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Interview with Dr. Vijaya Kumar

Industry Speak
Dr. Vijaya Kumar
Dr. Vijaya Kumar
Vogue Institute of Art and Design
Vogue Institute of Art and Design

For skill based programmes, classroom training is essential

Dr MM Kariappa founded the Vogue Institute of Art & Design in 1996. Today it is ranked among the top art and design institutes in the country. Fibre2fashion spoke to Dr. Vijaya Kumar, Director, Vogue Institute of Art and Design to understand how the current Covid crisis has impacted educational institutes worldwide and reshaped education in more than one way.

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

The lockdown has caused psychological depression among students due to uncertainty of the future. Higher education students face the heat due to ambiguity of job opportunities. Students face confusion and find it difficult to make decisions about the career field to pursue due to the changes in industry dynamics and global economy.

How is the institute’s course offerings realigned in the era of Covid-19? How has the crisis reshaped education in more than one way?

We have kept our course offerings in alignment with the university guidelines and ensure that all the necessary requirements are accommodated for our students. All courses on distance learning are primarily for commerce or general science. When it comes to art and design, face to face mode and physical presence is essential. Students at Vogue Institute of Art and Design continue learning their courses through virtual classes. We ensure all the theoretical classes are undertaken during the current crisis situation. We share online tutorials, videos, also attempt for practical workshops that can be done at home. For instance, we conducted a workshop for fashion and textile students on ways to create natural dyes using food and floral waste on World Environment Day. This required materials and ingredients that were easily available for students and faculty.

What have the learnings been since the institute went the e-learning way to ensure continual learning for the students from home?

The field of Art and Design requires the right balance of theory and practical sessions to meet the industry demands. Our faculty members strategically planned the sessions with a time table and covered important subjects in the curriculum. While theoretical classes can be executed effortlessly through online platforms, practical sessions required a lot of planning and preparations to ensure the materials and tools for the session were easily accessible by the students. Video tutorials played a significant role in practical sessions. The academic environment has been better as students and faculty members were engaged during the lockdown period virtually.

The industry and education institutes are much closer during this period. Industry experts from India and abroad are joining hands with institutes to conduct webinar sessions for students frequently. Our initiative to conduct industry webinar sessions has been a successful platform for providing an industry-institute interaction set-up for students to understand the present and post Covid-19 effect on the industry. We conducted 20 webinars to date and the participation responses from students and faculties for the webinars have been extremely positive. Students in India and countries like the US, UK, UAE, China, Indonesia, Hong Kong took part in the webinar sessions regularly. There has been bilateral interaction among stakeholders of the fashion industry across the country and also worldwide. Other educational institutes are also conducting webinars during the lockdown and this has given our students the opportunity to connect with them.

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?

There is a lot of confidence visible among faculty members and students after conducting virtual classes to continue the curriculum with the use of technology. This has increased their knowledge horizon as they have learnt the skill of using technological means to provide live streaming classes for our students. Students and faculty feel confident that learning need not stop despite the set of challenges.

What are the challenges of e-learning?

The challenges are as follows:
  • Due to complete dependency and need for availability of technology and tools among students for conducting virtual classes, there is disproportional access to e-learning programmes
  • E-learning requires faculty members and students to have knowledge to use the tools and platforms available for conducting the classes, and handling technical challenges
  • Only 60 per cent of the curriculum is achievable through online platforms in case of skill based programmes, like Art and Design as it needs more face-to-face interactions

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

Classroom experiences are more effective than online learning. While theoretical classes are still effective through online platforms, practical classes need a lot of tools to make the session as effective as a classroom setting. For skill based programmes, classroom training is essential. On the other hand, practical industry exposures has increased immensely as industry experts are joining hands with institutes to conduct webinar sessions for students frequently. Students and faculties find this form of learning more effective and engaging.

What has been Vogue’s achievement so far? What are the various courses related to art, fashion and design?

Since its inception in 1996, Vogue Institute of Art and Design has emerged as one of the highly-rated Art and Design institutes with the highest number of recognised courses in the field of art and design by Bengaluru North University. With an aim to build a strong ecosystem for design education, Vogue is the first to introduce higher education management courses in the design landscape from an accredited source. This year, the institute has successfully entered the 24th year of academic excellenc. Today, we are proud to affirm that our skill development programmes are bridging the gap between the industry and education system. We are featured among the top educational institutes in the field of art and design in the country. With immense efforts of our professors and management, the institute has received multiple awards and accolades from renowned publications like India Today and Outlook for the programmes designed to shape the students for their careers.

We cover the whole spectrum of activities in the realm of fashion and textiles, design and management, to develop design professionals with a dynamic global outlook, a sense of social responsibility, critical and creative thinking. The courses include graduation programmes in BSc in fashion and apparel design, BSc in interior design and decoration, BVA in animation and multimedia, BVA in textile design, Bachelor in jewellery design and management, BSc in digital filmmaking and media. The institute offers MBA courses in fashion merchandising and retail management, fashion design and business management, interior design and management.

How has Vogue been an employment generator for youths drawn from economically backward sections?

The institute imparts training to underprivileged youth from the rural sector to provide employable skills in the areas of designing, pattern making and cutting, tailoring, jewellery designing, manufacturing and more. This initiative has created employment opportunities to thousands of youths from economically backward sectors.

What percentage of students does Vogue have as international students? Which are the major countries they come from?

Most of the international students come from UAE, Africa, SAARC countries.

Published on: 13/06/2020

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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