A Handbook on Calligraphy for Senior Secondary Schools

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The attitude towards Art by some Heads of schools, teachers, parents, the public and even educational authorities, has not been the best. Though, there has been some level of understanding and appreciation for the subject by some people in recent years, there is still more room for a change in perception towards the subject. These negative attitudes have changed the minds of many students who had interest to pursue the subject to a higher level, to look down upon the subject with disrespect. The introduction of the New Educational Reform into the Ghanaian Education system is a laudable achievement aimed at bringing quality education to the individual and also, reducing the number of years spent at the basic and secondary school levels of the educational structure. In addition to the above mentioned objectives, the reform also seeks to provide manpower resource for all sectors of the economy and to make individuals self reliant with regard to job opportunities especially, in Art. Visual Arts education was given new dimensions under the Reform with regard to the syllabus, scope and areas to be studied by students who opt for the programme. The zeal with which this idea was perceived, brought about the vocationalisation of the Visual Arts programme in the Senior Secondary Schools to emphatically place value on the Art subjects and also, to enable young graduates who cannot pursue further education become self reliant with regard to employment so as to contribute effectively to the development and progress of the nation. The teaching of Calligraphy, an aspect of Art at the Senior Secondary School, which is the main concern of the researcher and which, this thesis covers, has suffered greatly over the years since the introduction of the new Education Reform. Most teachers, whose subject areas embrace the art, have ignored to teach it, thus, making it impossible for students to learn it. As a result, most students who offer Graphic Design and General Knowledge in Art ignore answering questions on Calligraphy during the final year Senior Secondary School Certificate Examination conducted by the West African Examinations Council. Some of the teachers interviewed during the research period made mention of the writing pen used in Calligraphy as being very expensive and scarce on the market even if one has the purchasing means. But this excuse, was later found out by the researcher from the other teachers interviewed as not the root cause since, other sources of writing tools such as the quill, bamboo and cane can be substituted to keep the teaching and learning of the art going. It was however, discovered in the end that, most of the teachers who are supposed to teach Calligraphy in the schools themselves are novices in the art and so, have no knowledge and skills to teach it. It was also realised that, lack of handbooks on the art, was making it difficult for those teachers who had the will and interest to teach it to do so. This is the story, which has led to the state of suffering of Calligraphy in the Senior Secondary Schools. In the light of these major discoveries, and to make the teachers, responsible for teaching Calligraphy feel comfortable and interested in teaching their students especially, at the Senior Secondary Schools this art of beautiful handwriting, the researcher found it very appropriate to write this thesis. “A Handbook on Calligraphy for Senior Secondary Schools” to uplift the glorious image of Calligraphy among both teachers and students in our schools.
A thesis submitted to the School of Graduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Master of Arts degree in Art Education, 2001