Published: April 30, 2005

British Columbia government allows piping students to get high school credits

The province of British Columbia has become the first jurisdiction outside of Scotland to agree to award credits to high school students who successfully complete the Institute of Piping curriculum.

According to Jack Lee of Surrey, British Columbia, who spearheaded negotiations with the BC Government, beginning in September 2005 any BC high school student who passes the Institute of Piping’s Level 2 examinations will earn four fine arts credits for Grade 11 school studies. Passing Level 3 will earn four credits towards Grade 12, passing Level 4 will earn another four towards Grade 12, and so on.

Lee added that credits can be retroactive. Students can pass the examinations now and receive credits in the next school year.

Lee said the government officials were impressed with the amount of time that pipers put into the art, and the way that the Institute of Piping can measure a piper’s ability in playing, theory and maintenance. The BC Government compared the application with established music programs, including the Toronto and London conservatories and concluded that the Institute of Piping levels are comparatively stronger.

“From my experience travelling to different piping communities, I have noticed that quite a number have developed their own education and examination systems,” Lee says. “These are all excellent in that they encourage the development of pipers around the world. It would be nice if the piping world could get behind a single, leading curriculum. The Institute of Piping syllabus has really been improved and become much more comprehensive in the past three years. Pipers should consider getting involved with it.”

Lee added that his efforts are in not directly connected with the British Columbia Pipers Association or the Simon Fraser University Pipe Band program. Jack Lee is the Pipe-Sergeant of the Simon Fraser University Pipe Band.

The Institute of Piping was created in the 1970s by Seumas MacNeill and the College of Piping in Glasgow. It now comprises the College of Piping, the Army School of Piping, the Piobaireachd Society and the National Piping Centre, all based in Scotland.

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