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UGC proposes norms to connect artists to higher education

Higher educations institutions will soon empanel local artists and artisans as “kala gurus” to connect them with the country’s mainstream education system, the University Grants Commission has proposed in draft guidelines.

UGC was planning guidelines to engage practising artists in higher education institutions (Agencies/Representative use)

This would be in line with the National Education Policy 2020 that wants to bridge the gap between higher education and the arts (kala) by creating a strong bond between them, the commission said in the draft rules made public on Friday for feedback.

The UGC was planning guidelines to engage practising artists in higher education institutions, HT had reported in July last year.

An analysis of the current education system shows it is operated in a “mechanical way,” the draft said. “It not only lacks emotions and feelings, but also limits co-curricular activities,” it said. “Even in the field of Visual and Performing Arts, the students are not getting real-time exposure to art and art forms.”

“There is a dire need to connect the Kala Gurus to the mainstream of higher education,” the proposed guidelines said. “Not only the students will get the maximum benefit, but the art forms will also get new dimensions and not get extinct.”

The artists will be empaneled by the concerned academic departments where their services would be required. The institutions will invite applications and will constitute a committee, headed by the head of the institution or her nominee, to carry out the selection process, the guidelines stated. The term of these gurus will be decided by the institutions.

“They may hold lectures, demonstrations, workshops, practicals, training, etc,” the commission said in the guidelines.

Defining the eligibility criteria, the guidelines said the artists and artisans will be empanelled under three categories— Parameshti Guru, Param Guru and Guru. They can be associated with any art form, including handicrafts, music, dance, folk dance, theatre, puppet shows, yoga, professional art forms like painting and photography, story telling, magic shows, and calligraphy, among others.

For the Paramesthi category, the artists should be a Padma Awardee or have won a prestigious honour of national or international level with experience of not less than 20 years, the commission said. Similarly, for the Param category, the candidate should have won at least one national and state level government recognised award or any other award of the equivalent level, and an experience of at least 10 years.

The Guru category will cover artists who do not come in the above categories but have gained fame as master artists of a particular art form, and have at least five years of experience. There won’t be any age bar for the three categories.

“Kala Guru, who come from the traditional family (Gharana) of an art form, their candidature must be supported by the proof of the fame of the Artist’s lineage,” the guidelines stated.

The guideline further suggested that the empanelled kala gurus will be provided a suitable well-equipped workplace to carry out the activities having requisite facilities and materials along with other assistance needed to deliver the learning, travel expenses, accommodation and honorarium.

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