Monday, April 30, 2007

‘Education is too specialised today’

Excerpts from an interview with eminent film maker and theatre personality, MS Sathyu. Known for Garam Hawa and other films, Sathyu never completed his graduation, opting instead to join the world of filmmaking. He shared his views with M. Radhika.

What were your dreams and aspirations as a student?
Whatever I wanted to become, I have more or less become. I wanted to become a filmmaker. And I wanted to do theatre, which I still do. True, there is always the feeling that I could have done much more.

Did your education help you reach those goals? Did it hamper your achievements considering you gave up formal education to pursue filmmaking?
Education was not as specialised as it has become today. I could not specialise in anything. We had a curriculum, had to go through the syllabus. Then you went to college and opted for either Science or Arts. My father did not want me to pursue an insecure profession like filmmaking, so I opted for a least-chosen BSc. combination — Chemistry, Botany and Geology. Two years on, it was pointless for me. By then my interest in arts was more rooted. I went to Bombay to start work in 1952.

Was there anything that you wanted to change in the education system then?
I did not want to change anything, never gave any thought to it. It was a system that existed already. Besides, there were only a few specialised places that taught what I wanted. Bangalore’s Jayachamarajendra Polytechnic was the only institution that taught sound recording. Govind Nihalani, Murthy, Sathyan — they all came from there.

Were you satisfied with the education your children received? Was there any aspect you would have liked to change?
Seema Sathyu is a painter by profession. She did her MFA in Baroda and MA in painting at Jamia Millia Islamia, Delhi. Shaili is a qualified teacher. She dropped out of her architecture course to pursue education. They opted for whatever they wanted. I did not come in their way. My youngest daughter also pursued theatre. She runs the Indian People’s Theatre Association, India’s oldest theatre group.

What are your aspirations for India’s educational system today?
Education has become more of a business proposition; more for the elite and less for the general masses. There are no community schools. No concept of belonging to an area and going to the school in the neighbourhood. Our country’s education policy is wrong. We have followed what the British left behind. The economic divide is glaring. Yet we have done quite a bit — states like Kerala have achieved 100 percent literacy.

Do you subscribe to the concept of common schools for all children?
I am all for common schools. In cities, children have choices but in villages all classes of people go to the same school because there is no alternative available. In cities there is more disparity. More children are educated in cities than in villages.

May 05, 2007

Source: Tehelka

No comments: