Soon, folk arts will be taught in govt high schools

Folk arts such as Kamsale and Dollu Kunitha will soon be taught in government high schools across Karnataka as part of co-scholastic school activities.

The Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) is working with the Department of State Educational Research and Training (DSERT) to implement a scheme called ‘Value Education through Folk Culture’ with funding from the United Nations’ Children’s Fund (Unicef).

The two agencies are currently engaged in a pilot project to launch the scheme in two taluks each in four districts by the next month. The scheme will be launched in Shimoga district (Dollu Kunitha in Soraba taluk and Veeragase in Shikaripur taluk). In Chamarajanagar, Tambori Padagalu (Chamrajanagar taluk) and Kamsale Pada (Kollegal taluk) are the art forms that have been selected.

In Ramanagara, Kolata and Kamsale will be taught in schools of Ramanagara taluk and Kanakapura taluk, respectively. Hejje Mane and Dollu Kunitha will be taught in Lingasugur and Manvi taluks, respectively, in Raichur district. The programme is for students of classes six to nine.

 “There are many folk arts that are unique to each district and areas of the State. We want to impart value education through these folk arts and make students interested in them at an early age, especially in the light of the onslaught of cinema, television and other forms of media,” a DSERT official involved in implementing the plan said, wishing to remain anonymous.

Experts in the chosen folk arts will be picked as master trainers and they will in turn train other resource persons to teach in schools. “We plan to finish imparting the training in the first three months of implementing the plan in about 20-30 sittings,” said Philomena Lobo, director (additional charge), DSERT. While the SSA has prepared the action plan for the programme, the DSERT is the implementing agency. After the pilot phase, the scheme will be implemented across the State.

Dr Prem Kumar, professor and director, Centre for Folklore Translation, Karnataka Folklore University, Haveri, welcomed the move to introduce folk arts in schools, but said it should not be “restricted to performing arts” but should be more broad-based, and include other traditional and cultural knowledge in the various fields.

“There is an entire cultural knowledge system in areas such as tribal medicine, traditional agricultural practices, food habits like the diet of seasonal foods that needs to be promoted. Today’s corporate culture does not learn any lessons from the business methods and strategies in villages and rural areas even though this forms the bulk of employment for the larger population in the countryside.”

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