For decades, reading, writing, and rithmetic have been considered the most fundamental subjects in a child's education. In more recent times, in order to boost global competitiveness, many schools are emphasizing subjects such as science, technology, and mathematics over the liberal and fine arts.
Is there still a place for arts education within the curriculum? The answer lies in what the arts provides our learners. Art provides pupils with important skills: creativity, critical thinking, imagination, and problem solving. All skills necessary in all careers. The inaugural Four School's Art Exhibition featuring Afrikaanse Hoër Meisieskool, Afrikaans Hoër Seunskool, Pretoria Boys High School and Pretoria High School for Girls has re-emphasized the importance of visual arts in schools.
A partnership between the schools was initiated many years ago with the Four Schools' Concert, An die Musik. The Une célébration d'art exhibition, the first visual arts collaboration between the schools and hosted this year by Pretoria High School for Girls, features visual arts pupils from each of the schools exhibiting various works in various media. The exhibition is open for public viewing on Monday 21 September from 08:00 - 19:00 and Tuesday 22 September from 08:00 - 14:00 in the PHSG School Hall.
The four schools are an important part of the educational, historical and cultural center of Pretoria. The schools are home to numerous previous generations who are now established artists. Old pupils include Judith Mason (Pretoria High School for Girls), Stefan de Beer (Afrikaans Hoër Seunskool), Albert Coertse (Afrikaans Hoër Seunskool), Michele Nigrini (Afrikaanse Hoër Meisieskool), Susanna Swart (Afrikaanse Hoër Meisieskool), Ariana van Heerden (Afrikaanse Hoër Meisieskool) as well as well-known art teachers such as Walter Battiss (Pretoria Boys High School) and Peter Binsbergen (Pretoria Boys High School).
Though some of the pupils may not continue in a career in the arts, it gives them a broadened experience of school and life in general. The Four Schools Exhibition has showcased the talent and skill of the pupils. The arts, including visual arts, plays an important role in the cultural development of children and a passion for creativity long after they leave school.