Published: 03rd January 2021
Design education must be taught at the grassroot level: Rajya Sabha MP Dr Amar Patnaik
He was speaking at a webinar on Why Design Education is Important for Odisha, organised by the Odisha Design Council
Our IITs and NIDs lack the raw talent of the nation, which are the children of the craftspeople who are unable to join such prestigious institutes because they aren't fluent in English, said Prof Pradyumna Vyas, Senior Advisor, Design and Innovation, CII. We often see that by the third or fourth year, students in various NIDs and IITs come out as mediocre as they would have usually secured admission after attending coaching classes from Kota or some other place, he added. Prof Vyas was in conversation with Rajya Sabha MP Dr Amar Patnaik, Former Head of the Industrial Design Centre (IDC) at IIT Bombay, Prof G V Sreekumar and Prof Paresh Choudhury, Founder Odisha Design Council, at a webinar on 'Why Design Education is Important for Odisha'.
Speaking about how design education should be perceived, Prof Vyas said, "We are in the fourth industrial revolution. Everything is merging with the other and as such design education can't be thought of in isolation. While the dependence on technology has been rapidly increasing, we have been losing touch on a human level. But the focus has to be on people. It should be remembered that technology is just an enabler, humanising that tech is design. If the pandemic has shown anything, it is that human beings can't be ignored." He added that our education system is one-directional and has been since the pre-Independence days. "The Britishers wanted Indians to obey them and therefore they established this educational system. We haven't changed it much. Our education system doesn't allow experimentation or allow people to think about multiple aspects," he added. Prof Vyas also spoke about the creative and cultural wealth of Odisha and how that needs to be tapped into.
Echoing a similar sentiment, Dr Patnaik stated, "Today, design education is only being imparted at national-level institutes or at one IIT. There is a need to mainstream design education and for that, it should be started at the school level. A curriculum should be built to incorporate design education as well. Design should be approached holistically and therefore it needs to be taught at the grassroot level and not during adulthood when it needs to be applied"
Stating that common sense is an integral part of design and how the IDC help built the Electonic Voting Machine back in the 1970s, Prof Sreekumar said, "There is a need to merge design with science, technology and art and looked at as a whole." Backing Prof Choudhury's request to set up a design school in Odisha, Prof Sreekumar stated, "A design school should be set up under the ambit of a larger institute so that students have access to other subject experts as well. More than a mere design school, the need is to build a design research centre." Prof Sreekumar suggested the introduction of design education to school students from sixth standard onwards.