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Special Cultural Schools

RDT Special Culture Schools, a path-breaking attempt to skim out raw talent from rural communities and to gift the platform of opportunity to every child willing to explore and kindle their innate talent, apart from adopting basic education.

Special Cultural Schools were created with the purpose of ensuring a primary-level cultural education for 2 academic years between the ages of 5 and 10. Five government schools from each area are selected, and various cultural skills are imparted to the students at their local RDT Supplementary School. The prerequisite for the village to conduct cultural classes at the Supplementary School is a enthusiastic Community environment, talent among the children of the village and Community Organiser to facilitate the activities.

Each of these batches hosts around 35 to 40 children drawn from the nearby government schools. The schools also conduct special cultural programmes, and assessments are done twice yearly- The first is a performance at the village level, the other is a classroom test, where all the children perform in front of the Sector Team Leader (STL).From music, art and dance to drama and mimicry, the students are trained under the guidance of their teachers.

“It is wonderful to see our children perform dance, songs and drama in public and win prices in the competitions within and outside Andhra Pradesh.”
Mrs.Marekka
Parent

To keep the curriculum updated, a Cultural Officer (CO) visits twice monthly to monitor the class’ progress and introduce new modules which the CBT and children will practice an hour each day.

The high point in the children’s cultural calendar is the biennial (held every 2 years) Children’s Cultural Festival- this is a regional level competition held in the regions and a central level competition held at the RDT main campus covering song, dance and drama.

RDT is also involved in secondary music education, but these are through weekly music classes held at select government residential schools that are enthusiastic to offer cultural education. To this end, RDT appoints trained teachers at such schools to impart advanced level skills to secondary school students.

Many areas are equipped with sound systems, musical instruments, costumes, CDs, cassettes and other items for practice and show days, which are at the respective area offices. In the year 2014, the total number of Cultural Schools across regions were 120. Out of which,10 are located in Srisailam; 20 in Bathalapalli; 25 in B.K.Samudram; 25 in Uravakonda; 20 in Madakasira and 20 in Kadiri.

Children talented in acting, perform in awareness related cultural programmes. These are either held at their own villages or at times at neighboring ones. To make sure that children get the maximum exposure, they are encouraged to perform for visitors in Anantpur. Groups of children perform in rotation. RDT also makes sure, that quality talent should find the right stage and be assessed even by the outside world. Hence, these kids are groomed and trained to participate in prestigious national and state level competitions and invariably they come out with flying colours. This primary-level cultural training, even if the children do not continue with it beyond those two years, helps in imparting confidence and an appreciation for art and is an important part of RDT’s efforts to promote a socially harmonious society. The students of RDT’s Special Cultural Schools have explored platforms beyond village festivities, and have made a mark in auspicious and prominent events like Republic Day, Independence Day and Andhra Pradesh Day celebrations, apart from state and national level events.

Also, in the interests of encouraging exceptionally talented students at the secondary level, RDT conducts interviews after Class X exams, and speaks with the parents of such students to check if they’d be interested in pursuing Performing Arts education at college level. Students with remarkable potential in co-curricular activities have received tuition grants and gone on to colleges like Maharaja College in Vijayanagaram, Sharadha College in Kurnool, Venkateswara College in Thirupathi and Hindustani College in Gadag, to specialize in instruments like Tabla and Mrudungam (percussion instrument), Carnatic singing and dance forms like Bharatanatyam and Kuchipudi.

Up-to-date Quality Teaching

RDT has 24 C.O.s, 6 special C.O.s for the C.B.R. sector, and 5 Sector Team Leaders to each region. To impart cultural education, and make these children opportunity-ready to further explore any latent talent, RDT conducts special training sessions for their staff at regular intervals. They are trained at the RDT campus by outside faculty, and updated on several art forms, some being:

  • Dappu training, the basic local percussion instrument used in almost all cultural activities.
  • Classical dance forms like Kuchipudi and Bharatanatyam
  • Keyboard and Tabla training
HIGHLIGHTS
 
STAFF SPEAK
 

We all aspire to help in bringing about a radical change for the better in our country and immediate society. For some, accomplishing this is possible through donating to charity, but for most of us, hand-to-mouth survival takes almost every penny from our pockets. I am indeed blessed to be a part of RDT’s efforts. Being able to channelize my talent and expertise to groom these lovely children is an almost spiritual calling for me. I get to see the best of a child’s talent and personality bloom before my very eyes- such a blessing.”

Narayanaswamy,
Classical Music teacher

SUCCESS STORY
 

Lakshmi’s inspiring story of converting her passion into a profession, exemplifies RDT’s commitment to ensuring that exceptional cultural talent is given the chance to develop into a job that the student can carry out with enthusiasm.

Born to illiterate parents from Velikonda village of Yaravakonda, Lakshmi’s interest in music was noted when she was still in primary school. Living a dream she never dreamt, she found a spot in Government Music College, Vijayanagaram, where she pursued her diploma in music.

Determined and dedicated, Lakshmi also completed her graduation in Arts. Luck smiled on her, and, within 6 months of graduating, Lakshmi was appointed as a music teacher at the Government Residential School at Bramhasamudram Mandal. Today Lakshmi earns more than that of most men in her village.

“Initially, I feared going to college to pursue a degree in classical singing. Thinking that everyone belongs to a higher caste, I was nervous about how I would be treated. But my faith in my talent, and gratitude for the opportunity provided by RDT steered me. To excel, it is crucial to work hard and pursue knowledge. Music is divine, and we need to dive deep in its ocean, to collect the pearls of true learning. Only complete commitment can help one excel in a career in the cultural arts- which is highly competitive”

PARADIGM SHIFT
 

“When RDT approached us to include Carnatic singing training and Kuchipudi in our school’s curriculum with the support of some of the parents who were a part of their CDCs, I was sceptical. We are fully-strained to meet our teaching requirements under our budgets allocations. But RDT was committed to the programme, and the CDC parents were willing to share part of the special teachers’ salary pay-outs. It has been over a year now since the classes started, and I have seen the immense change in the quality of the children’s interactions, levels of concentration and respect for each other. I now inform other school principals in our seminars about the benefits the classes have made to our students’ scholastic performances as well.

Smt. Rajalakshmi Reddy,
Schoo principal

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