“There is a need to evolve curricula within the next five years for at least 300 artistic skill sets to be taught in ‘Gurukuls’ for vocational training in each skill,” Rajeev Sethi, chairman and founder trustee, Asian Heritage Foundation, has said.

Delivering the graduation day address at DJ Academy of Design recenlty, he said all educational institutions, especially colleges of fine arts, design and architecture, should be made open to highly skilled individuals and members of craft communities even if they did not have any formal academic training.

“Handicrafts, handlooms or folk performances will not survive beyond 2020. These terms have a limited perspective at a given time of our history and not quite understood in a global market. Man will continue to configure machines that will soon make anything, including that which is made by hands. ‘Hand-crafted’ in India no longer implies the use of dexterous human fingers, informed by an agile mind, motivated by tradition, and moved by the spirit,” he said.

In the name of lessening drudgery or increasing production, so called labour-saving devices or machines were replacing simple handcrafted tools to the detriment of skill that even the poorest of the poor with two hands could possess. ‘Made by hand’ was a much-abused tag that had a different meaning for different people, Mr. Sethi added.

“In today’s knowledge economy, the most crucial capital is the creation of original content. Design should lead the economy. Young designers have to reach out and be aware of, and influence the social and cultural dimension linked to their proficiencies. Only when our original content is created by vast number of people in the skills sector, the so called ‘sunset sector’ will turn into a ‘sunrise sector’,” he said.

Sanjay Jayavarthanavelu, chairman, Governing Council of the Academy, presided.

Gurukuls, curricula, vocational training, DJ Academy of Design, craft communities,crafts, handlooms, folk performances, academic training

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