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Cinema all set to enter classrooms

By Lakshmi B. Ghosh

NEW DELHI, MARCH 9. In an ambitious move to bring about a real change in teachers and students with the power of the reel, the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) is all set to take cinema to Indian classrooms.

With NCERT now setting up a Film Club to use cinema as a teaching tool, the new academic session that begins this coming April will see the Capital's students experience a new class that albeit off the time-table will not only turn their usual auditorium or playground into a theatre but also give them the chance to look at the medium of film in a completely new way.

"Cinema is such a powerful medium. It has a strong potential of acting as a learning experience for both teachers and student. And then, there are such great classics in our country that remain unseen because there is no public platform to screen them. A film like "Pather Panchali'', "Jagriti'' or "Gandhi'' can have great impact on students and teachers,'' explained the NCERT Director, Krishna Kumar, when asked for the reasons behind the Club. With the NCERT's Central Institute of Educational Technology (CIET) actively involved in making educational films for children, the NCERT is also hoping to create a platform for the screening of such works in schools, thereby opening a new learning experience for students. Although to be initial available in some centres, the NCERT is hoping to make it a regular activity in schools across the country soon.

"We are planning to make the screenings a regular activity from July. The plan is to Initially start with our own equipment in schools and have students, teachers and even parents come and watch these films together so they enjoy it as an experience. It is an opportunity for them to learn through the medium,'' said Prof. Kumar. But that is clearly not all. As part of the NCERT's long term plans to promote `hands on experience' among students, the Council is also looking for a venue where the CIET could possibility have students watch the process of film making and also try the medium by working with equipments.

Wednesday saw the inauguration of the NCERT Film Club with a Women's Day Special that saw the screening of documentaries made by women filmmakers on issues concerning women at the Council's campus.

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