Help us Improve Education in Government Primary Schools

Let there be ART

“Why do you like these art sessions?” 

“Because I learned something”, said Ashish, a 5th-grade student from a Primary School in Bhadaini, Varanasi. There’s no art teacher in Ashish’s school. So the scope of learning how to draw is nil. Can you imagine a childhood without crayons and drawing books? Thousands of children from Government Primary Schools are getting an education, but art is not a part of it. 

The doodling that your child does, studying in a fancy play school, is not just a random activity to kill time. It’s essential for her/his growth. It plays a key role in the development of the thought process of your child. Now figure this, there’s a whole generation that is missing out on this essential element of learning. A major chunk is not getting to develop the much necessary qualities of observing and thinking.

“I’m not sure if the children would be able to deliver anything. They’ve never drawn anything before, they have never been taught to draw”, said Mrs Anju, the principal of Primary School at Bhadaini, Varanasi. We were asking for her permission to conduct the first session of “Let's Start Art” in her school. 

We also were not very sure about what to expect there. But we were in for a surprise. Prof. Suresh Nair (Advisor at Shuruart) asked the students to draw the pictures of their parents. He gave them a very basic demonstration by drawing on the blackboard. There was Meena who drew her mother’s picture with her hair tied in a bun. “She ties her hairs like this,” she said. The students were hesitant at first, but when they started drawing the variety offered was unexpected. Their observation was keen and was clearly visible on their drawing sheets. Clothes worn by their parents, the way the mothers carry their sarees, their hairs, all these details were portrayed using vibrant colours. “My father always has this frown on his face,” said Sufiyan who drew his father with a frowning face.

That session was a learning experience for us and the students both. The students got an experience of drawing, and we came to know that irrespective of the background, any child can draw. Till now we have successfully conducted 12 sessions of “Let’s Start Art” in 3 Primary Schools of Varanasi.

At SHURUA(R)T we have been striving to bring the world of art to the students of Government Primary School in Varanasi. The intent of teaching them basic skills of drawing, through our initiative “Let's Start Art” is to help these students develop an understanding of their surroundings, to make them more observant, and to make education a fun experience for them. All of this would help in ensuring not only better academic results, but also the much struggled for attendance in schools, and participation in classrooms. 

We were looking for someone to support to keep on conducting the “Let's Start Art” sessions. We wrote many cold emails to people we thought can support the initiative.It was Saumitra Prasad, Head of Marketing at Kokuyo Camlin who on the very first attempt connected us to Mr C. Ojha, D.G.M. Marketing, Kokuyo Camlin. The enthusiasm shown by Kokuyo Camlin brought us on the same page. Kokuyo Camlin has very kindly provided the art supplies to run these workshops for a quarter of the year. This step by Kokuyo Camlin clearly indicates that how big companies are playing their role in making a better eco system for small town start-ups like Shuruart.

Quoting Mr C. Ojha, D.G.M. (Marketing) at Kokuyo Camlin, “development experts have established beyond doubt that exposure to art during early childhood paves the way for the balanced development of the brain and a successful adult life. KOKUYO CAMLIN believes that doodling during the early years could help the child to become a successful surgeon or a corporate samurai by developing the fine motor skills, creativity and innovation, teaching them perspectives and proportions early and ensuring greater communication abilities. Art also helps a child in maintaining good mental health by releasing the pent-up emotions. Art of children could also be used as a window in their lives and mind to learn about the psychological and social situation they are going through and help them in case of need”.

We often confuse good education with good grades and better-paying jobs. We need to understand that these things are just pieces of a much bigger picture. The aim of spreading education shouldn’t only be to make masses literate but also to make them better human beings. Art develops critical thinking, empathy, and it thoroughly changes the way we look at the world. And if anything this world needs right now is people seeing it in a new and better light.

Mr Ojha states, “Shuruart is doing a great work by exposing the students of weaker section of the society to the wonderful world of art and widening their horizon. This will not only help them in enjoying the process of education and learn better but would also make them better citizens of tomorrow India. Art would enhance their emotional development and ensure better left and right brain balance, making them creative while being rational. Since the tagline of KOKUYO CAMLIN is “Let’s Make Learning Fun,” we are happy to support Shuruart in their endeavour.” 

As the name Shuruart suggests, this is just the “beginning”, we wish to take this across the country. Making art a part of the curriculum is the long term goal of “Let's Start Art”.

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