Usha Patel, director, Academics, The Indian Institute of Art and Design (IIAD), shares her views on opportunities and challenges of the Indian education system with FE Education Online.
What is the best thing about today’s education system?
Education in India has been known to be theoretical and lacking practical application, which makes it difficult for students to transition from the classroom to the real world. However, as per world standards, today, the NEP is increasing the focus on experiential and hands-on learning.
Design on the other hand has been always taught through hands-on and practical training. “Learning through making” is the key for all design students. India has well-established programs that cover a wide range of design disciplines, from graphic design and visual communication to industrial design, fashion design, and interior design.
Additionally, many design institutes in India have partnerships with leading design schools and institutions around the world, which provides students with opportunities to study abroad, participate in international design competitions, and work on collaborative projects with students from other countries. In recent years, there has also been an increasing focus on the use of technology and digital tools in design education. Overall, while there are certainly areas for improvement, the Indian education system has many positive aspects and has produced many talented individuals who have gone on to achieve great success in various fields.
What is the one thing you would like to change in the system?
Being an educator myself and based on discussions with other educators, teachers and experts, there are several areas where the Indian education system could bring in change. Some suggestions are :
Adopt more experiential and project-based learning approaches that allow students to apply their knowledge in real-world contexts and develop skills that are relevant to the 21st-century workplace.
The curriculum could be made more flexible and interdisciplinary, allowing students to pursue their interests and passions and develop a broad-based skill set.
Additionally, there could be more emphasis on teacher training and development to improve the quality of instruction and enable teachers to use a variety of teaching methodologies to engage and motivate students.
Conclusively, there is a need to bridge the digital gap and provide equal access to quality education to all students, regardless of their socio-economic background or geographic location.
What is the role digital has played in the evolution of the education system?
Digital technology has played a significant role in the evolution of the Indian education system in recent years.
- Access to information: Digital technology has made it easier for students to search for information on the internet, download e-books, watch videos, and participate in online discussions.
- Personalised learning: With the help of adaptive learning algorithms, students can receive customised learning experiences that are tailored to their learning style, pace, and interests.
- Collaborative learning: With the digital evolution in recent years, it has become easier for students to collaborate with their peers and teachers. They can use online platforms and tools to work on projects, share resources, and communicate with each other.
- Remote learning: Defying the traditional old way, where the student and the educator are not physically present in a traditional classroom environment. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of digital technology in enabling remote learning.
- Assessment and feedback: Digital technology has made it easier for teachers to assess student learning and provide feedback.
Overall, digital technology has opened up new opportunities for education and transformed the way we learn and teach.
What has been the disadvantage of digital in education?
While digital technologies have brought numerous benefits to education, there are also some disadvantages to consider:
- Lack of personal interaction: Digital technologies can make education more accessible, but they can also reduce the amount of personal interaction between students and teachers. This can make it harder for students to get the personalised attention they need to succeed.
- Technological barriers: Not all students have access to the technology needed for online learning, such as a reliable internet connection or a suitable device. This can create disparities in access to education.
- Reduced engagement: In some cases, digital technologies can reduce student engagement and motivation, particularly if the content is not presented in an engaging or interactive way.
- Distractions: Digital technologies can also be a source of distraction, with students often tempted to check social media or browse the web instead of focusing on their coursework.
- Limited socialization: Online education can limit opportunities for students to socialize and build relationships with their peers, which can be an important part of the learning experience.
These disadvantages are not inherent to digital technologies themselves, but rather the ways in which they are implemented and used. By being aware of these potential challenges, educators can work to mitigate them and ensure that digital technologies are used in ways that benefit all students.
What is the career advice you would like to give to students?
I would recommend exploring your interests, building a strong network, gaining experience, investing in your education, developing soft skills, being adaptable and flexible, and staying positive. By taking the time to figure out what you’re passionate about and building a network of professional contacts, you can identify your strengths and passions and make informed career decisions. Additionally, gaining hands-on experience and pursuing advanced degrees or certifications can help you stay up-to-date with the latest trends in your industry. Developing soft skills such as communication, interpersonal, and problem-solving skills can also make you more attractive to employers. Finally, being adaptable and staying positive can help you weather the ups and downs of the job market and achieve your career goals.