A researcher from the National Institute of Design (NID) in Ahmedabad recently presented a protocol for teaching design education in schools at the Seventeenth International Conference on Design Principles and Practises in Lisbon, Portugal.
Priyanka Sewhag Joshi from Haryana, who belongs to an Army and Air Force family, says this concept of design education in schools is in sync with similar efforts underway at the school level in various countries across Europe, North America and Japan.
“Though design has existed in various forms in India since ancient times,” Priyanka explained, “a focused approach to design education began in 1961, with the establishment of the National Institute of Design (NID) at Ahmedabad.”
Deeply influenced by the pedagogy at the Bauhaus and Ulm from Germany, the Indian design education effort smoothly integrates the western pedagogical structures intermixed with the Indian social ethos, she added.
According to Priyanka, design is currently explicitly taught at the undergraduate, master’s, and doctoral levels in Indian universities, in addition to hundreds of small design colleges offering practical diplomas/certificates after high school.
“Now NID is conducting research on frameworks towards introduction of formal design education at the school level across India,” said Priyanka.
Crafting Design Education- Connecting Regional Crafts with Design Education at Schools, a paper presentation at the Seventeenth International Conference on Design Principles and Practises in Lisbon, demonstrated how indigenous crafts can be used to teach students design as a subject as part of middle school design education.
Her framework is part of an action research project she has been working on for the past five years under the direction of Professor Vijai Singh Katiyar of NID, Ahmedabad.
Joshi began research with a field study in 2018, which was published in The International Journal of Design Education in 2020, titled The Contextual Importance of Design Education—The Indian Context.
The study showed that that design awareness and design sensibility in Indian schools exists mostly in the form of decoration or skill-based vocational training; or an artistic or technical training.
The efforts of design education being rooted in thought, history, tradition and culture have largely resulted in the subject being either theory-oriented or as an experience without any design thinking involved in the process,” says Priyanka.
Joshi provided a Tree model of Content & Method for designing education curriculum at the school level, which includes the suggestions of the Government of India’s National Education Policy 2020.
The model provides an overview of the content and teaching methods, and Joshi has developed an Interdisciplinary Research Framework for Design Education that depicts three paths for lesson planning, pedagogical approach, and learning objectives of design education through crafts in India.