Are assignments necessary?
Assignments are what gives us students the final certificate; diploma, degree ect, so without completing assignments, we cannot pass the unit therefore we would fail the year if we do not hand them in but are assignments really necessary?
Last year, foreign students from an English Art Institute came into MCAST as a study experience with Erasmus+. When they came to the institute, they told us that we had much more equipment than they do in their own university and also that they did not have assignments. My friends and I were very surprised by this remark. Apart from their comment of having more equipment than they do was shockingly surprising, my friends could not help it in asking what they actually do in university.
They told us that they are given a concept, a title, and they have to create whatever they want and interpret it in whatever way they want. They only go to school to work and they do not have lectures about the method on what type of clay they should use or what type of programme of Adobe works best, the students go to university to work freely and if they needed help they normally had to solve it on their own.
This also happens in Czech Republic in Prague. One lecturer told us that if we went to study in Prague as an experience we would leave the room crying and wanting to tear our hair. The art schools do not teach the students at my level how to do casting because they would have already learnt how to do it from a young age. The questions we ask to our lecturers in my level of study would have been already tackled from a young age in other countries. The students go 5 times a week to work on their own in university because everyone knows what they should do. The lecturer only goes in the university ONCE A WEEK! They have no assignments, they just go there to work and continuously produce artwork which they will then be graded upon.
The difference from MCAST to other art schools abroad is that they have: very large workshops that hold a lot of people and have the latest equipment, they have no strings holding them back when it comes to creativity and no assignments to stop them in doing what they love doing, and also only one subject specifying a certain sector for example ceramics ONLY and not 5 units or more.
In my opinion, the biggest problem in Malta is that we do not teach our children to be creative and also take art seriously from a young age because Malta is so caught up in having sciences, law or accounting to be the ultimate and ideal way of life. Some people still laugh in my face when I am asked what job will I get from studying art, which honestly discourages me a lot! The mentality of art being a hobby has to end once and for all and the education system needs to be changed immediately because we are clearly being spoon-fed!