Children's art schools as the initial stage of vocational education and their current problems
Higher education in the field of culture and art is quite in demand today, especially in the field of directing, screenwriting, and acting. The cultural sphere needs specialists in the field of IT and new technologies, as well as marketing, including SMM. However, today I would like to discuss the problem of the initial stage of art education, namely children's art schools, which are receiving a lot of attention from the state today, and it is no coincidence.

The system of art education in Russia was built long ago — in the end of the XIX century. Today it is a three-level system, in which the first stage is occupied by children's art schools. Children's art schools are traditionally very popular. After all, h ere teachers instill in children interest in art, develop creative abilities and educate future singers, musicians, artists. Currently, children's art schools are positioned as a center of art education and enlightenment.

Historical background

The first paid private music schools began to appear in large cities in the first half of the XIX century in large cities of the Russian Empire, then on the initiative of Russian composers A. Lyadov, N. Rimsky-Korsakov and S. Taneyev, public music schools were created.

In Soviet Russia, the first state children's music school was opened in 1918 in Petrograd. In the following years, the number of children's music schools grew and by 1933, schools were made the primary link of professional music education.

In Soviet times, education in the music schools was carried out according to a single educational program, but in the post-Soviet period, control over children's music education by the state was reduced.

In 1992, the law project «On Education» was issued, in which children's art schools were defined as institutions of additional education for children and new tasks were set for children's art schools, similar to those performed by clubs and creative sections. Most music schools have become children's art schools, thanks to the appearance of a choreographic, pop vocal and fine arts departments in them.

Gradually, the status of music schools, alas, began to decline. By the end of the 1990s, children's art schools did not have uniform requirements for the educational process, and the curricula developed by the Ministry of Culture were only advisory in nature. Accordingly, the quality of children's education in the field of culture and art has decreased.

In addition to the imperfect educational programs, the art schools have accumulated a lot of related problems. The situation of chronic underfunding has led to the fact that the material and technical base in most art schools, especially in the regions, became outdated. The instruments got worn out, as they had not been updated for a long time, and the art schools had to use mostly those musical instruments and equipment that they were provided with back in Soviet times.

Among other things, children's art schools have not had a high-quality overhaul for decades, though most buildings need it.

The demographic decline also played a role. It led to the fact that academic education was gradually curtailed, and the heads of the secondary school, in order to somehow ensure recruitment, and, strictly speaking, to save the school, had to open general aesthetic departments, where they taught «a little bit of everything».

Realizing their difficult situation, art schools began to actively fight for survival. In 2011, the situation started to change in additional education in the field of culture and art. Thanks to the efforts of the entire cultural community and the activity of the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation, a status worthy of their mission has finally been determined for art schools. Now the main task of the school is becoming pre-professional education in culture and art.

Finally, the existing educational programs and curricula were revised, and the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation approved federal state requirements for the content and structure, conditions of implementation and terms of training in pre-professional programs. Since 2013, art schools have been teaching two types of programs: pre-professional and general development.

The need for children's art schools to update the material and technical base is being solved today thanks to the implementation of the national project «Culture». Within its framework, starting from 2020, new musical instruments and equipment are being purchased for art schools, and their buildings are finally being repaired.

Everything seems to be fine… But all the problems mentioned above gradually led to the fact that, along with the status of music and art schools, the status of an art school teacher was also lost. Today, the teaching profession is unattractive for young people, and graduates do not plan to associate their professional activities with a children's art school. The low level of wages and the heavy workload do not contribute to increasing the prestige of this profession. Although in order to become a professional musician, artist or choreographer, you need to study for a long time: at first, 5 to 8 years at an art school, then 4 years at a college, then continue studying at a conservatory or university in the appropriate specialty. Where do university graduates go next, having a diploma in such specialties? Usually they go artistic groups, in theaters, rarely, in other cultural institutions, someone ends up in show business. Few of them choose the teaching path. Today the situation is as follows: there are art schools, they are in demand among the population, educational programs corresponding to the status of the school have been approved, new musical instruments and equipment are being purchased and major repairs are being carried out, but there are fewer teachers in these schools every year. The majority of art schools are experiencing a personnel shortage today. In particular, there is a shortage of teachers in folk and wind instruments classes, specialists in theoretical disciplines (art history, musical literature, musical theory), visual and choreographic art. The average age of teachers is 45–55 years. Schools are sorely lacking young professionals.

Along with solving material problems in schools, due attention should be paid to increasing the prestige of the art school teacher. It is necessary because graduates of a music or choreographic college should not think that only losers who have not found a use for themselves in art become art school teachers. Employers should be able to create good conditions for the work and professional growth of young professionals, to encourage graduates to return not only to large city schools, but also to the ones located in the countryside. Today, the state implements federal programs «Country Doctor» and «Country Teacher», but they do not involve support of young teachers of children's art schools. Only a cumulative solution to all problems will allow us to preserve the national heritage, which is the system of children's art schools in Russia.