By Ashish S Kulkarni*
What has remained a dream till now, is set to become a reality soon. Students in India will have the flexibility to study mathematics and music together. Dance, design and performing arts are set to become mainstream subjects, thanks to the mindset change attempted by the National Education Policy 2020.
Today, when people talk about Arts stream, their focus is mainly on economics, political science, literature, sociology, psychology or philosophy, while creative arts, performing arts or design always take a backseat because these subjects have never found a space they deserved in the curricula of schools or universities. The multi-disciplinary system to be set up under the new education policy will give an opportunity to the students to combine their engineering studies with theater, music, drawing, dancing or even sports.
It is with this proposed change that the new policy has emerged as a big boost to the Media, Entertainment, Events, Design and Sports verticals in India. Under the new educational structure outlined in the policy, we have a clear opportunity to position the creative arts, performing arts, design and sports verticals at par with science and commerce verticals.
The unique and new multi-disciplinary framework that is laid out for Universities to adopt, is the winning proposition of the NEP 2020, that lets students pick subjects from other streams. We all know that mathematics and music complement each other. Now, engineering students will have the option to take subjects like animation, event planning and management. Students will have equal opportunity to integrate a wider range of arts-based subjects into their formal educational framework. As early as grade 6, and onwards to graduation, this optional subject integration will help create the learning environment needed to lay a stronger foundation in these verticals. This would help serve a critical need for ‘techno creative skills’ required in the Events industry, Animation, VFX, Gaming, Comics, Augmented Reaility, Virtual Reality, Mixed Reality etc.
The flexibility of the undergraduate programs, as defined in the NEP 2020, in which students are not mandated to complete all four years consecutively is a great structure for the Media, Entertainment, Events, Design and Sports sectors that are reliant on experiential learning. More importantly, this flexibility will also make higher education more accessible to students from various backgrounds which is essential for the growth of Media, Entertainment, Events, Design and Sports verticals in India.
The possibility to craft special, individualized curricula to get the desired skill combinations required by an industry will be a game changer for the continuously evolving Media, Entertainment, Events, Design and Sports verticals. The success of this multi-disciplinary approach will be dependent on forging industry-academia relationships, which address the needs of the industry by equipping the future workforce with the necessary skills. A digital content economy is getting built world over. If we don’t place our content in that ecosystem, India would be losing out big time. NEP 2020 framework has given us an opportunity to fill the existing gaps.
When more and more people with essential skills enter the industry, the overall standard of the industry will be elevated. Over the next few years, the implementation of the NEP 2020 will better prepare the Indian Media, Entertainment, Events, Design and Sports verticals to grow up the value chain and grow their contribution to India’s GDP.
In the long run, enabling mainstream education in Media, Entertainment, Events, Design and Sports related subjects through schooling and graduation programs, will also create space and traction for masters and PhD-level research programs which at the moment, are scarce. These verticals require in-depth research in several areas, like social media consumption, as the content and products they put out have a higher impact on defining the behavioral trends and emotional intelligence of societies and populations of all ages. Research programs can also lead to finding more indigenous solutions for media-entertainment-design technology and with the consolidation of the education ecosystem, India can emerge as the new creative & entertainment technology startup destination.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during one of his interactions with the industry had emphasized that India should lead the international digital gaming sector by developing games that are inspired from Indian culture and folk tales. It is necessary to revitalize our old art and folk forms by integrating them into mainstream education. These art forms will bring about a unique Indian style, identity and recognition into a new contemporary digital content ecosystem – in turn, helping to create, establish and position Indian designs and brands specially through animation, gaming, comics, AR/VR/MR/XR content stylization.
The transformation through education proposed in the NEP 2020, will unlock potential for careers that up until today, were considered unconventional in India. Career pathways for kids in the coming 5 to 10 years will start getting well defined with a rock-solid foundation which will help shape them into skilled professionals.
With India’s 106 years of Cinema, as the producer of the largest number of feature films in the world year on year, in as many as 14 languages, and producer of Television content in over 18 languages, India can emerge as a major Media, Entertainment, Events, Design and Sports education HUB for the world. The need to make the right investments in infrastructure, curriculums and faculty development within these verticals is inevitable.
Finally, India seems to have found the right framework to impart relevant education and skill development that perfectly matches the needs of a vocation. The real success of the NEP 2020 will be felt once 5000+ schools and over 200+ universities are provided with the resources to invest in creative, design, events and sports education. The NEP 2020 and its proper implementation will enable India to emerge as a major creative content exporter, design leader and a great sporting nation.
*The author is the Founder of the Punnaryug – an art village project in Pune. He has been associated with the animation sector for over 20 years.
Reproduced from PIB, GOI for wider media circulation with views belonging solely to the author.