It is the alma mater of renowned directors and cinematographers such as Govind Nihalani, V K Murthy and Ashok Kashyap. But the Government Film and Television Institute (GFTI) in Hesaraghatta now stares at an uncertain future owing to years of poor admissions coupled with a report by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) questioning its economic viability.
GFTI, which is the only government-run film institute in Karnataka, currently has only 12 students in the cinematography and three in the sound recording and engineering diploma (SRE) courses against a capacity of 33 for each course.
“In the absence of placement services, there was heavy shortfall in the intake of students, which raises the question of whether the institute should continue its activities at all,” the CAG report stated.
Film equipment worth `4.47 crore was procured with World Bank grants and the institute houses a studio spread over 11,100 sqft.
“Failure of the State government to provide necessary technicians/professionals and permit the hiring of equipment and creation of other facilities resulted in under-utilisation of studios and equipment,” the report added.
The three-year diploma in cinematography and SRE courses were running in the S J (Government) Polytechnic campus, before they were shifted to its new 25-acre campus in Hesaraghatta in July 1998.
The institute also suffers from a shortage of staff and has had to turn to guest faculty to meet its needs.
“We have only one teaching staff against the required number of five for each course. We are managing with guest faculty,” GFTI principal Renuka Naidu, said.
Going Retro the Solution, says DTE
In 1996, the eligibility qualification for these courses was raised from passing SSLC to clearing 2nd pre-university education (in science stream). This, along with the shifting of these courses to Hesaraghatta, have been identified by the Directorate of Technical Education (DTE) as the key reasons for the institute’s poor admissions record.
“One reason for the low admissions is its location. So, we want to shift it back to the S J Polytechnic campus. We have also proposed to the government to revert back to the earlier eligibility criterion of SSLC. Why would second PU science students join a diploma course when they can pursue professional courses?,” questions H U Talawar, director, DTE.