Art and design team Aesthetic Cell earlier this month delivered 20 textbooks, which are designed for children, to Nanyi Elementary School in Hsinchu City’s Siangshan District (香山).
The design team is comprised of National Chiao Tung University graduates who make and gift artistic textbooks to schoolchildren, especially to those from districts that do not have art galleries.
Team cofounder Chen Mu-tien (陳慕天) said he and his colleagues wanted to design artistic textbooks because the need to cultivate an appreciation for beauty and art has been overlooked by schools.
Most schools offer students an excursion to an art gallery or museum once every two or three years, but some schools are too far from such institutions to organize visits, Chen said.
“Art education in Taiwan has failed,” he said, adding that boring and poorly designed governmental brochures are a symptom of inadequate art education.
“Taiwan does not lack good designers, but 99 percent of Taiwanese need to change their brains,” Chen said.
To bypass the textbook evaluation process, the team gives away the books as “experimental education aids” free of charge, he said.
The group believes the new curriculum guidelines scheduled to be implemented next year provides an opportunity to improve textbooks, Chen said, adding that since January the team has been raising funds for the project.
More than 1,900 students have used their books and they have received a positive response from the public and local governments, team members Chang Po-wei (張柏韋) and Lin Tsung-yan (林宗諺) said.
They hope the illustrations and unconventional designs motivate children to learn, they added.
Fifth-graders who were given the books poured over the artwork and other features of the books, with a cutout page simulating a telescope looking at the stars being particularly popular.
Additional Reporting by Hsiao Yu-hsin
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