As there are very few institutes that offer design courses in the country, Deepak John Mathew, head of the design department, Indian Institute of Technology, Hyderabad, says that there is a great need to establish more such centres so that India can develop as a design or manufacturing hub. Speaking with Express, he says that this is the age of design and it has the power to change society. Here are excerpts from the interview:
Is there a need for more deign institutes?
Design has a tremendous scope as all industries require designers in one form or the other. As of now, hardly some 40 colleges offer these courses and we see most of the students going abroad to pursue courses in design and related subjects. So, there is a definite need for more centres and it would be better if all the IITs, NITs and top engineering colleges offer these courses so that India gets more number of quality designers.
Do we have enough qualified design professors in the country?
We don’t have adequate faculty strength and that is another big challenge. Most of those who study design opt for jobs rather than take up teaching. As such, starting some 100 institutes at one go will not be feasible. Instead we need to move forward step by step and, in course of time, should try to fulfil the requirement.
Are there enough job opportunities for students of design?
Gone are the days when people would talk nothing but engineering. Some decades ago, everyone had wanted a car which would run longer without frequent breakdowns. The perspective has changed now. People of today want comfort, look and navigation. Now, everything is about design and user experience. So irrespective of whether a designer is in a village or in a city, there are plenty of job opportunities.
In a world of technological innovations, how do you motivate your students towards social innovations?
A majority of the people in our country are poor and there is a dire need to do some social innovation so that their lives can change towards better. We allow what they want to do and keep talking to students on a regular basis. We ask them to make their career through their project. If a student develops an app, he may make some quick money, but social innovations will last longer and will be remembered forever. The most important thing we tell our students is to make this city a livable place. Apart from making money, we want them to bring about some change.
Is there enough awareness about the design courses?
Out of the 12 lakh-odd students who write JEE, only 15,000 write design exam. Not many students know that there is a special course for design and half of the students we get are architecture students as they are the ones who can closely relate to it. The government should take up initiatives and promote these courses.