Selective listing of Educational Television programs produced by Shails.
Click on program title to read its SYNOPSIS.
A series of five programmes pays tribute to the controversial personality of Oscar Wilde through dramatic presentations of three of his well-known plays: LADY WINDERMERE’S FAN, SALOME and THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST. These plays are performed by the YATRIK THEATRE GROUP and are directed by Joy Michael. The programme also includes intimate readings by Roshan Seth (played Nehru in Richard Attenborough’s film ‘Gandhi’) of passages from Wilde’s DE PROFUNDIS.
On the occassion of Graham Greene’s 85th birthday, Khuswant Singh (famous for his writings ‘with malice to one and all’) presents an intimate biographical portrait. Greene’s philosophy is compared with that of Gandhi. Three of Greene’s best known novels are discussed : BRIGHTON ROCK, THE POWER AND THE GLORY, and THE HEART OF THE MATTER. In his typically witty style, Singh takes a dig at why Graham Greene has not yet been awarded the Nobel Prize.
In a series of three programmes, Agha Shahid Ali, Department of English in Hamilton College, discusses the many aspects of literary translation. He talks about Indo-Anglian poetry, Indian influences on English verse writing, cross-cultural adaptations, and sources of poetic inspiration. Ali, himself a successful poet, recites some of his enchanting verse translations.
Prof. George Noordhof of Brunel University, London, shares his experiences and insights in the field of educational technology. Himself an educationalist as well as a producer of instructional television, Prof. Noordhof explains how the advantages of the classroom lecture and the power of the visual medium can be effectively combined for education. He stresses the importance of planning in educational television. Using excerpts from some excellent instructional Television series, he illustrates simple techniques of ETV production that enrich teaching as well as learning.
Dr. Jenny Johnson, an expert in the field of educational technology in the University of Maryland, speaks about Curriculum Development, Educational Communication and Instructional Designing. The use of Instructional Designing in business and industries for training, and in public school and higher education is emphasized. The elements of Instructional Design are explained: needs, objectives, contents, forms, evaluation and revision. Their importance is highlighted in distance education as well as in the traditional classroom lecture. Instructional Designing is very useful for producers of educational programmes in determining the content of every programme.
The ‘television teacher’ is a special element in the production of educational television. Traditionally, the TV teacher takes responsibility for the academic content of the programme, and is often the one who ‘writes’ it. The danger here is that all concerned in the production think in terms of a ‘lesson’ that already exists, and assume that all that is necessary is to ‘televise’ the lesson. This approach can lead to a sterile form of instructional TV, which has the limitations of the classroom lesson and those of television, and the advantages of neither. A ‘television teacher’ who takes part in the planning process as a member of the production team, can be most useful.
The programme examines the role of World University Service in changing social situations in various countries.
The ‘COUNTRYWIDE CLASSROOM’ telecasts sponsored by the University Grants Commission are often criticised as not being interactive and reciprocal. Apart from the viewers’ mail and some pretesting research surveys, there really seems to be a limit to feedback evaluation. The student-teacher interaction through these telecasts cannot (and should not) compare with the immediacy of the traditional classroom. The UGC has, however, conducted an experiment in participatory television using sattelite and telecommunication networks. ‘Reaching Out’ is a promotional spot announcing this unique TALKBACK experiment.
Paul Gunashekar of the Central Institute of English as a Foreign Language (CIEFL) discusses the major stages of learning a foreign language. The reasons for undergoing these stages are examined. Objectives of learning (and teaching) a second language are explained through interesting anecdotes.
After an ethnological introduction to the tribal area of ‘Panchpatmali’ in Orissa, site of the single largest deposit of Bauxite in the world, the programme traces the history of Aluminium’s scientific development. The versatility of Aluminium as a contemporary material is amply illustrated. The mining of Bauxite at NALCO’s Panchpatmali reserves, and the Bayer’s process of extracting alumina from the ore at Damanjodi refinery are intensively documented.
The method of extracting the metal Aluminium from the Alumina powder is known as smelting. The programme examines the Halt-Heroult process of smelting and illustrates the many diverse applications of the primary metal. The unique material properties of Aluminium, offering immense scope for machining, rolling, casting, extruding etc., make it the most workable material in the world.
When we evaluate any material produced and used in society, one of the important indicators is its impact on the environment. Like all large scale industrial processes, the production of aluminium also has its consequences. But much has been done to mitigate their adverse effects. The environmental issues related to Bauxite mining, Alumina refining and smelting are examined, with actual documentation of prevailing conditions at mines, refinery and smelter. Policy issues and strategies for the Aluminium industry in India lay special emphasis on the power equation and recycling capabilities.
