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Transdisciplinary education crucial, says design varsity VC

WUD is the youngest university to be awarded the ERASMUS+ grant for Design and Innovation Capacity Building.

WUD is the youngest university to be awarded the ERASMUS+ grant for Design and Innovation Capacity Building.  

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The digital age renders any single educational domain insufficient to tackle complex global issues and it is no longer a choice but a necessity for students of design to engage in transdisciplinary education, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Vice Chancellor of World University of Design (WUD), said on Friday.

“Design as a discipline is horizontal and cuts across all verticals. In this cluster of technology, design students can no longer afford to specialise in either coding or aesthetics. For our country to become a global leader, we need to stop playing catch-up with other countries and acknowledge the indispensability of design in this age,” Dr. Gupta told The Hindu.

He stressed on the importance of students not only striving towards global standards of excellence, but also rooting their inspiration in the country’s cultural heritage. The New Delhi-based institute, which has 500 students from 22 States, offers nearly 30 majors across their interdisciplinary undergraduate and postgraduate programmes.

“Inspiration cuts across disciplinary borders which is why we don’t have teachers teaching a single subject. When we allow our students from different educational backgrounds to interact, the approaches to problem solving automatically witness an exponential and inspired increase,” Dr. Gupta said.

He acknowledged the systemic lethargy that suffocates Indian educational institutions, causing them to remain stranded in syllabi that were relevant 60 years ago. “We need to change this. Addressing education like a single-solution problem leaves no room for innovation. We cannot expect our students to become agents of change if this continues,” he said.

WUD is the youngest university to be awarded the ERASMUS+ grant for Design and Innovation Capacity Building, and Dr. Gupta said they believe strongly in the potential of global cooperation to advance innovative thinking. “We are a member of an international consortium called ‘Design Across Culture’ that brings together students from seven to eight countries to share projects. The rationale behind this is that since different cultures approach problems in distinct ways, exposing students to them allows for a layered and innovative approach,” he said.

The university acknowledges the fact that creativity is not restricted to Tier-1 cities and thus provides regular scholarships to aspirants from Tier-2 and 3 cities, he said. “There is much more to design than what is conventionally taught, which is why innovation of our current education system is imperative. Although NID and NIFT are great institutions, they are yet to broaden their approach to the discipline. Design is experiencing a drastic shift globally, and India needs to be equipped to carve a space for itself in this rapidly growing domain,” Dr. Gupta said.

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Printable version | Dec 16, 2019 6:29:06 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/transdisciplinary-education-crucial-says-design-varsity-vc/article30119891.ece

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