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Interview with Sandra Sequeira

Industry Speak
Sandra Sequeira
Sandra Sequeira
JD Institute of Fashion Technology
JD Institute of Fashion Technology

Online education can be good catalyst in times of adversity

The JD Institute of Fashion Technology is the educational division of JD Educational Trust, with learning centres spread across India. The institute, founded on 12 October 1988 in Mumbai, provides multi-disciplinary education in the field of fashion and interior design studies. Fibre2fashion spoke to Sandra Sequeira, Director, JD Institute of Fashion Technology, to understand how the covid pandemic has impacted educational institutes worldwide and the changed perspective about online education.

How has the worldwide lockdown impacted the educational institutes and the students? What are the immediate concerns?

The world is at a juncture that forks to the future, post-lockdown. One path is leading to new avenues and reformations in the old businesses. The other leads to new ideas and imperatives of what the future of education will behold after the pandemic. Looking at the global front, this pandemic has delayed or altogether crashed the plans of studying abroad for a lot of students. The virus has put a halt to the admission process almost at all the colleges and institutions throughout the world and students are apprehensive about moving abroad to complete their higher education. This has given rise to their mind-set, to pursue and look for options locally. Hence, students are looking for institutions in India that have long-standing and deep tie-ups with industry and international connect to get a wholesome experience. This has certainly given hope to all the colleges and universities here, as there are more number of aspirants who are seeking to be a part of their institution.

How are you realigning your course offerings in the era of covid-19? How has the crisis reshaped education in more than one-way?

The whole world is immersed in this catastrophic debacle from the beginning of this year. I believe the only way to deal with these type of situation is perseverance and resilience. We, at JD Institute have taken this challenge positively and shifted our brick and mortar classes to online. Overall, this pandemic has evolved us an institute wherein we adapted new technologies, embraced new systems and created constant engagement with our students, hence allowing them to explore opportunities within their radius. JD has always instilled technology as a part of every curriculum. Our faculties are given hands-on training on various software’s like AIMS and Learning Management system that are required for assessing and evaluating our students work. We were not aware that the situation will arrive so soon. We realised during the advent of this decade that our lives are steadily moving towards a digital realm of existence. This pandemic situation has given us a real-world scenario of how we can utilise the pros of technological advancement in different fields of life including academia.

The crisis has certainly caused a degree of inconvenience but has also prompted new examples of education innovation. Although it is too early to judge how covid will affect education system, but we can see that it will have a lasting impact on learning innovation and digitisation.

Have you devised a road-map on how your institute can go the e-learning way that will ensure continual learning for the students from home?

Our road map has always been simple to 'Never Give-Up'. We are an institute that believes in the power of innovation and have followed this path of persistent effort.

Instilling this as our core principle, JD has adopted an initiative that revolves around the elements of encouragement, engagement, and empowerment. We encourage our students to take this phase as a moment to learn, unlearn and re learn by engaging them with various webinars and talks to empower their creativity. 

The pandemic has also reminded us of a simple truth: health and hygiene measures. Apart from regular classes, education system should encourage students to be in the best of their health. We have added this as a key area wherein our students are following the best practices and measures, along with their regular learning.

What impact do you think this engagement into online/distance learning by many/most institutions might have on faculty and student confidence in technology-enabled learning? Do you believe this will lead to more professors believing in the quality of online learning and wanting to incorporate the best into their teaching by forgetting the perceived quality gap?

Online learning or teaching comes with inherent benefits and limitations. This differs from individual to individual and institute to institute. Most of the educational institutes are facing challenges regarding the online platform as there are limited technology, facilities and resources available at the domestic front. But, there are few who have coped up really well with this pandemic situation and have overcome the challenge. It is unclear if the current model is the best suited one as we are all in a wait and watch situation. But as we say, change is in-evitable, one should embrace it and make the most of it.

If the outcomes of e-learning are not that great, what can institutions and individual instructors do to ensure a better rather than worse outcome?

It is recommended to these individuals or institutes who have trouble adapting these challenges, to focus on their strengths and the availabilities. Each of the industry has its own potential. We also have various external platforms that largely focus on online education delivery or providing resources, to execute such ideas. Institutes and instructors can collaborate and can introduce new models of teaching and businesses. The key to success is often the ability to adapt. Adapt yourself to the environment, to the economy and needs of the situation.

Could the move to online learning be the catalyst to create a new, more effective method of educating students?

