Kolkata, Feb 24 : A group of 21 Japanese students from Soka University Japan are undergoing a 10 day course in English language and Indian classical music in Kolkata.
The students are on an intensive exchange programme to Rabindra Bharati University (RBU), in Kolkata and are learning about Indian culture, with special emphasis on the multi-faceted literary talent and Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore.
The primary requirement of the students is to improve their abilities in English. The professors at the RBU are using techniques employed by Tagore himself to improve the foreign language listening, reading, writing and speaking abilities of the Japanese youngsters.
"We teach them four basic skills. How to read better, write better, listen and to appreciate and obviously how to use language in everyday usage. The cultural side is mostly Rabindrik to do with the theories, philosophies and the performing arts of Rabindra Nath," said Subir Kumar Dhar, Professor, School Of Language And Culture, RBU.
Japanese students sing Rabindra sangeet (songs of Tagore) in Bengali with as much enthusiasm as they sing their University song in Japanese. For many, this exchange programme has convinced them that on returning to Japan, they would try to spread awareness about Rabindra song and dance among their countrymen.
"We have learnt here a lot of things for example we learnt dance and songs and art of English and so we are so happy to learn not only English but also Indian culture," Yoshio Muraki, a Student, Soka University.
The professors at RBU held concentrated interactive poetry and story-telling sessions to make the students communicate in English.
The exchange programme is focused on 'Enrichment in English Language and Indian Culture', aimed at developing spoken English skills and imparting knowledge on Tagore's work and Indian culture.
Japan has realised the need to improve English language skills of its citizens to compete in the global environment. For this, Soka University tied up with RBU, so that these students from different streams like economics, law, science, arts could improve their basic English language skills through the techniques set out by Tagore.