Cambridge IGCSE History
The 2016 Cambridge IGCSE syllabus for Art and Design covers painting and related media, graphic communication, print making, three dimensional studies, photography and digital media, and textile design (Cambridge International Examinations, 2014). Painting and related studies is the broadest of the above topics. It includes figurative painting, landscapes painting, artifacts painting, abstraction, personal experience painting, the environment, still life painting and painting inspired by various phenomena. In media design, students normally communicate through images and other graphics. Under 3-dimensional design, students taking art and design are exposed to innovative learning in the areas of experimental design, product design, sculpture, ceramics, and stage design and so on. In photography and lens media, students are taken through the study of photography, film making and the artistic expression of captured images. They are also taught how to edit films and photographs. Textile studies under this course allow students to demonstrate their abilities in construction of finished fabric by yarning or stitching. Additionally, students are taught about fashion and dyeing (Cambridge International Examinations, 2014). To be responsive of the educational needs of the next decade, the Cambridge course in Art and Designs needs to be expanded to include more topics in photography, textiles, and painting and 3-dimensional design. The following is a workable ten year plan for the expansion of Cambridge 0400 Arts and Design.
The current syllabus is relatively sufficient in teaching students on photography and digital media. Currently, photography studies are inclusive of film making and digital photography. When these two studies are combined, teaching and examination of photo making are shadowed by more interesting film making. The first thing to do in the new plan, therefore, is to separate the two and make photography a subject on its own. It should be assigned to specialists who are dedicated to photography to give students thorough teaching and hands-on experience in both conventional and digital photography. Conventional photography, although a bit outdated, is essential in preservation of artistic photography. Conventional photography allows students to practice artistic cues, since they do not have another chance to remedy a badly shot photo on a computer. In fact, success in digital photography depends on how well a student is versed with computer software but not how well they can capture images in the environment or elsewhere. Digital photography should also be strengthened in the curriculum to allow students to produce refined images that not only present things as they naturally are, but also how they could look when added colour or tone. Therefore, implementing these changes will call for collective efforts of all the stakeholders involved in the acquisition and expansion of photo studios, planning and scheduling of field trips, development of design software for editing digital photos and construction of mock environments that mimic the natural environment for routine practice. The plan shall be implemented slowly over the period of ten years, with each activity having its own time of implementation. The four activities will be implemented after every two and a half years.
The current textiles subject in the syllabus covers printing, dyeing, construction and fashion. Dyeing is however shallowly taught and examined under the current syllabus because it only encourages the use of commercially acquired dyeing and sprays in the production of printed fabric. This subject needs to be enhanced to give students more options in dyeing. Students need to know and understand the sources of natural dyes and how to extract them for practical purposes. Dye extraction is a rigorous process, but its success depends on selecting the best solvent for this purpose. Some dyes require organic extraction while others require water and alcohol extraction. Students should be taught the difference between these two types of solvents and given the basic examples. Color customization should also be included in the new syllabus because it gives students the option of making new compound colors besides the simple colors they have at hand. Production of compound colors depends on the correct knowledge of dye compatibility and mixing dyes in the correct proportion. This knowledge should be incorporated in the new syllabus. Tie and dyeing should also be taught to students, since it informs students on how to produce regular patterns of dye in cloth. Dye fastening is also an essential topic to cover, since dyeing is only successful when a dye is fastened on a fabric. Students ought to be taught about the wide range of available dyes fasteners, how to apply them and which fastener is used for each dye. The infrastructure, facilities and equipment needed for the implementation of these changes include a dyeing studio for dye mixing, tie and dyeing and dye fixing, garden for growing plant sources of dyes, dedicated instructors for this subject and acquisition of dye fastener chemicals. The implementation period will follow the same pace as other changes proposed for the Arts and Design syllabus.
Currently, 3-dimensional printing is not included in the Arts and Design syllabus. Additionally, the image transfer technology and heat press technology used in the teaching of this subject has not been modified for quite some time now. The new syllabus should incorporate the use of automatic heat pressers with high throughput that can be exploited commercially in the mass production of printed fabric. The new syllabus should not only give students an overview of image production on fabric, but it should also teach them the science behind the equipment used for this purpose. Students should be given practical skills for the development and the advancement of the current printing technology to build their capacity in operation and troubleshooting of printing machines. The new syllabus should also give students theoretical and practical skills in three dimensional printing. This technology will allow students to produce three dimensional objects through manipulative use of computers. Implementing these changes requires expanding the present printing studios, acquisition of 3-D printers and automatic heat pressing machines. Time and pace of implementation follows the ones for implementation of other changes in the syllabus.
The current syllabus only covers sculpture making as part of the bigger 3-D designing. This course should be enhanced to include both fixed and free sculpturing. Free sculptures are produced by modeling metal, clay or wood to make a detached figure while fixed sculpturing uses these techniques to curve out smaller shapes on wall, stones or bigger pieces of wood. Grinders should be provided for students who need to use metal for making sculptures while wood, clay and other materials should be offered for other kinds of sculpturing. Dedicated instructors and technical staff are required in the implementation of these changes.
Cambridge International Examinations (2014). Cambridge IGCSE Art and Design 0400. Cambridge, United Kingdom.