of the Visual Arts programmes presently offered in Ghanaian polytechnics; adequate work was sampled for study. Questionnaire was used to collect data from the sample nted content and courses should be incorporated in the Visual Arts programmes and the Visual programmes run Ghanaian polytechnics should be evaluated from time to time to address c need of the day.
A Thesis submitted to the School of Graduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi in partial fufl1ment of the requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy (PHD) in Art Education, 2003