Times of India
25 November 2010
Developed By US–Based NGO, Actors Nagarjuna & Anushka To Lend Their Voice To Film
Sex Education may no longer be a moral nightmare for parents who are worried about their children going through explicit content in the name of HIV/AIDS awareness. In a novel initiative, TeachAIDS, a USbased NGO has developed an animated course work for HIV education, that will soon be adopted by state schools.
The 25–minute long animation film developed by educationists and medical experts from Stanford University, California will be launched on December 1, World AIDS Day by the organisation.
To make the learning process interesting and also to strike a chord with local schoolchildren, the film’s Telugu version, that shows a doctor talking to a student, will be dubbed in the voices of Tollywood actors Nagarjuna and Anushka Shetty.
Also, the doctor’s image will be modelled after Nagarjuna. The film might be used along with the existing adolescent education programme run by state government and AP State AIDS Control Society (APSACS) from the coming academic year.
Minister for higher education D Sridhar Babu and minister for health
D Nagender are scheduled to discuss with TeachAIDS the introduction of the animated film in the school curriculum in Andhra Pradesh.
The animated film is already being used in 25 countries across the world. In India, states like Karnataka and Delhi have adopted the curriculum in schools. The English version of the film is dubbed in the voices of actors Shabana Azmi and Shruti Hassan.
TeachAIDS representatives who are in the city for the launch of the film said the animated film is ‘culturally appropriate’ and hence not explicit on facts about sex.
"The material developed after research proved that children get the concept of AIDS prevention faster when the teaching material is less explicit about sex. The film has a biology based approach which uses cultural euphemisms so that the students will not feel uncomfortable while listening to a class," said Piya Sorkar, founder and CEO of TeachAIDS.
According to experts working with the TeachAIDS team, even the style of animation used in the film is chosen after weighing many odds.
"Research has proven that three dimensional (3D) animation and stick figure animation are not suitable tools for teaching students about a sensitive topic like AIDS. Hence, we have used the classic Walt Disney type of imaging which will communicate the right message without being vulgar," said Shuman Shosemajumder, founding member and executive advisor of the organisation.
According to them, the use of even HIV prevention tools like condoms will be explained to youngsters in the film through analogies. "We will not have content that makes parents and students uncomfortable," Piya Sorkar said.
Since the state government faced criticism for introducing sexually explicit content including drawings of bodies of men and women in its adolescent education programme, introduction of a less explicit content might find takers, the NGO representatives said.
The teaching material is also approved by National Aids Control Organisation (Naco), Sorkar added.
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