Talented kids to get early arts exposure through Sota award

The building of the School of the Arts, which saw 23 out of 52 nominated pupils receive the Arts Development Award in a pilot run.
The building of the School of the Arts, which saw 23 out of 52 nominated pupils receive the Arts Development Award in a pilot run. PHOTO: ST FILE

It will help less privileged take external dance and art lessons

The School of the Arts (Sota), which marks its 10th anniversary this year, wants to give children, especially those from low-income families, an opportunity to attend dance and art lessons outside school.

The Arts Development Award for Primary 4 to Primary 6 pupils who show talent in the arts is Sota's latest initiative, alongside a buddy programme, to ramp up efforts to help families with a gross household income of $8,000 or less, or per capita income of $2,000 or less.

Last year, 23 out of 52 nominated pupils received the award - funded by philanthropic organisation Temasek Foundation Nurtures - in a pilot run. The $2,000-a-year award aims to create opportunities for pupils who have an interest or potential in dance or visual arts to be exposed to arts education from a young age. It can cover course fees, materials, costumes and transport costs.

Recipients of the award are also mentored by current Sota students.

Separately, more parents have sent their children for external programmes to not just hone their craft but get into secondary schools using their artistic and sporting talents.

Ms Grace Fu, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth, launched the award yesterday at Sota's annual awards ceremony.

It follows a review carried out with the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth and National Arts Council that broadly outlines the need for Sota, Singapore's only pre-tertiary arts school, to make arts education more accessible to youth, regardless of their background.

  • $2k Arts Development Award awarded annually to Primary 4 to Primary 6 pupils who show talent in the arts.

    23 Number who received the award in its pilot run last year, out of 52 applicants.

Ms Fu said Sota will work with the Ministry of Education to introduce arts enrichment programmes for pupils who show raw talent.

It comes on top of Sota's outreach to primary schools to raise awareness of the school and its Direct School Admission (DSA) process.

 
 
 

Sota receives up to 1,000 applications every year, and admits about 200 in each intake. All its students are admitted through DSA, which can guarantee pupils with talent in the arts a place in the school even before the Primary School Leaving Examination.

Sota has also increased financial support for needy students to cover more items like transport fees, meals, school uniforms, textbooks and art materials.

To allow students to understand the needs of their wider community, Sota will also work more closely with organisations across three main groups: children with special needs, children from disadvantaged families and the elderly.

"These will help Sota students put their learning and talents to meaningful community projects that benefit the community," said Ms Fu.

Another key plan is for Sota to strengthen and share with other schools its approach of weaving the arts into academic subjects so that students make connections across disciplines.

A music student may, for example, learn about sound frequency during a physics class through understanding how the pitch of a violin is adjusted.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 31, 2018, with the headline 'Talented kids to get early arts exposure through Sota award'. Print Edition | Subscribe