Leading the Way in Creative Education

In an exclusive conversation with Deccan Chronicle, Aditi Srivastava, President of Pearl Academy, discusses discusses the collaboration with the Rajiv Gandhi National Institute of Youth Development (RGNIYD) and explains how these partnerships ensure national recognition and adherence to rigorous educational standards. Srivastava also emphasizes the importance of global immersion programs and technology integration in shaping future-ready professionals.


How do you think the recent development of offering UG and PG degrees will impact the students and the institution’s reputation?

Ans.Offering bachelor’s and master’s degree programs will have a profound impact on both our students and the institution’s reputation. By providing nationally recognised degrees, we are enhancing the credibility and value of our educational programs.

For our students, these nationally recognised degrees mean more than just a piece of paper; they represent validation of their hard work and dedication. With these credentials, our students will be better equipped to navigate the competitive job market and pursue further studies with confidence.

Rajiv Gandhi National Institute of Youth Development is an institute of national importance, ensuring that these degrees will be recognised and accepted across the country.

The courses offered are Bachelor of Design (B. Des), M. Design (M. Des), BBA, and MBA in multiple areas, including Communication Design, Product Design, Fashion Design, Textile Design, Fashion Communication, Fashion Styling, Fashion Business, and Interior Design. These programs are meticulously designed to equip students with the skills, knowledge, and practical experience needed to excel in their chosen fields. Whether it’s through hands-on projects, industry collaborations, or immersive internships, students are provided with ample opportunities to hone their craft and explore their passions.

Moreover, this development solidifies our standing as a premier institution in creative design education. It speaks volumes about our dedication to academic rigor and our alignment with national educational standards. As a community, we take pride in attracting top-tier talent – both students and faculty – who share our passion for creativity and innovation.

Looking ahead, we are excited about the endless possibilities this partnership brings. Together, we will continue to empower future innovators and leaders in the creative industry, ensuring that every student who walks through our doors leaves as a complete creative professional who is not only proficient in his or her respective field but also possesses the skills and mindset needed to succeed in diverse professional environments.

· Can you elaborate on the significance of partnering with a government institution like RGNIYD for degree programs?

Ans. Partnering with an institution of national importance like RGNIYD for our degree programs holds immense significance for us and our students and parents. Firstly, the degrees earned through this collaboration carry weight and recognition nationwide. This validation not only enhances the credibility of our students but also opens doors to a multitude of academic and professional opportunities.

Moreover, aligning with a government institution ensures that our programs adhere to rigorous national standards for higher education. This partnership guarantees that our curriculum, faculty, and educational practices undergo continuous evaluation and improvement, ensuring that our students receive a top-notch education that meets industry demands.

For Pearl Academy, this collaboration bolsters our reputation as a premier educational institution, attracting top-tier students, esteemed faculty, and forging stronger ties with industry partners.

The backing of a government institution like RGNIYD instills greater trust and confidence among students, parents, and stakeholders in the education sector.

· How do you see this partnership enhancing the quality of education and career prospects for students?

Ans.The partnership will ensure that our academic programs are aligned with national educational standards, bringing a higher level of rigor and relevance to our curriculum. This alignment guarantees that our students receive an education that is both comprehensive and contemporary, equipping them with the necessary skills and knowledge to excel in their fields. Also, it’s not just about degrees on paper; it’s about what those degrees represent. Having degrees recognised by a prestigious government institution like RGNIYD will significantly boost the employability of our graduates. It will assure potential employers of the high standard of education our students have received, making them more competitive in the job market. Additionally, this partnership will facilitate stronger industry connections and networking opportunities, which are crucial for internships, placements, and professional growth.

Also, I feel this partnership is about more than just education; it’s about empowerment. It’s about giving our students the knowledge, skills, and confidence they need to pursue their passions, achieve their goals, and make a meaningful impact in the world. And that’s something truly special.

What role do you think global immersion programs play in shaping students' perspectives and skills?

