NIFT needs to introduce the latest concepts in its curriculum to make its students industry-ready.

The “industry-ready” conundrum is plaguing not just engineering graduates but also those in the fashion design and technology sector. With new technologies and techniques evolving, the syllabus at India’s premier fashion technology school, the National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT), needs a re-look and overhaul, say alumni.

According to industry experts and those hiring NIFT students, the institute, which regularly updates its curriculum, needs some polishing. Anshuman Kumar, graduate and topper from NIFT- Bangalore, says, “There are many subjects which are not 100 per cent relevant. On the other hand, there are many subjects that should be included as they are necessary in the industry. The technology used in the industry is changing fast and accordingly the syllabus should incorporate the study of these technologies as they reduce human effort.” For example, illustration skills should be added. In college only the basics are covered; however the market is more competitive, and those well versed in all kinds of modern technologies will surely have an edge, he elaborated.

Important subject

A few changes were brought into the syllabus the previous year, and more upgradation in terms of subjects and practical course work will make better graduates. For example, introduction to marketing has been suggested as an important subject that should be taught, as marketing plays a huge role in the fashion industry. According to NIFT-Bangalore director, V. Sivalingam, there has been a concerted effort to keep the syllabus up-to-date. “In the past few years we have made some changes; however, such changes have to be made regularly to meet the pace of the industry which is growing very fast.”

But the course is not all that archaic and outdated, says Prashant K.C. who works in the retail sector and recruits fashion design students from various colleges including NIFT. He believes that even though there are some subjects that students might find obsolete, these very subjects come in handy at various time-points in the industry.

“Students should also develop the right attitude to learn and this could be inculcated in the institute. Being a designer means that one should be abreast with the latest trends and technologies.”

Internship is key

There are many areas in the fashion industry where a student can intern. However many are not aware of them. Taking cognisance of the immediate requirement to equip students with necessary skills and give them internship opportunities in the industry, NIFT has been seeking valuable inputs from the industry and alumni to help improve the course and infrastructure of the institute. “The logic behind a broad curriculum is that is gives versatility to the student in various fields and increases awareness and acceptance of other subjects,” said Vishal Srivastava, an alumnus of NIFT-Bangalore.

While students do get the opportunity to intern in various sectors of the industry, what they see on the field is very different from what is taught. According to him, the college does not provide students with job-oriented training. Furthermore, technological innovations (in both the software used and new machinery) that are ruling the industry should be included in the curriculum as it helps students become aware of the changing scenario in the fashion world.

“The profile of students from NFIT now does not match the industry requirements. When we were students, there were just six institutes, and now the number has doubled. So, these students need an edge to be absorbed into the industry,” added Srivastava.

Students of NIFT say that in addition to updating the curriculum, soft skills like communication and presentation also need to be taught. “There is a gap between what we learn in college and what the industry needs. The institute should train us to be prepared for the industry,” they said.

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