The enrolment of music in especially the secondary school is declining in many
countries such as South Africa, the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, Brazil, China,
Finland, Israel, Korea, Mexico and the United States of America. This decline in the
number of learners doing the subject in secondary school, despite its popularity
outside of the school, is often ascribed to the socio-economic context and the level of
difficulty of the subject, but most of all due to a music curriculum that is in stark
contrast to what learners are doing in their daily lives.
Post-Apartheid education focused on the redress of education by working towards the
provision of quality education through the improvement of educational resources,
wider subject choices for previously disadvantaged learners and transforming the
national curriculum to suit the needs of young people to prepare them adequately and
appropriately for tertiary education and the world of work. The demands of poor
communities for greater access to subjects that were previously denied to them,
compelled the national education department to introduce subjects such as the arts and
technology in secondary schools located in low socio-economic areas where these
subjects have not been offered before.
The Western Cape Education Department, as lead agent for the province’s Human
Capital Development Strategy (HCDS), established ten dedicated focus schools for
the arts that would become centres of excellence to provide quality arts education to
secondary school learners from poor urban and rural areas. It was envisaged that these
arts institutions would be equipped with the appropriate infrastructure, technology,
teaching and learning support materials and qualified arts teachers to ensure that
music, dance, drama, design and visual arts would be accessible to a broader spectrum
of secondary school learners. The aim of the study focused on the provision of music education at these institutions
by investigating the essential aspects of the focus school phenomenon such as
infrastructure that was built to create a conducive environment for music education,
curricular and extra-curricular music programmes, learner enrolment and retention,
use of technology, teaching and learning support materials and teacher effectiveness.
The study has a qualitative research approach and is based on a case study design that
served to provide a rich and in-depth description of the phenomenon. The data was
collected by means of focus group and individual interviews as well as observations
of lessons, extra-mural activities and music performances. An interrogation of
government policies and school records also informed the research to provide
trustworthy findings. After each finding, some suggestions are made concerning the
alleviation of challenges which focus schools face regarding the delivery of Music in
the FET phase.
Finally, the study makes recommendations for future research related to the provision
of Music in the FET phase of South African schools.
Dissertation (MMus)--University of Pretoria, 2014.