Students’ abandonment of the Visual Arts programme in Senior High Schools: Ejisu-Juaben Municipality Senior High Schools as a case study

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July, 2015
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The focus of this study was to investigate students’ abandonment of the Visual Arts programme in Senior High Schools within the Ejisu-Juaben Municipality of the Ashanti Region of Ghana. The study employed both qualitative and quantitative methods of research and questionnaire to gather data from Visual Arts teachers and Visual Arts students. Other data were collected from some Non-Visual Arts students, around the schools’ environment, the Visual Arts departments, Heads of Visual Arts departments, Assistant Headmasters/mistresses and Headmasters, through the use of observations and interviews. A triangulation of these indicated that some SHS Visual Arts students who are enrolled onto the programme swap to other programmes. Majority of these students who abandon the Visual Arts programme have initial interest but lose interest in the programme along their line of academic pursuance due to multiples of challenges confronting the Visual Arts programme such as; Lack of proper orientation, Lack of practical working studios in some schools, Lack of adequate funds for tools and materials even for practical demonstration lessons, Negative comments about the Visual Arts programme from non-Visual Arts teachers and students as well as Lack of administrative interest and support. Some of the data collected were quantitatively tabled and organized in charts for partial statistical analysis. Again, it was found that, though some of the schools organize orientations for their fresh students in general, there is no properly organized departmental orientation for newly admitted Visual Arts students specifically to properly root them in the department to stand firm against all odds. The researcher through this study recommends that, apart from the general orientations organized by the schools at large, the Visual Arts departments must also organize well-structured orientations, pregnant with detailed but specific information about the Visual Arts programme, for its fresh students. These departmental orientations could even be periodically organized to involve continuing students as refresher courses to firmly root the Visual Arts student in what he/she has originally set out to pursue. Again, the Visual Arts programmes are generally practically oriented: Visual Arts teachers and their Heads of Departments are therefore entreated to adopt more practical innovative approaches in their pedagogical deliveries in order to make what they teach become more interesting and attractive. This will help to win the trust and confidence of their school administrators as well as their students and the school community at large, thereby retaining students who are originally enrolled onto the Visual Arts programme to reduce the abandonment menace.
A thesis submitted to the School of Graduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in Art Education,