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December 2022

Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 26 dec 2022

Since ancient times art and design has been a part of Indian culture and society and the skill-based learning system existed where the master imparted the skills and shared his experience with his pupil, who often learned by observing and doing. In India there existed communities of design and in most cases the skill got passed as part of the family tradition from generation to generation. There was generally no formal design institutions imparting design education in earlier times. The formal design education in India, in the modern sense, began when the National Institute of Design was established in 1961 in Ahmedabad (Gujarat). Prof. Bhaskar Batt, Director of School of Design at Anant National University, explains what design is all about, how design education is evolving in India and its relevance in modern times. He says, 'Design, as we say, is a creative problem-solving process used to develop innovative solutions and services to make our lives better. Contrary to the expressionist approach of art, design is strongly focused on the identification of the user and market needs, and thus is a process-centric exercise to develop new and innovative solutions.' McKinseys 2018 report emphasises the value of design and found that design-led companies grew twice as compared to non-design ones. Explaining design in Indian context, he says, 'Design in India focused on the social sectors prior to liberalisation of the economy and industry post the millennium. Whilst design embraced the industry, designers retained the philosophical bedrock of trying to make the world a better place. In the following two decades, India has seen a dramatic rise in manufacturing and services, with design as an enabler for product and service creation.' India's education system now have exclusive design schools and design focused departments in universities, both public and private. Many specializations exist similar to design schools in other countries that have advanced design education system. This include industrial and product design, communication design, fashion and textile design, interaction design and many more. Indian design schools have a teaching methodology that is a mix of theory and practicals involving innovative project-based learning. Prof. Bhatt explains, 'Unlike traditional courses which are evaluated through exams, most design schools evaluate through juries, where professional designers from the industry evaluate students' work through rigorous debate...There are three traditional exit pathways in design education - employment in studios and large companies, entrepreneurship or solo consulting, and further education...Design education is strongly influenced by market forces. In the recent past, we have witnessed two meta forces (internet in the 1990s and the smartphone revolution in the 2000s) that have changed the course of human development.' Read on...

India Today: Explained: The growing impact of design education in India
Author: Bhaskar Bhatt

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