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History Education in the field of Design in India is nearly six decades old. Till beginning of this millennium, design education was imparted by only few government owned institutions which were formed out of the existing technical institutes. Post-Independence, National Institute of Design (NID) at Ahmadabad was set up and became the only design education institution for long time. Post advent of this millennium, few private institutions from the private sector opened up their design schools. Since then India has seen a consistent growth of design education at various levels.
"The India Design Council has initiated a National Design Aptitude Test for entry into design programmes run across the country at both the undergraduate and postgraduate levels"
The first art college in India was setup in 1850 in Madras. In 1854, the School of Industrial Art was started in Kolkata, followed by Sir JJ School of Art in Bombay in 1857. Sir JJ School of Art started as an Arts and Crafts institution and initiated architecture in 1900 however Commercial Art Department was established in 1935 which became the precursor for Graphic Design in India.
Beginning of Design Education in Modern India
Based on 1958 "India Design Report" Government set up National Institute of Design at Ahmadabad in 1960. This was followed by setting up of the Industrial Design Centre under the aegis of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Bombay in 1969. Both these institutions are credited of building design in India in the modern era which has been followed by many others. The current design education system offers programmes from certificates, diploma, undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in diverse disciplines including distinct and specialised programmes.
Education Growth and its Factors
Presently there are around 40 million students enrolled in the Indian higher education system. Undergraduate course constitutes nearly 80 per cent students and about 10-12 per cent students are enrolled in postgraduate level programmes percent. It is understood that the market for education in India is about US$ 110- 20 billion. The higher education contributes about 60 per cent of this market size. The aim of the Government of India is to raise its current gross enrolment ratio to 30 percent by 2020 from the 23.6 percent. By 2030, the GER is expected to be about 45 percent with an opportunity space of 65 million students.
The design schools in India are pursuing their growth through international collaboration with internationally acclaimed agencies like Parsons, Politecnico di Milano, Nottingham Trent University, UK, Domus Academy, University for the Creative Arts, UK to name a few for now. The growth of new institutions is now accredited to such international collaborations. United Kingdom followed by United States of America, Italy and Netherlands are the favoured countries for international collaborations.
Norms for Collaboration
University Grants Commission Regulations, 2016 specifies criteria and conditions for foreign educational institution collaborating with an Indian educational institution. These norms are intended for collaborations leading to awarding of a degree and does not preclude other forms of collaborations between Indian and foreign institutions.
One of the basics for any good institutions is its accreditation aspect. Presently Design education lacks well-articulated accreditation or affiliation procedures. Presently India lacks a national accreditation body to accredit the design programmes. Most of the universities do not have design programmes hence it is not possible for an entity to go and seek affiliation and hence grant a degree in design. Only a university is permitted to offer a degree. As a result, most of the design institutions in the country are not able to grant degrees even if they offer degree level instruction.
Limitations and Progressions
Currently design education scenario in India lacks opportunities for progression from undergraduate to master's level and from Post Graduation level to Ph.D. Most of the postgraduate programmes are essentially after-graduate programmes. This means that at the postgraduate level, instead of offering instruction that is advanced as compared to its undergraduate level, instruction offered is similar in content to undergraduate programmes. The eligibility for admission to these postgraduate programmes is "any graduation". Hence, the postgraduate programme does not build on the knowledge acquired by the student during undergraduate studies.
Research and Faculty
Presently there are hardly design research journals of repute that get published in India. Research in the field of design in India is miniscule and publications by faculty are rare. In addition to few exceptions there have been no conferences worth mentioning where papers are invited, reviewed and then published. There is no structured central body which looks after design education. As such, the funding for research is limited to individual institution's internal resources. There is also a lack of awards and recognitions for faculty in design. A noticeable trend is recruitment of full time, visiting and adjunct international faculty in design instruction.
Design Innovation Centres
Ministry of Human Resource Development has set up a National Initiative for Design Innovation. Under this initiative, 20 new Design Innovation Centres (DIC), one Open Design School (ODS) and a National Design Innovation Network (NDIN), linking together all these schools are set up. NDIN is a network of design schools that work closely with other leading institutions of industry and academia, NGOs and government to further the reach and access of design education to promote design innovation in all sectors and to develop wide-ranging collaborative projects between institutions.
The India Design Council has collaborated with the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education, UK (QAA) and has evolved a quality code for setting and maintaining academic standards, programme design and approval and programme monitoring and review for design education institutions in India. It has also evolved a Higher Education Review Process to implement the benchmarking system in adherence to the quality code.
National Level Design Aptitude Test
The India Design Council has initiated a National Design Aptitude Test for entry into design programmes run across the country at both the undergraduate and postgraduate levels. As an independent agency, the India Design Council conducts this test. The tests have commenced from 2017. This test will be for candidates seeking admission to design programmes run by participating universities/institutions for their undergraduate and postgraduate design programmes.
Design Education in Engineering
The India Design Council has defined a framework "Design Spine" to infuse design within undergraduate engineering education in the country. The purpose of design spine is to enable undergraduate engineering students to develop design knowledge and skills that will prepare them to be innovative and creators of new value.
With the initiatives under place as brought out, the employment opportunities for design students have been significantly increasing both at under graduation and post-graduation level. It is understood that around 30 percent students graduating from design schools become entrepreneurs, independent consultants and freelance designers and 60 % join industry and 10 per cent enter academia. Industry sectors of transportation, business and financial services, entertainment, retail, consumer goods, luxury segment, telecommunication, manufacturing and publishing are the leading industry sectors that employ design students.
The existing unstructured exploration of design education needs to have focused regulations setting the norms in place. These would result in structured exploitation of design education by 2022. The Industrial growth in next seven to ten years are extremely crucial as it will infuse the growth for design education.