Cultural classes go digital to practice social distancing during a pandemic
With the rising number of coornavirus cases in the city, all school and educational institutions have been shut to prevent transmission through public contact. As online schooling, teaching and learning have become the new normal, now various institutions teaching performing arts in the city of Lucknow also resort to a digital curriculum for the academic session of 2020-21.
Digital Future, Digital Culture
It has been a week since the new academic session of the Uttar Pradesh Sangeet Natak Akademi (UPSNA) and classes are being conducted online to impart training to more than 225 students in the 'kathak' dance form. In its legacy of 57 years, this is the first time that teaching has been conducted via video calling and recorded lectures.
With social distancing norms in place due to the Corona pandemic, the institute has decided to conduct online classes for freshers, second and third year University students pursuing their regular programmes and diploma courses. At UPSNA, classes are divided in 7 batches that are monitored regularly by three teachers. The digital medium has also paved a way for a more culturally inclusive society and the admission of foreign students has also gained more momentum. Tarun Raj, secretary, UPSNA, said, "Not only from Lucknow or UP, students staying abroad have also taken admission and are joining in the online classes. We have decided that even when students will be allowed to physically visit the academy, we will continue conducting a few online classes so that more students from the country and offshore are able to learn kathak."
UPSNA Vice chancellor, Shruti Sadolikar Katkar, said, "We have opened the forms and students can avail it offline from the university itself." She further said that the deadline of submission of is not decided, however, the admission tests which are conducted in April have been allotted a September end schedule. After these are cleared, the classes and sessions shall commence. "Despite uncertainties due to the pandemic, students are very much interested to continue learning classical music from teachers and technology has proved helpful in the present situation," she added.
The Bhartendu Natya Akademi (BNA) is also working on modalities for entrance exams and classes and BNA director Ramesh Gupta said, "It will be a challenge for us to conduct a written exam and audition for entrance because at present Covid-19 guidelines do not allow gatherings. We are working out on how to conduct classes in this situation."
The new session of classes at Bhatkhande Music Institute, scheduled to begin from September, will also be conducted digitally through the medium of live classes.