Design education: Pearl Academy to ready students for life

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May 17, 2021 1:15 AM

Digital knowledge will set design students apart

Going forward, she adds that digital knowledge will set design students apart.

Last year, when the first lockdown was announced, Pearl Academy had transitioned from physical classes to online in just four days, thanks to its focus on investing in a learning management system over the years before that.

A year hence, Nandita Abraham says Pearl Academy is creating hybrid classrooms so that students who wish to study from home (or from anywhere) can have exactly the same classroom experience as those who attend a physical classroom. “In the future, students should be able to learn from wherever they wish to learn,” Abraham of Pearl Academy says.

“The hybrid classroom will be a permanent feature, going forward, for higher education; this will give more flexibility to students.”

A major positive of a hybrid classroom, she adds, is that a student can learn from the best faculty available. “Let’s say a student from the Delhi campus wants to learn from a faculty of her choice from Bangalore, she can choose to do so,” Abraham says.

Pearl Academy has campuses in Delhi-West, Delhi-South, Mumbai, Jaipur and Bangalore, where it offers over 40 uniquely designed courses. It is planning to open a campus in London later this year.

Last year Pearl Academy closed with 96% placement, and this year’s placements, Abraham adds, are going strong. “Anything that has a digital angle to it seems to be working well. Design-thinking and problem-solving are becoming more and more important,” she says.
Going forward, she adds that digital knowledge will set design students apart.

Pearl’s Learning for Life

Pearl Academy has also started Learning for Life, a pillar of additional credits for students to ensure that they are prepared for any situation that may come their way in today’s VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous) world. These are the skills that students must have—irrespective of which vertical they are from—so that they understand citizenship and the meaning to run a particular NGO or an enterprise during their internship.

“For each of these internships we will do a prop in the semester before and the project in the semester after so that it becomes seamless for students as it will put future skills into them. Future skills can be different ways of thinking, working with technology like AI, ML and critical thinking, and problem-solving and communicating in different ways. These learning sets will be part of these internship as students need to be learners for life; they need to be agile, and that will only come from the exposure they will get in these years,” adds Abraham.

Internship exposures

End of year 1: Internship with an NGO—to understand citizenship and the meaning to run a particular NGO;
End of year 2: Internship with a start-up or a small entrepreneur—every student wants to be an entrepreneur today; Pearl Academy wants to give them the experience while they are studying through internship;
End of year 3: Internship with industry—cross-disciplinary learning (30% compulsory for all students).
It also includes future skills (students choose a minimum of four courses), and cross-disciplinary learning (students select a subject from another school and attend classes in years 2 and 3).

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