There has been a rapid increase in the incidence of heart ailments, even in younger people. Simultaneously, diagnostic technologies have also made enormous progress. This series of programmes aims at making familiar some basic diagnostic tools and also tracing their evolution. ‘The First Encounter’ highlights the importance of establishing a proper doctor-patient relationship as an essential prerequisite to medical diagnosis.
The origin of the Pulse, a time-tested tool for cardiac diagnosis, is explained through animated illustration of the cardiac cycle. The pulse count is as important as its qualitative analysis. Intelligent inferences can be drawn from proper pulse readings.
As an extension of the human ear, the Stethoscope is an invaluable aid to hearing body sounds. It provides information about heart- beats and related physiological malfunctioning. The evolution of this instrument of auscultation is traced from Laennec’s mono- aural stethoscope to its modern Doppler version.
Concluding the series on cardiac diagnostic technologies, this episode gives a detailed exposition of the Blood-Pressure Instrument : its origins, evolution, scientific principles, applications and limitations.
The programme deals with the causes, characteristics & remedies of USAR lands (waste lands). The National Botanical Research Institute in Lucknow has done commendable work in the reclamation of such lands. The programme focuses on the biological method of amelioration of Usar soil. It deals also with the studies and experiments conducted for the proper economic utilisation of reclaimed lands.
Microscopic enemies of plants can cause widespread damage to agriculture. Biological features of plant viruses are examined, and measures are suggested for preventing viral attacks on vegetation.
All over the world there is the problem of food being affected by mycotoxins. Moisture and humidity in hot climates are identified as the main conditions for such poisoning. The programme focuses on the steps for checking the spread of mycotoxins.
Prof. Hermann Bondi, Fellow of Churchill College, Cambridge, shares his views on cosmology, climatology, astrophysics, science and religion, scientific education, and a host of other diverse themes.
All scientific experiments rely on the accuracy of measurements. The programme analyses the human, physical, mechanical, environmental and inherent factors which cause errors in measurement. Guidelines are given for avoiding such errors, and for making scientifically correct readings.
The programme introduces the phenomenon of Photoelectricity. The history of its scientific development is briefly traced. Experiments are conducted to explain important aspects of Photoelectric Effect.
The second part of the programme on photoelectricity deals with Albert Einstein’s explanation of the phenomenon and the experimental verification of his equations by R.A.Millikan.
With the advent of lasers as sources of very intense radiation, two very important modifications had to be made in earlier concepts of the photoelectric phenomenon. First, an electron can absorb more than one photon simultaneously. Second, as a consequence of multiphoton absorption, we find that the intensity of light also plays a significant role in determining the threshold frequency.
The programme discusses the nature of cross-sections of a cone. Cutting across a cone along different planes, various shapes emerge such as Ellipse, Hyperbola and Parabola. Mathematical derivations and practical applications of these conic sections are explained.
A critical appreciation of Arthur Miller’s all-time favorite play ALL MY SONS, in three episodes. Miller’s dramatic artistry and technical craftsmanship is brought forth through extracts from a stage performance by the YATRIK Theatre Group and discussions with Joy Michael, the Director, and her troupe of actors. The play is a prescribed undergraduate text in India.
The programme tells the tale of ’22/7′. The origin of Pi is traced from the invention of the wheel. The contribution of early Hebrew, Babylonian, Egyptian, Indian, Chinese, Japanese and later European mathematicians in enriching the concept of Pi is highlighted. The programme is for Pi-lovers, but others too will find new meaning in this modest fraction.
Widespread use of the electronic calculator has taken away some of the challenge of arithmetic computation. Vedic principles of multiple additions were simple, yet imaginative. These methods, adopted extensively in later years, not only made multiplication exciting, but also developed the mental faculties. Some of these original processes are illustrated.
Through a musical rendezvous with Jean-Michell DALMASSO, the programme traces the creation of music by computers. Jean-Michell demonstrates the use of Musical Instruments Digital Interface (MIDI) system. Produced in Paris, as part of a formation in advanced television techniques, the programme is an interesting illustration of the use of elaborate post-production editing skills and computer animation.
Calligraphy has come a long way in the last century. The more access we have to newer technologies, the more is the need felt to produce things traditionally for individual expression, and to give the creative spirit a free ‘hand’. Margaret Wilson, a British calligrapher, illustrates the principles and recent developments in Western calligraphy through the works of Edward Johnston, Irene Wellington, John Pilsbury, Anne Heckle, Angela Heke, Fredrick Purple, Karl Hoofer, Tom Perkins, Steven Waugh, Anna Irwin, Susan Hofftan, Denis Brown and Donald Jackson.