We believe in the empowerment of the youth as they are the one who will be leading the nation next and bringing some innovative and impactful changes in the economy and the society. Online education can be a good start and catalyst in times of adversity where the youth will be prepared to face any challenge or limitation. Design education is a blend of theory and practical. At the time of adversity, it can be a suitable solution. There are certain ways where we can deliver online education, but there are few key areas which require to be on field. The only solution to it is to have patience and wait for the situation to go back to normalcy.

Please give us a background of JD Institute of Fashion – when was it formed, its founders, current faculty members and students strength. How many branches do you have all over India?

Empowering creative minds since 1988, JD Institute of Fashion Technology is the premier Institute of art, design and management. The institute was cemented by our founders and true visionaries, Chandrakaant Dalal and RC Dalal in Mumbai. Their vision impelled in assembling a student body with exceptional skills to revitalise creativity and passion for design by planting the seed of imagination. Taking the vision forward, Nealesh Dalal, the managing trustee of JD Institute of Fashion Technology, Bangalore, has been steered by a firm belief and zest in the power of imagination. His creative leadership has contributed in making the Institute a pioneering art and design school in India. He aims to redefine fashion and design education in sync with the local and global standards and practices, and has made this Institute to be a Global League Institute certified by Great Place to Study. Sandra Sequiera, Director, JD South has also been an impeccable support in building organisational partnerships, managing teams and leaderships, creative planning, strategies for franchise growth and linking business. She also makes sure that her best interests are in the welfare of the students and empowering the youth who are budding professionals of the future. She is an ambitious visionary who is focused towards a mission to propagate the ideals and principles of learning and training in the field of art and design. Additionally, her interest also lies in supporting human rights and welfare of individuals. Currently, with the guidance and rigid leadership of Nealesh Dalal, JD has expanded itself with 40+ centres, pan India. Our south centres include Bangalore, Cochin, Goa, Vijayawada and Punjagutta; Bangalore being our corporate centre.

How has the institute grown since its inception? What are the major achievements?

JD as an institute has always inculcated the students with the drive to chase their dreams and has been a catalyst for the success of the students across creative industries. Our mission is to make sure our students adopt the 3 I’s- Ideate, Innovate and Inspire. 

JD has won many awards and honours for the outstanding performance in the record of education, design and innovation. Some of them are: 
  • The Global Excellence in Design Education Award by Times Education Excellence 
  • ‘The Global League Institute Award’ certified by Great Place to Study at London 
  • The institute is recognised by the Education Brainiac under the 20 best Higher recommended higher institutes, 2019.
  • JD Institute is recognised under the 10 most recommended higher institutes, 2019.
  • Awarded Best Vocational Education Institute for Fashion Design
  • The qualified institute serving Fashion Design, Interior Design and Hair and Makeup courses at International Quality Awards, 2019.
  • The Institute is awarded Leaders in Design Education by the UK Asian Business Awards 2018 held at Congress Hall, London.

Which are the various courses offered by you?

JD Institute has been in the industry for over 30+ years and has evolved into a globally renowned institution of art, design and management that develops courses with the pulse of the needs of the industry. The institute offers a spectrum of courses that are accredited to EQAC (The Education Quality Accreditation Commission), and affiliated to the university.

We provide the students with courses that are overhauled from time to time with the current industry trends and techniques. The curriculum is intense, concentrated, industry oriented, rewarding, and globally recognised.

We offer a plethora of courses both Undergraduate, Post Graduate and Diploma Programmes.

UG Programmes:
  • BSc in Fashion and Apparel Design
  • BSc in Interior Design and Decoration
Advanced Diploma Courses:
  • Advance Diploma in Fashion Design 
  • Advance Diploma in Interior Design
Diploma Courses:
  • Fashion Design
  • Interior Design
  • Jewellery Design
  • Customized CAD in Jewellery
  • Fashion Business Management
  • Fashion and Lifestyle Entrepreneurship
  • Fashion Styling
  • Fashion Photography
  • Make-Up and Hair-Style Artistry
  • Visual Merchandising
PG Diploma Courses:
  • Fashion communication
  • Fashion Design and Business Management
  • Interior and Spatial Design
Weekend Diploma Courses:
  • Fashion Design
  • Interior Design
Published on: 17/06/2020

DISCLAIMER: All views and opinions expressed in this column are solely of the interviewee, and they do not reflect in any way the opinion of Fibre2Fashion.com.

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