Grant Period: Over one year
Radhika Khanna has a background in mass communications (Mass Communications Research Centre, Jamia Millia Islamia) and had earlier worked with the Delhi-based theatre director Barry John’s Theatre in Education (TIE) programme.
Radhika Khanna looked critically at certain educational institutions in New Delhi in order to find out how they understand, implement or ignore the arts in education. Radhika felt that work in this area has been done in isolation and that there is a need to bring together different people and organisations to influence changes in the educational systems in our country.
Radhika was in close touch with two of the institutions – Mirambika School and the Mirambika Teacher Training Institute (MTTI) – in both of which she has successfully used theatre in the everyday curriculum.
Radhika also had discussions with authorities at the Indian Certificate of Secondary Education (ICSE). She was pleased that Mirambika and the ICSE authorities were looking at the possibility of the schools establishing their own evaluation mechanisms under the auspices and recognition of the ICSE Board of Studies. She used the opportunity to test and critique the arts curriculum (music, theatre and dance) brought out by the ICSE authorities.
Radhika intended to write for selective newspapers and magazines while her research was in progress – to highlight work done and invite participation. However, the report that Radhika worked on reaffirmed the perceived value of introducing the arts in education. This is because the Mirambika institutions had to face significant challenges on the issue of affiliation. The school was not willing to get attached to the CBSE; and the idea of National Open School, for most parents, was difficult to accept. The absence of relevant detail—the Mirambika student’s voice and the lack of clarity in defining the context and concerns of Mirambika—thus prevented Radhika from making significant links between ‘arts education’ on one hand, and the Mirambika institutions on the other hand.