The programme traces the origin of money. A brief section is devoted to primitive societies which have no use for money. Characteristic features of the barter system are explained. Examples are given of the system prevailing even today. The inconveniences of the barter system and the factors which led to the invention of money are explained.
The programme is about the primary functions and evolution of money, commodity money, metal as money and its limitations, early coins, siege coins, metal content of coins, alloys and their uses in coinage, coin operated machines, coin manufacture, merits and limitations of coinage.
The programme introduces Sociology to the Undergraduate. It briefly examines three fundamental questions : What is Sociology? What is a Social Group? What is Social Interaction? The programme establishes Sociology as a study of group life. It relates social problems to the functioning of groups and their interaction. It deals with influences of group life on the individual.
The face of a city appears attractive only as long as it is left untampered and unmutilated. Careless and irresponsible bill- pasting becomes a grave nuisance to public convenience and sensibility. Posters, in India, are too often pasted in places where they have no business “sticking around” – institutional signboards, road indicators, guide maps, historical monuments, municipal walls, traffic signposts, etc. The programme aims directly at creating civic awareness against the messing of New Delhi, the capital city of India.
David Mac Dowall, Chairman of the Society for South Asian Studies, British Academy, presents bronzes and glass as objects of Roman exports to Central Asia. He also illustrates the historical aspects of coin usage in Indo-Roman trade.
Few nations are entirely successful in their quest for providing full employment to their labour force. Unemployment, in various forms and degrees, characterises many of the world’s economies. In a developing country like India, the problem is chronic. The programme aims at answering some basic questions such as : What constitutes a labour force? How is unemployment measured? What is the nature of the problem in different types of economies? What are the causes and types of unemployment?
Guy Sorman, noted economic scientist, journalist and social commentator from France, discusses the causes and consequences of the changing world economic order. The programme presents various points of view and perspectives on socialism and ‘barefoot capitalism’. He also talks about the collapse of the socialist economy in the context of his book THE UNBORN REVOLUTION.
Professional artistes and master craftsmen of India gather every winter at the Surajkund Crafts Festival to display their traditional handicrafts. In a typical rural setting, in the midst of folk dancers and puppeteers, these keepers of age old values talk candidly about their professional priorities.
Prof Roger-Pol Droit, French Philosopher and Research Scholar at the National Centre for Scientific Research at Paris, is author of the book THE FORGETTING OF INDIA. He speaks about why Western thinkers, after having shown great interest in Indian Philosophy during the 18th-19th centuries, are now silent about India, or (worse) deny the existence of a proper so-called ‘Indian Wisdom’. This, he says, is a baffling phenomenon.
An affirmation of Gandhi’s ideals and philosophies through an opinion survey on the eve of his birth anniversary. Views are expressed freely by people of different ages and nationalities from all walks of life.
In India, Anaemia is a common nutrition deficiency disease prevalent in all segments of the population. Providing prophylactic iron to correct Anaemia has proved to be insufficient. To combat nutritional deficiencies, fortification of common food items is one accepted method. Iron fortified common salt, experimentally administered to a village population in South India over a monitored period of time, was found to dramatically enhance the iron intake in anaemic persons.
The Central JALMA Institute of Leprosy in Agra carries out research in various control and prevention aspects of Leprosy. The film depicts service, teaching, training and research carried out by the Institute.

UN Media  Projects

A documentary film about the cholera epidemic that hit Delhi in 1988, highlighting the inadequacies of basic amenities in urban areas, and measures to prevent such human calamities. The film has been translated in all major languages of India.
A street-theatre-film on immunisation, shot in the slums of Indore.
Four short films dealing with the theme of child labour in the context of rapid urban degeneration.
A Docu-drama in Hindi and English recording the progress of ASHA SADAN an NGO Delhi which has, with active support from UNICEF, achieved remarkable success with its Low Cost Sanitation Programme in Najafgarh. It is a story of community participation.
A comparative study of three Non Government 0rganisations in India working with street children.
A documentary expounding the philosophy of the Urban Basic Services Program for the urban poor as witnessed in the slums of Delhi, Faridabad, Vijaywada, Siliguri, Hyderabad, and Allepy. Active Community participation and the ingenuity of project co-ordinators in bringing various developmental programs under the UBSP umbrella is the focus of this film.
The film is a documentation of a workshop held in Ranchi, highlighting the ‘bottoms-up’ approach in rural development.
The village contact drive in Rajasthan for propagating the message of Safe Motherhood, is the subject of this film.
Three training modules targeted at grassroots level health workers and professional medical practitioners on the subject of preventive and curative measures for tackling acute respiratory infections in infants.