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Learn Animation in Schools, Culture through Content & DD Kids Channel

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‘Applied gaming’ as part of school curriculum and incentives for developing educational games are among the major recommendations made by the taskforce on ‘Animation, Visual Effects, Gaming, Comics and Extended Reality (AVGC-XR)’ in its first report, which was released by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (I&B) on Monday.

The report, ‘Realising AVGC-XR Sector Potential in India’, called it a “sunrise” sector and gave recommendations for various ministries to boost growth in the industry.

The other recommendations include creating content in vernacular languages, offering globally recognised undergraduate, postgraduate degrees in skills, entry levels tests for higher learning, focused funding, launch of ‘Create in India’ campaign and a DD Kids channel.

The taskforce was set up following an announcement by finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman during her budget speech earlier this year to promote the AVGC sector, which has been growing at a rate of 16% year-on-year.

“The AVGC sector currently accounts for nearly 1% of the global market. India’s share can rise to 6%. The sector has the potential to create 20 lakh jobs in the next 10 years,” said Apurva Chandra, chairperson of the taskforce and secretary, I&B while launching the report. It was submitted to union I&B minister Anurag Thakur on December 22.

NATIONAL MISSION, CENTRE OF EXCELLENCE

The report highlights launch of a national mission and the country’s first National Centre of Excellence (NCoE) on AVGC, which will offer degree courses in the sector. “The centre will serve as a reference point for the sector across different areas. It is to be established as a nodal agency with focus on education and training standards, benchmarking practices to international standards, carrying out quality assurance, promoting industry access to domestic and international markets and defining various operational frameworks for the industry and academia,” the report stated.

The centre will formulate a national framework for online skill gaming that protects interests of the users at large. For various classification of games — casual, real money and e-sports — relevant regulatory development be provided by the government.

The report recommends I&B closely work with the Ministry of Education to draft a holistic framework for AVGC education in the country. “The framework should consider teaching methodologies, core areas of teaching, new subjects, mode of examination for creative fields etc. to ensure complete representation of the stakeholders in the AVGC ecosystem,” it said.

IN SCHOOLS

Considering the growing market for ‘applied gaming’, the taskforce suggested that it be included in the school curriculum, especially at upper primary and secondary levels, in line with the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020. “This would not only create a permanent demand source for the non-Pay2Play gaming sector in India, but also create opportunities for expansion of Indian educational games in the global market. Special financial incentives for enterprises developing such games must be considered,” the report said.

For primary level students, the report suggests skills such as observation skills, understanding moving images and visual language, color theory, introduction to performing arts, creative thinking and music awareness.

For classes 6 to 12, the subject pool could include courses such as creative thinking, local / folk art forms, narrative arts, performing arts, foundational learning in media ethics.

It is important to focus on the quality of teachers available at the level of schools for this sector. All higher education institutions must create a ‘train the high school teacher’ programme for training teachers to teach AVGC subjects at the high school level, it added.

Most of the suggestions in the report on the education framework of AVGC are to leverage the NEP, which is now the key document for formulation of all school-related curriculum in the country.

UG, PG DEGREES

The report also emphasises on University Grants Commission (UGC)-recognized curriculum for undergraduate and postgraduate degrees with a significant component of practical skills that can be imparted through a mix of in-house training by faculty and mentoring by industry professionals.

The higher education regulator could come up with a standard nomenclature for the degrees, for example, Bachelor/ PG in Experiential Arts (Gaming, XR etc) or Bachelor in Graphic Arts (Comics and Animation Design) etc through a mandate by 2025.

“Mapping and upgrading existing curriculum of educational institutions as per National Skills Qualification Framework (NSQF) guidelines to meet industry and international standards,” it said.

The taskforce suggested that the National Skills Development Corporation (NSDC) must promote AVGC-centric courses in Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Kendra (PMKK) and Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY) in urban and rural areas throughout the country.

It also suggests an entry-level test for admissions into animation, visual effects, gaming, film making or any other career program in AVGC sector. For instance, Media & Entertainment Creative Aptitude Test (MECAT) or similar tests may be administered. Tests will be administered in multiple languages to facilitate its acceptance among all regions.

BOOKS, CHANNEL

The National Council for Educational Research and Training (NCERT) has been suggested to create books focusing on subjects relevant to AVGC.

It also suggested launch of a ‘Create in India’ initiative with focus on content creation in vernacular languages for promotion of Indian culture, heritage, and folk arts globally.

The report highlights launch of a channel focused on content delivery for children to raise their awareness on the country’s rich culture and history. “It is recommended for the union government to create a DD Kids channel through the public broadcaster. Private broadcasters will also be encouraged to take up developing children-only content,” the report said.

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