India has two of the best design schools in the world!
That India is doing well when it comes to design education has been revealed by a survey of Design schools worldwide by Business Week. Both the National Institute of Design (NID) in Ahmedabad and the Industrial Design Centre at the Indian Institute of Technology, (IIT, Mumbai) are on the list.
Business Week has listed a total of 60 D-schools which it considers the best in the world and this was done by a panel of innovation consultants, academics, and executives:
To compile this list, BusinessWeek turned to an international panel of 22 expert design and brand consultants and academics from both business and design schools. We also tapped six forward-thinking companies with expertise in design or innovation strategy. We asked all to recommend interdisciplinary design and business programs with curricula they respect and graduates they prefer to hire. Then we conducted interviews with professors, students, and alumni from the recommended colleges, looking for design programs that incorporate business strategy—and business programs that teach design as a tool for strategic advantage.
This is the map which shows the top 30 institutes:
Detailed information on all of the 60 institutes (not all of them are Art and Design but also Industrial and Engineering Design) are given here, but the institutes are ranked in alphabetical order only. Ranking of the various institutes isn’t clear, and this is probably deliberate.
NID (Ahmedabad), is a government institution and is the top design institute in India and in the top 30 in the world. It has 650 students, both graduate and undergraduate. The Institute partners are the ENSCI (France), RCA (London), Shenkar (Israel) (academic partnerships) and the Institute has also also worked with Fiat, Autodesk, GM, and Whirlpool for business. Suzuki, Whirpool and Infosys are the top employers. NID has some famous alumni like Satish Gokhale, who runs a consultancy and studio (Design Directions) and has won several Design awards.
NID is strongly linked to Indian Industry and students get opportunities to work on company projects during their course. And the latest news is that NID will soon start a Master’s programme in design entrepreneurship in collaboration with Stanford University, US.
NID was set up as far back as 1961. It was not long after Independence and one has to thank the policy makers of the time because they had the vision to do it.
The design course at IIT (Mumbai) has 62 graduate students. IIT is basically an engineering institute but now has a product design course. It has a business partnership with the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design. Companies like Ashok Leyland, Honeywell, Tata Motors, Ford, Motorola and Microsoft have employed students from here.
This design programme has made it to the top 60 as it’s considered to take “a broad and holistic approach, combining mandatory art and marketing components into an industrial design course.” Consultancy work and sponsored projects are done by students and professors of this institute the Mumbai industry. Conferences on innovation are held for business leaders from around the world.
It is important to remember that business partnerships with industry and academic partnerships with other global institutes is what gives these institutes the place on the map.
Retail design is becoming big in India and here are some of the quality courses available in India (NIFT and NICC are not in the global list given above but are said to be good courses):
1. At NID, those specialising in Exhibition Design gain retail designing skills. The Institute (NID) has also introduced a special course in “Design for Retail Experiences” – the first specialised course tailored exclusively for retail design at their R&D campus in Bangalore.
2. Delhi’s National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT) offers a master’s course in Design Space.
3. Bangalore’s National Institute for Creative Communication (NICC) which offers a postgraduate course in Visual Communication.
Severe faculty shortage
However, the other side of the shiny coin is that design institutes, including NID, don’t have sufficient staff. At NID for example, the number of students have steadily increased from sixty students in the undergraduate batches five years ago to seventy five today and every year new postgraduate courses such as strategic design, automotive design and retail design are being added. But insiders tell me that the number of faculty have not risen in proportion to the number of courses and students. This means a steadily decreasing quality of education, not just in NID, but most of the other institutes. Indeed it seems to be the bane of all higher education today.
(The first photograph is from NID and the second from IIT Mumbai)
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