As many as 50 teachers, artists and layout experts are giving final shape to a new curriculum that is expected to make the learning of Malayalam and Kerala culture more interesting for non-resident Keralites across the world.

A week-long workshop organised by the Malayalam Mission at Kovalam is the culmination of an extensive participatory exercise that began in September 2010 with the objective of preparing textbooks for various courses at Malayalam learning centres across the country and abroad. Teachers from Kerala and those from the centre in Delhi participated in the exercise.

“It may be for the first time that the textbooks and hand-books for the education of children are prepared by parents and teachers in interactive sessions with the cooperation of artists and specialists,” V.R. Ajithkumar, Registrar, Malayalam Mission, said. “The basic text and hand-books for teachers were prepared by parents and teachers working voluntarily at the learning centres in Delhi. We organised 15 workshops in Delhi and Kerala to evolve the final material which will be released on Thursday.”

The four courses have been named after flowers endemic to Kerala. While the certificate course is named Kanikonna, the diploma course is titled Suryakanthi, the higher diploma course Mukkutty and the senior higher diploma course Mandaram. Each course has six units, namely family and social structure, basic needs, fairs and festivals, art and culture, environment, and renaissance. The books provide an overall picture of the history, culture, art and social structure of Kerala. The ongoing workshop is led by layout artist Atanu Roy. Omchery N.N. Pillai, president, Malayalam learning centre, Delhi, and K. Sureshkumar, director, Malayalam Mission, are taking part.

The Malayalam learning centres were started in Delhi in 2005. More than 5,000 students have completed the courses at these centres. The success of the learning centres in Delhi, and demands from other States and abroad inspired the State government to start the Malayalam Mission under the Official Language department.

“There are more than 150 learning centres in Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, and Rajasthan. From this year, we have plans to start centres at Chennai, Mumbai, Coimbatore, and Dubai,” Mr. Ajithkumar said.

Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan is scheduled to release the textbooks and hand-books at a function to be held at Cliff House on Thursday. Writer U.R. Ananthamurthy will receive the first copy. Prof. Omchery N.N. Pillai, poet Sugathakumari, playwright Pirappancode Murali, artist Kanayi Kunhiraman and Ezhumattoor Rajaraja Varma are expected to be present.

It will be taught at learning centres across the country and abroad.