While considering the question of the teaching staff for the training of the professionals, it is presumed that such training would follow the preparatory course of study common to all who desire to be painters, sculptors, architects, commercial artists etc.
In certain schools of art, this pattern comprising—(1) Preparatory and (2) Specialisation of professional training—is already in practice. In others, each of the courses commences direct from the beginning; this has naturally an over lapping of certain basic subjects like drawing etc. It is, therefore, necessary to consider the teaching staff for both these stages. We must accept one thing in the beginning viz., that no school of art can teach what to do or to create, but can only teach how to equip oneself with the knowledge and practice of the craft of each profession.
The teaching staff for schools of art should be broadly divided as follows:
(1) Whole-time—Permanent and pensionable.
(2) Part-time—Contract, non-pensionable.
(3) Selected teachers for coaching the apprentices in their studies—Contract, non-pensionable.
The qualifications for these should be as follows:
(1) Whole-time Teachers: It is natural to expect for this class of teachers high academic qualifications. The existing diplomas and degrees in fine art should be the minimum for the purpose of consideration and persons should also have travelled widely, abroad and in India. Unfortunately, beyond the secondary school level, no special training to art teachers in schools of art is now available. What is available is only for the secondary school level. A teacher in a school of art should have definite knowledge of history of art and also of the materials and their use. Mere proficiency in execution does not tend to make a good and sound teacher. If a person is only that then he is likely to show off or even correct the students’ work imposing every time his personal manner. This is not what it should be. A good teacher must bring out the best and also have the joy of having achieved something by his students.
The permanent teachers are naturally expected to influence the students considerably as they are to be with them for all the time. It is, therefore, very essential to choose persons of this category who will keep their minds open and keep up with the changing times. The usual trouble with this class is that once they are in service, they cease to progress on account of the security given by the service.
(2) Part-time Teachers: In respect of these teachers, apart from academic qualifications (which could be relaxed wherever necessary) stress should be laid on their having (1) special knowledge of any particular branch and (2) definite point of view in their creative work.
(3) “Ashram” System: In this case, the academic qualifications should not be a consideration at all. Only those who are successful in life should be chosen as coaches for the selected students for working on actual problems.
This last type is envisaged with an idea of giving students a choice to study how actual problems of professional work are tackled by professional artists, this would be the modern version of the old “Ashram” system. In modern days it could be broadly called apprentice system.
The question of salaries in case of the permanent full-time teachers has to be considered anew. At present, the various schools of art in different States have different scales of pay. Some of the new ones have better scales, but generally such scales arc very low to attract a really good person to service. The usual conditions are not considered. At 25, one may establish ones reputation as a teacher etc. but for teaching purposes, a more mature person would be very essential. The present scales are meant for the average service of 30 years, and one is supposed to begin at 25. All the scales are, therefore, long drawn out, so much so that in certain cases very few get the advantage of the last pay permissible. For this type of teachers, a short-range scale beginning with a decent start and ending with not too much of increment may be considered. This would give the necessary stability and a complete idea of what a person is to get for his life. In the United Kingdom, a person getting say X pounds a week to start with does not rise to 10X as it does here but it is perhaps 2X but not more. The starting salary should not be less than Rs. 300/- per month considering the present conditions and that the maximum pay may be Rs. 500/- with a rise of Rs. 20/- per year. The present service rules do not permit a Government servant to practise his profession except by special permission in each particular case of commissions. This perhaps needs to be corrected. The rule is perhaps justified in case of other services but in case of art teachers, the application of this rule makes them stale, as they no longer keep themselves in touch with the changing world. Therefore, it stands to reason that this condition should be relaxed liberally and the teachers should be encouraged to work on their own. Each school should have even studio facilities for their use.
The whole-time teachers will bear the burnt of giving the essential training. They will also look after the day-to-day organisational work connected with their branch of art like arranging model etc.
This class should be eligible for pension facilities.
(2) Part-time Teachers: These should be on visiting basis. The visits should be not more than three times a week. The average fee should not be less than Rs. 25/- per visit. These persons will watch the work of the students according to their outlook and will give them their point of view by criticism and demonstration. This will give an opportunity to students to understand different out looks in art and also to know the day-to-day changes in art.
The part-time teachers will not be burdened with any organisational or administrative work. The term of their office should be normally of 3 years so that one batch will be completely under their guidance.
The third category will be of practising artists of the place having their own studios. They should be allotted not more than 5 students and the school should pay Rs. 50/- per month per student to such persons for allowing these students to work in the studios. The choice of the students should be left to the artist himself. This would give the students a chance to work on problems that are not hypothetical but are actual. The students could also know how a professional actually works, how he gets himself ready for exhibitions etc. Naturally, the students will be those who have done considerable work earlier and who are on the threshold of their career. This would also help the artists themselves to work in their studios better. This is a new departure from our present ways. But it has been practised in old days everywhere. An apprentice worked under a master for several years so that he knew all the secrets of the trade or profession and then tried to work on his own. As a supplementary to our existing system, this addition ought to yield some good results. The present schools of art have a tendency to be very large and unwieldy. This naturally does not give a chance for individual attention which is very necessary.
The combination of all these methods will weed out the bulk of students and will give a better opportunity to the really few good ones to get all the attention.
The designations of the teaching staff should also be suitably decided. Though designation is a matter which does not deal with actual teaching, it needs consideration as it affects the status of the teachers. Proper dignity would make a person feel responsible while discharging his study as a teacher.
The tendency of the permanent staff is to lose interest in their work, but they at least identify themselves completely with the institution.
While the full-time staff, when made permanent, tends to identify with the institution, the part-time teachers on the other hand tend to remain aloof from the institution. Efforts should be made to make them interested in the institution through their work. The artists in studio should also keep in touch with the institution. The suggestions made are purely objective and broad. The details as required for each branch will have to be worked out. However, the general idea behind these suggestions is that the permanent whole time staff will give the basic training. The part-time one will give the specialised training in keeping with the changing time. And the last type will give the actual knowledge of professional work. It is hoped that with the implementation of the above suggestion no school of art is likely to get static or fixed in its teaching methods, but will allow a new spirit to enter into the scheme of teaching as and when required.