Art and theatre for improving communication skills

Recommended for SC/ST students under Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan

Training in art, theatre, computer-related skills and journalistic writing has been recommended for Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe students under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan programme.

At a meeting here, educationists and non-governmental organisations emphasised communicative and life skill improvement as indispensable for their overall development. The recommendations were made under three heads, Communicative Skills, Life Skills, and Exposure to Outer World.

As part of implementation of Right to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009, efforts were taken to bring all children to school and check dropouts. Certain specific interventions have been provided by SSA for enrolling out-of-school children. Out-of-school children and school dropouts are enrolled in formal schools and provided special training through Residential Special Training Centres (RSTCs).

For Madurai district, Rs 1.82 crore was allocated with 10 centres and the target was to reinstate 2,059 children. However, 2,232 out-of-school children were identified and among them 1,355 were trained and sent back to regular schools.

SSA also gives special attention to cover children from disadvantaged groups and economically weaker sections. The SC/ST children, migrant children, urban deprived children, tribal children, nomadic children and Muslim children were enrolled in RSTCs, and Rs.8 lakh earmarked for SC/ST students in Madurai district.

T. Dharmaraj, Head, Department of Folklore, Madurai Kamaraj University, told The Hindu that, to make the SC/ST students as effective communicators of speech, writing and performance, they should be identified at VI standard and given continuous training in art and theatre.

He further said that art and theatre were universally accepted as effective means of communication in which oral, written and body languages were employed simultaneously. Interested students should be given training in oral, written and performing art forms. For this, experts from Department of Folklore, Fine Arts, Performing Arts and Theatre in various colleges and universities could be roped in. The representatives also recommended bringing out a children’s magazine to strengthen the written and journalistic skills of the students. The magazine could be written, edited and published by students.

Under Life Skills, the SC/ST students should be given training in operating computer and computer-related skills which include training in operating systems, using internet, ATM operation, net banking and social media.

Under Exposure to Outer World, rather than taking the students to picnic spots, they can be taken tofactories to gain a first-hand experience of various production units. They should also be taken to visit cultural heritage centres across the State and to provide exposure to the opportunities in higher education they shall be taken to various educational institutions.

A. Jeganathan, research scholar, Dept of Guru Nanak Studies, MKU, S.Agalya Devi, Rajiv Gandhi Memorial Women’s Rural Development Social Service, Madurai, and Kamudhi Subbiah, and Buddhar Kalam among others formed the team of representatives.

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