India/ 8.3 Arts and cultural education  

8.3.4 Higher arts education and professional training

In India, higher education is split between three major entities. There are Universities (state and central, and, now increasingly, private), who either offer courses directly at undergraduate or graduate levels, or through Schools (to take a recent instance, the School of Culture and Creative Expression, at the Ambedkar University, Delhi) or the Sarojini Naidu School of Arts & Communication, which is a part of the University of Hyderabad. Then, there are single-discipline professional institutions (like the National Institute of Design; the Film & Television Institute of India; and, the School of Planning and Architecture), many of which are controlled either by the All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE) or, if a ‘professional’ discipline, by the relevant Council, e.g. the Council of Architecture for architecture courses. There are also a third set of autonomous institutions, including those that offer practical arts education, which have University affiliation.

Higher education in the visual arts and performing arts: Many prominent universities throughout the country offer various Diploma, Bachelors, Masters and Ph.D programmes in the Visual and Performing Arts. Some of the prominent universities include the Maharaja Sayajirao University, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Banaras Hindu University, University of Delhi, Jamia Millia Islamia and University of Mumbai. The School of Arts and Aesthetics, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, currently offers MA, M.Phil. and Ph.D. programmes. The M.A. in Arts and Aesthetics is a cross-disciplinary programme combining a study of the Visual and Performing Arts, and Cinema Studies. The M.Phil and Ph.D. degrees offer specialised degrees in any one of the three streams at the school, Visual Studies, Theatre and Performance Studies and Cinema Studies.

Theatre: India has no less than 49 Departments of Theatre, of which the best known are Department of Indian Theatre, Punjab University, Chandigarh;  Academy of Theatre Arts, University of Mumbai; Lalit Kala Kendra, University of Pune; and, School of Drama and Fine Arts, Thrissur. Many of these Departments, e.g. Pune, Baroda, Mumbai and Chandigarh, also have music departments. The National School of Drama, New Delhi provides a three-year full-time Diploma Course or entrants intending to make theatre their profession. The Kalakshetra Foundation, Chennai offers Diploma courses in dance, music, and fine arts, and Post Diploma study in music and dance.

Design: The ‘Eames Report’ (written by designers Charles and Ray Eames in 1958) outlined a programme for professional design training in India that went on to became the backbone for the National Institute of Design (NID), Ahmedabad. NID was set upin 1961 as an autonomous national institution for research, service and training in industrial design and visual communication under the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India. NID offers a Graduate Diploma Programme in Design (GDPD) and a Post-graduate Diploma Programme in Design (PGDPD) with specialisation in industrial design, product design, furniture & interior design, ceramic & glass design, communication design, graphic design, animation film design, film & video communication, exhibition (spatial) design and textile, apparel and lifestyle accessory design.

The National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT) was set up in 1986 under the aegis of the Ministry of Textiles, Government of India and later granted statutory status under the act of Parliament of India in 2006. NIFT offers Bachelor in Design (B.Des) and Technology (B.FTech.) and Masters Programmes in Design (M.Des.) 

Film: The Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) was set up in Pune in 1961, as India’s first full-scale training institution for cinema, including courses in Direction, Editing, Sound and Camera. In 1971, the Television wing was added, moving from its earlier location within the national broadcaster, Doordarshan’s Mandi House offices in Delhi. Originally intended to be an in-service training location for personnel from Doordarshan, a one-year course in television was later added.

In recent years, several new film institutes have opened, notably the Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute, Kolkata, along with private initiatives set up by members of the film industry (sich as Whistling Woods International, Mumbai; L.V. Prasad Film & TV Academy, Chennai; and, Rama Naidu Film School, Hyderabad). Most regions in India now have their own film schools, including the Annapurna International School of Film and Media, Hyderabad; Arya Film and Television Academy, Jaipur; Asian Academy of Film & Television, New Delhi; Biju Pattanaik Film and Television Institute, Cuttack; Centre for Advanced Media Studies, Patiala; City Pulse Institute of Film & Television, Gandhinagar; Department of Culture & Media Studies, Central University of Rajasthan; Government Film and Television Institute, Bangalore; Indian Film and Television Institute, Meerut;  School of Film and Media Sciences, KIIT University, Bhubaneswar; Madras Film Institute, Chennai; Matrikas Film School, Delhi; and, Regional Government Film and Television Institute, Guwahati.

India has seen a near-explosion of centres of mass media, television and journalism. The leading institutions however continue to dominate, namely the AJK Mass Communication Research Centre, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi and the Asian College of Journalism, Chennai.

Among the unusual instances of professional practitioners who now also offer well-known courses are the Attakkalari Centre for Movement Arts, Bangalore and the Gati Dance Company, Delhi. Both offer Diplomas in contemporary dance. 

Chapter published: 22-04-2014