The holiday season is just around the corner, but a section of government school students across Tamil Nadu are looking forward to going to school as state-level competitions called ‘Art Festival’ will be organized later this month. The government’s initiative, which was rolled out last month, has not only achieved the goal of re-engaging students in extra-curricular activities, which subsided during the COVID-19 pandemic, but has also improved school attendance, officials told TNIE.
Kakarla Usha, Principal Secretary, School Education Department, said the idea behind the art festival is to get students involved again in school events after a gap of two years. “We consider the competitions (within the festival) as measures to promote confidence and we believe that the creation of classroom dialogue between the teacher and the students will be created,” he added according to TNIE.
Officials say that more than 28 thousand students from across the state participated in around 160 events held as part of the “Art Festival”. The list of competitions ranged from vocal music to dance to language. 1,76,400 students were selected from block level events and then participated in district level competitions. The participants were classified into three segments: VI-VIII, IX-X and XI-XII. Students of classes VI-VIII have had 36 events, those of classes IX-X 78 events and students of classes XI and XII have had 82 events, TNIE reported.
Winners take it all
The district level winners would participate in the state level events of the festival to be held from December 27 to 30. Chief Minister MK Stalin would distribute the prizes to the winners. State-level events will be held in Madurai for classes VI-VIII, Coimbatore for classes IX-X and Chengalpattu, Tiruvallur and Kancheepuram for students of classes XI and XII.
S Anbusekaran, Assistant Project Officer, Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan (Trichy district) told TNIE, “Several school students are showing interest in these competitions and this has ultimately improved participation in all schools, we hope it continues.”
P Kowshik, VIII in Government Higher Secondary School, Thirupainjeeli. who is taking the class and played the paraia in a band event at the district level competition said he had no prior formal training in playing the instrument. He said he learned from the villagers because of the Art Festival.
Activist S Umamaheshwari, however, said that the government should take care of the expenses such as transport expenses of students for the festival. “Other costs for arrangements such as microphones and speakers for events could be better managed.”
Meanwhile, Chief Secretary Usha said the winners of the state-level events of the festival will be taken on foreign trips to experience international art festivals and events. Besides, several famous artists from various fields have appeared to enhance the talents of the student participants, he added. A head of the department said that there is a plan to hold the festival from July next year.