Cultural education plays a key role in fostering the personal development, expressiveness and creative abilities of children and young people. Music, theatre, painting, sculpture, film, dance and literature give children and young adults opportunities to better understand themselves and the world around them and to acquire fundamental skills that will allow them to actively shape the world in which they live and work both today and in the future. As things currently stand, however, not all children and youngsters have equal opportunities to access cultural education and in many cases still depend on their own families to provide them with such access.
Our vision is for all children and young people to have their personal development and skills fostered in the best possible way, thereby giving them equal opportunities to participate in society and the working world. We are therefore committed to creating equal access to cultural education for all children and young adults. Cultural education should not remain the prerogative only of privileged children and youngsters but must be open to all – particularly to those who are deprived socially and/or economically and are not provided with access to cultural education as a matter of course by their families.
Actively engaging with issues relevant to their lives and with wider social topics within the medium of the arts gives children and young people the chance to explore and express their own ideas, feelings and thoughts in a way that simply is not possible in any other form. We are therefore convinced that cultural education cannot remain a randomly available additional subject but must be made an indispensable and integral element of general education.
In order to reach as many schools and pupils as possible, the education system level and the instruments used to control it are particularly important in terms of achieving our objectives. We support the respective state-level ministries in including criteria for high-quality cultural education in their orientation and reference frameworks for school quality and in ensuring that these criteria are applied at the local level. Our target is for this to have been achieved in North Rhine-Westphalia and three other federal states by 2015 and in all of Germany’s states by 2025.
We are committed to exchange and constructive discourse between practitioners, academic researchers and politicians. For instance, we promote exemplary cultural education models in schools and support the transfer of professional knowledge to the structures and networks of the federal education system. Despite a wide range of projects having been pursued, we still know too little about the qualities of cultural education. We therefore regard targeted research funding and the establishment of a professional consulting system as the basis for supporting political decision-makers and stakeholders in practice and academia in their decisions.