An education system combines technology with classical arts.

If the powers that be take it upon themselves to preserve and promote our classical arts, and in the process begin at the grassroots, what more can citizens ask? Our state already seems to have taken a long stride in this direction.

The Rajeev Gandhi University of Knowledge Technologies (RGKUT) housed in the International Institute of Information Technology (IIIT) premises but having nothing whatsoever to do with the institute, is a nascent academia with an ideology that may sound utopian, but given the commitment to the cause, can throw up new ideals into practice. Of late, this relatively young varsity had recruited qualified classical musicians and dance teachers to provide education to the engineering aspirants pursuing this professional course in its three centres/colleges at Basra, R.K. Valley (Idupulapaya) and Nuziveedu. There was however, a misconception doing the rounds that the recruitment of these performing art teachers was done by IIIT. “We are in no way a part of IIIT. It so happens that the administrative mechanism of RGUKT is being run from the IIIT campus since we do not have a place of our own,” clarifies Vice-Chancellor R.V. Raja Kumar.

Tracing the genesis of this three-year-old varsity, which was the brain-child of late Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy, the VC says, “The concept was a step towards empowering rural population by providing access to quality engineering education. It was a Herculean task because, along with academics we had to provide the impetus through free accommodation and food. We would come under the state ministry of scientific education. Initially, we started with 6,000 students — the cream of class 10 across the entire state from mandal and village area government schools. The varsity was formed with centres/colleges in the three regions of the state. Our wholesome education is providing rural youth with technological education which they can never dream of, given the financial unviability which gets surmounted here.”

But how does music and dance fit into the scheme of things in a technological education? “In India, education is often channelised into the narrow groove unlike the West where humanities figure in professional courses be it technology or medicine. Those who are into the study of technology should necessarily have a social sensitivity. The rural-urban divide has not allowed the technologists to address rural needs. It is here that humanities comes into being. At RGUKT, we have a broad-based technical education. We have introduced a minor in music for major in engineering. For instance, a major in mechanical engineering stream can choose multimedia or sound engineering as a minor subject which would enable them to emerge as music technologists. This combination would be equal to B.Tech in music technology,” he explains.

A long way to go for these budding engineer aspirants, as the first batch has yet to pass out! What sort of a future do they envisage? “We would like to see a lot of personality building in youngsters so that they imbibe and live by the values inculcated by these classical art forms. The entertainment industry is growing by leaps and bounds. Our technocrats may find a huge potential in films, music and media industries,” he says, signing off.

Keywords: RGKUTIIITarts education