Vedaaranya Heritage Arts and Healing Festival 2016

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Debjani Roy


IGNOU Institute for Vocational Education and Training (IIVET),
Shillong, India

Academic Certification of the Indigenous Art Practices

India is home to rich cultures, environment friendly traditional technologies and enduring social institutions shaped and nurtured by the folk communities. Despite various changes, these communities still retain a great deal of the pristine elements of their age-old life-styles and belief systems. Almost every indigenous community can be considered a repository of a distinctive body of knowledge, cultural traditions, social institutions and technologies. It is observed that the knowledge the people possess can be utilized not only to benefit them but also for the entire country. In the present times when the conventional developmental models are being found inadequate, the Indigenous Knowledge (IK) of the folk communities can be used to address many a problem.

IK has applicability in areas like agriculture, healthcare, food security, education, natural resource management etc. It is also expressed in arts and craft, folklore, belief systems, language and philosophy. It provides a unique set of tools and insights to strike a harmonious equilibrium between the individual and the community. In-spite of such knowledge, IK has not received due attention due to:
(i) Lack of research and documentation; adoption of a segmented approach towards research and data collection with regards to IK
(ii) Lack of infrastructure and means to combine the insights offered by IK with modern education system
(iii) The status and worth of IK specialists remains unrecognized, thereby putting them in a position of distinct disadvantage as compared to modern knowledge educators

Realising India’s wealth of indigenous knowledge which are mostly passed down through oral traditions, presently remaining outside the mainstream university education system, IGNOU took up the task of identification, documentation, promotion, preservation, accreditation and certification of all such Knowledge Systems before they are lost. One such innovative, path-breaking and concrete example of IGNOU’s effort is the Academic Certification of the Indigenous Art Practices. The paper will describe the details of the systemic approach of this Academic Certification process which has brought this Knowledge of Indigenous Art Practices under the formal system of education but at the same time retaining its Indigenous character.

Bio Data


Debjani Roy professionally trained as a biologist, is now engaged in designing the certification process and formulating skill training programmes for various indigenous/traditional practices under the IGNOU academic system. Besides her professional activities, she is also a social worker, actively involved in  spreading the message of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother in the north-eastern region of India.