Of the 2,506 students who registered to do CXC (CSEC) exams in May–June 2017, there were only 7 candidates for Theatre Arts, and 125 for Visual Arts.
Mr Paul, Registrar of Exams at the Ministry of Education, confirmed that of the 125 visual art entrants, there were 3 Grade 1s, 11 Grade 2s and 58 Grade 3s — this despite the absence of a visual arts curriculum officer at the ministry for the past 3 years.
Jada Duncan, formerly of Beacon High school achieved a Grade 1 in CSEC visual arts. She was 1 of 3 students islandwide, who achieved a Grade 1. The other 2 students are from the Anglican High School and the St Andrew’s Anglican Secondary School (SAASS).
Duncan visited the studio of local artists Suelin Low Chew Tung and Prensnelo during their open studio weekend and showed the artists some of her work. She said there were only 5 students in her art class, and despite the [setback] of an intruder who stole art supplies and vandalised artbooks, hers included, she was excited to get a Grade 1 in visual art.
She sat 13 subjects and got 7 Grade 1s, 5 Grade 2s and a 4 in English literature. She said she was ‘kinda shocked to hear her results.’ But perhaps not surprising, given that she spent many long days in preparation for sitting the exams, often leaving school after 8 pm, as well as attending school half days on Sundays. She said she still has not quite readjusted her sleep patterns.
Duncan began her first term at the TA Marryshow Community College (TAMCC) on 4 September, not in art, but in the Natural Sciences Department. She said she doesn’t think that art will play much of a part of her Natural Sciences curriculum, ‘because graphs and so on are continuous straight lines and not terribly exciting.’
Grenada Arts Council President Dr Oliver Benoit, said that while he is happy about the Grade 1s and the other passes in visual art, ‘we in Grenada have not paid attention to visual art as an inclusive part of education,’ which could be seen in the low number of entrants — less than 5% of the total.’ He opined, “Visual art connects other aspects of society…marketing for example, includes selling things visually. Visual art is cross disciplinary, and encourages more critical thinking; it’s not just about shows in a gallery. That the establishment does not take art as important, is a disservice to students.”