Thursday, May 22, 2003, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


‘We give a chance to every student’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 21
It was the endeavour to give every student an opportunity to sit for the board examinations which resulted in 13 students of St Xavier’s Senior Secondary School flunking in the Class X examination conducted by the Council for Indian School Certificate Examination.

The school, which fielded the highest number of candidates in Chandigarh — 298 — was also the only school in the city which recorded failures although a number of its students scored 90 per cent and above marks, with 197 being placed in the first division.

When contacted, the school Principal, Mr Mervin West, said the school does not place any restrictions on students and gives every student a chance to sit for the board examinations regardless of academic performance.

“Certain schools have fixed a high pass percentage for their internal examination and only those students who clear it are allowed to take board examinations,” Mr West said.

This has also generated a debate among a section of educationists whether fixing a high pass percentage to boost the school’s result is justified or not. A number of academically weak students are “weeded out” before.

The Principal also pointed out that among the students who were unsuccessful, there were also those who were appearing as private candidates.

It is a known practice among some private schools to admit only those students having high academic performance to keep the school’s result and overall image in good light. This policy, Mr West claims, is not followed by his school, where they admit or promote a student with a relatively lower academic performance and then try to improve upon it.

On the exceptionally large number of students in Class X — about two-and-a-half times more than the school which fielded the second highest number, the Principal said they try to retain the maximum number of students being promoted to Class IX. “The general trend is that students opt for the CBSE after Class VIII and switch schools,” he said.


100 women trained in art
Our Correspondent

SAS Nagar, May 21
An advance teachers’ training course was organised by Pidilite Industries Ltd at NIFD in Phase VII here today. As many as 100 women participated.

The 10-day intensive training programme is aimed at promoting self-employment of women in the field of art and painting by empowering them with the necessary skills and support. The students received training in fabric painting and waste material management. A display and demonstration on Pidilite creations, namely fabric, glass paintings, rangeela, fabric glue, stick on kit, candle making kit and shilpkar were presented by teachers.

Mr Pankaj Bajaj, sales promotion in charge, said after the course the teachers would be certified as Fevicryl art teachers and would be given support in terms of indirect employment opportunities. Such an exercise had been successfully carried out in places like Varanasi, Lucknow, Allahabad, Kanpur, Chandigarh, Patiala, Ludhiana, Ambala and Jalandhar.



‘Dance is fuel for soul’
Parbina Rashid

Chandigarh, May 21
For Ishani Aggarwal, a student of Government Model Senior Secondary School in Sector 16, balancing is the key word to success and that is what she has been exactly doing — striking a perfect balance between her studies and classical dance. A bright student of the school, Ishani has done the school proud by receiving the national scholarship for learning Bharatnatyam from the Centre for Cultural Research and Training (CCRT) for the third consecutive term.

Ishani AggarwalIshani, who is doing her plus two in arts stream, was initiated into the world of dance at the age of 10. It was quite accidently she stumbled upon this particular dance from without any idea of what was to come, but it took her only a short while to make Bharatnatyam an integral part of per persona.

“Initially it was just my parents’ wish that I should learn some classical dance form but after-few days of bone breaking exercise I found out that I would like to continue dancing for the rest my life, even if it is not for full time,” she says.

A disciple of Suchitra Mitra, a dancer of repute from Kalashetra, Kolkata, Ishani’s first major break came when she received CCRT scholarship or the first time in 1998. For this she had to face tough competitions from various quarters but she made after the initial formalities of application and then a gruelling interview by the experts in this field.

“One has to have atleast five years of training in his related field before one can apply,” she says. “The interview includes theoretical knowledge as well as demonstration,” she adds. The scholarship entails Rs 400 per month valid up to the first year of graduation. However, one has to appear for interviews from time to time for its renewal, and in case the judges find the candidates’ performance under the mark, the scholarship gets discontinued. Ishani has renewed her scholarship twice since 1998.

Ishani has performed at Plaza carnival and annual Bharatnatyam shows in Chandigarh. But when it comes to a career choice, she opts for Indian Foreign Service. “I practice my Bharatnatyam with religious zeal but I do not want to adopt it as a career because there is not much scope for classical dancers in general and specially Bharatnatyam dancers in the north. Kathak is the widely preferred dance here,” she says.

The ‘abhinaya’ part of Bharatnatyam is Ishani’s strong point. “It takes hours of practice to learn ‘mudra’ and get the right expression,” she says sharing her experience of those initial days of her practice when her body used to wince at every step her guru used to make her perform.

But when it comes to the career choice, Ishani would rather try for the administrative services. “Preferably, India Foreign Service,” says Ishani, whose outgoing personality falls along the line of her chosen career. Ishani who keeps active interest in co-curricular activities held a term of the president of Girls Guide in her previous school, St Anne’s School, Sector 32.

“Dance feeds the soul and keeps me sane after the hectic schedule of my academic life,” says Ishani. “But it is a very slow process when it comes to achieve name and fame as far as classical dances are concerned and, more so, because I have chosen Bharatnatyam in a place where mostly Kathak is appreciated,” feels Ishani.


Derek O' Brien coming to city
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 21
After running in 75 schools of 30 cities noted quiz master Derek O' Brien's KQ School Advantage is now coming to Chandigarh. It is a 10-session course that balances academics with skills like public speaking, creativity and inter- personal skills.

According to a statement issued here today, the course will start at St John's High School on May 26, and at St Stephen's School on June 2.

The course, which is mentioned in the Limca Book of Records, is available at three levels -- junior (Classes IV and V), middle (Classes VI and VII) and senior (Classes VIII to XI).

The methodology of the course is simple. Derek appears on screen to conduct each session, while a trained co-host provides live interaction. Specially designed interactive games help participants become all-rounders and have fun while they learn.


Kathak dancers to attend seminar in city
Tribune News Service

Renowned kathak dancer Shobha Kausar addresses mediapersons
Renowned kathak dancer Shobha Kausar addresses mediapersons in Chandigarh on Wednesday. — A Tribune photograph

Chandigarh, May 21
The two-day kathak seminar on the nuances of Jaipur gharana, will commence from tomorrow at Pracheen Kala Kendra, Sector 35, here. Explaining the need to organise the seminar, danseuse Shobha Koser today said with the passage of years, variations of the highest order had crept into the field of dance.

With these variations, which are not so much in consonance with the original elements of the gharanas of kathak, the very structure of the gharanas stands altered as of today. Said Shobha , “Earlier in 1996, we had organised seminars on all the three gharanas — Jaipur, Lucknow and Benaras. Since then, dance styles have been undergoing further variations, many of which are not welcome, to the extent that they damage the dignified format of a dance style. Experts attending the seminar will bare the need of moving away from the traditional format, while at the same time guarding the purity of the dance style.”



A date with Mangal Dhillon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 21
Actor Mangal Dhillon today held an interactive session with the participants of the summer workshop at Trainer’s Den in Sector 17 here. Rolling in the summer workshop in style, the organisers today provided some sort of an orientation to the participants, who talked to Mangal about the various aspects of theatre, acting and film production.

The workshop is being conducted in three streams — modelling, dancing and acting. Rahul Prashar, Manager of Trainer’s Den, informed that the workshop already had about 22 aspirants above 14 years of age and 12 below 14 years.

Also included in the list of events to be covered during the workshop are mannerism, etiquette, music, action, facing the camera, art and craft, dressing up and other basic things.

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