Matter of heritage

The Kochi Corporation's Centre for Studies in Culture and Heritage of Cochin is out to catch them young.

Promoting heritage clubs in city schools is the latest endeavour of the Centre, which is committed to conserving the cultural heritage and history of this port town, which boasts of a cultural tradition dating back 2000 years.

The Centre, in association with city schools, is soon to come out with a detailed programme for making the young generation aware of the need for conserving the cultural heritage of the land. This, according to the Centre officials, will be made possible by systematically introducing them to the various facets of our cultural diversity and heritage.

This effort is of great significance in the present socio-cultural scenario, in which there is a tendency to display intolerance to the culture and customs of others.

It will also help make then feel that they are a part of the cultural continuity of the land, apart from enabling them to appreciate and empathise with the culture and traditions of different sects and regions today, say Centre authorities.

The inculcation of such cultural values at the school level was expected to motivate the students to don the role of protectors and preservationists of the country's cultural property and heritage, they said.

Going by the draft programme prepared by the Centre, the activity of such clubs involves visits to local museums and local craft units. Students will interact and participate in the various activities of these units.

Students will be introduced to the local heritage of Kochi and Kerala with the aid of audio-visual presentations and would be encouraged to probe further into the cultural heritage of the country. They will also be exposed to the great civilisations and cultures that existed in other parts of the world.

The antique shops and heritage houses in the city would be the other centres of instruction where the students are to pay visits. They will also be told about the traditional sciences and technology that made these sites survive the test of time.

Introduction to various art forms like dance, music and fine arts, visits to various places of worship and familiarising the students with customs and practices of different socio-cultural and religious groups of the State and the city will form an integral part of the programme. These programmes would be designed in such a manner to inculcate in the young minds an attitude of respect and understanding of different religions and cultures, said Centre officials.

Visits to grandparents and villages, awareness programmes on the ecological background of Kochi, classes on pets and common animals, bird watching and listing of common birds of Kerala will also be included in the programme.

Eco-conservation would be one of the other areas of focus. Students will be made aware of the need for protecting and conserving fragile ecosystems and the role of wild life in maintaining eco-balance. The children will also be introduced to the various aspects of eco-conservation.

The Centre is planning to make the club timings flexible so that they do not clash with school hours.

Efforts would be taken to incorporate topics in the school curriculum into the activities and learning process at the clubs so as to save class hours, they added.

By Sudhi K.S.

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