Peeved by the inadequate facilities provided to the art colleges in the state, the artist fraternity has decided to notify the Higher and Technical Education Department about the condition of the schools and colleges by highlighting all requirements needed to upgrade the current academic curriculum.

Besides highlighting the condition of government-aided art institutes, which are almost in disarray because of the scarcity of proficient teachers and staff, the artists say that the prime reasons for the sorry state of affairs are lack of interest and inadequate salary given to professors per lecture. They say that because of this the future of students as well as art teaching is at risk.

Teachers paid poorly
Vijayraj Bhodankar, who has been an artist since past 21 years, said, "The colleges are not producing masters as there are no creative heads left to teach art. The institutions are not paying enough to the teachers. Paying just Rs 300-400 is certainly not enough. The artists have to spend the whole day conducting lectures."
Despite being aware of the current condition, the Education Ministry under Rajesh Tope has been planning to establish new art colleges in the city, Nashik and Amravati, for which a requisition has been sent to the Maharashtra Public Service Commission (MPSC). Apart from this, the post of director in the Directorate of Art too has been lying vacant for five years. There are additional 31 aided colleges and more than 200 art schools in the state, where facilities given to students are reportedly not sufficient.

No art material
According to artist Vasudeo Kamat, there are no basic facilities or proper places in the colleges for budding artists and there are always some differences between the views of the trustees and other staff. "In some of the institutions there is no art material available and students have to go to other cities to buy it. The colleges do not even consult senior artists to conduct lectures anymore," he said.

Sources say that in some colleges and schools there is one teacher for every 34 students, which is not sufficient as every year the numbers of students enrolling in the colleges is gradually increasing. At present, JJ College of Applied Arts, JJ School of Fine Arts, Government School of Arts, Aurangabad and Government Drawing College, Nagpur are the four major institutes run by the ministry.

Minister speaks
Minister of Higher and Technical Education Rajesh Tope confirmed there had been many complaints about the condition of art colleges. He said, "I conducted an inspection recently and have given directions to the faculty members. It's in process and we'll come up with a solution soon."