The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Madhyamik platform to perform

For Madhyamik students with a flair for dramatics, the time has come to show off and hone their talent. It’s also time to travel into the future, with Professor Shanku.

Saddled with a syllabus that has not changed for the last three decades, the West Bengal Board of Secondary Education is now planning to adopt a string of measures to make the syllabus more attractive to students. The performing arts and extracts from Satyajit Ray’s yarns for children will now be part of the course that, admits the Board brass, has grown stale.

According to the plans the Board is tinkering with, children with a knack for the performing arts will get a chance to finetune their skills even as they grapple with the algebraic equations and learn their history and geography. The Board is organising a workshop to formalise its plans at Ballygunge Government High School from June 9 to June 11, say officials.

The changing course of the Madhyamik syllabus affords students of the state the opportunity to dabble in the fine arts long before reaching graduation and post-graduation levels, say officials. To date, Rabindra Bharati is the only university in Bengal to offer courses in the performing arts at levels much higher than Class X, they added.

“We want to bring variety to the Madhyamik course by shifting from the stereotyped learning system,” West Bengal Board of Secondary Education president Dibyendu Hota said on Thursday. “The introduction of the performing arts in the school syllabus is a step in that direction,” he added.

The debut will be through dramatics, say officials. The Board has already written to theatre group Nandikar.

“We are in talks with Rudraprasad Sengupta, who heads Nandikar,” Board president Hota said. “We will discuss how to work out the specifics involved in including the subject in the school syllabus,” he explained, adding that the introduction of the new subject would depend on the outcome of those discussions.

If the proposal materialises, the Board will ensure that schools offering the subject are equipped with proper infrastructure and could engage an eminent faculty to give students a “real feel” of the subject, Hota said. “If necessary, we may ask schools of a certain area to share the space, infrastructure and the faculty till all of them individually possess the requirements,” he added. Success, however, will depend a lot on the government’s willingness to provide funds, officials cautioned.

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