Ans. Global immersion programs are a game-changer for our students. By immersing them in different cultures, and exposing them to various designers, craftspeople, and techniques, these programs help broaden their horizons and develop a deep cultural sensitivity. This kind of experience is transformative—it fosters creativity, builds resilience, and enhances their ability to collaborate and adapt in an increasingly globalised world.

At Pearl Academy, we have been shaping the future of over 15,000 students for more than three decades. We’ve offered overseas travel and learning experiences to over 3,000 of our students, believing that international exposure is crucial for personal and professional growth. We provide numerous opportunities for global learning through exchange programs, study tours, and collaborations with international institutions. These experiences allow our students to soak in global trends, practices, and cultures, enriching their education and preparing them for success on the world stage.

Take, for example, our recent two-week global immersion program in London, UK, where 66 of our students got to explore the city’s vibrant fashion scene and cultural heritage. They participated in masterclasses and workshops with industry experts like Laura Lightbody, Milena Lazazzera, and Carlos Palma. They learned everything from colour theory to styling techniques and trend forecasting, gaining practical skills crucial for their future careers. Our students also got hands-on experience by working backstage and as front-of-house assistants at the London Fashion Week for designers like Rocky S, Gopi Vaid, Karn Malhotra, and Nitin Bal Chauhan. They even collaborated with Creative Director Joseph Toronka on styling for fashion shows and assisting in fashion photography shoots.

But it wasn’t all work and no play—they also explored iconic landmarks and museums in London, deepening their understanding of global culture. Plus, they received mentorship from seasoned fashion industry professionals, helping them navigate their paths toward successful careers.

Our students also get to participate in prestigious events like New York Fashion Week, Paris Fashion Week, Lakme Fashion Week, and India Couture Week. Thanks to our partnerships with organisations like the International Foundation of Fashion Technology Institutes (IFFTI) and the Graduate Fashion Foundation (GFF), our students can work on joint projects with top brands like Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Jimmy Choo, TCC, DLF Emporio, Mercedes, Bequest Group, and Reliance Brands.

Through these global immersion programs, our students are not just getting an education—they’re preparing for impactful careers with a global perspective and the skills to thrive in a rapidly evolving industry. It’s all about opening up the world to them and letting their creativity

How does the institution ensure that its curriculum stays relevant and cutting-edge, especially in rapidly evolving fields like technology and design?

Ans.We ensure that our curriculum stays relevant and cutting-edge by maintaining close ties with industry leaders, professionals, and experts. Their insights and feedback are crucial for our curriculum development, ensuring that our programs reflect the latest trends, innovations, and best practices. Regular reviews guided by input from faculty members, industry partners, alumni, and students help us identify areas for improvement and keep our content up-to-date with changes in technology, design, and industry demands.

Our advisory board includes key figures from various industries, providing strategic guidance and keeping us informed about the evolving landscape. We integrate emerging technologies and tools into our curriculum, providing students with hands-on experience and exposure to cutting-edge practices.

We design our learning environments to be flexible and adaptive, encouraging experimentation, exploration, and innovation. Project-based learning, interdisciplinary collaborations, and experiential learning opportunities simulate real-world scenarios, preparing students for the challenges they will face in their careers. Our curriculum is AI-integrated, which further enhances our commitment to preparing students for the future of work and innovation.

Global perspectives and cross-cultural exchange are integral to our curriculum. Through study abroad programs, international collaborations, and multicultural experiences, students broaden their horizons and prepare to work in diverse, globalised environments.

Recently, we collaborated with FDCI to offer co-certification for short-term courses and masterclasses by top Indian fashion designers, giving students invaluable learning experiences and firsthand exposure to the industry. This partnership also allows students to showcase their work at prestigious events like Lakme Fashion Week and India Couture Week.

At Pearl Academy, we are committed to nurturing complete creative professionals who are not only proficient in their respective fields but also possess the skills and mindset needed to succeed in diverse professional environments. Life skills such as critical thinking, ethical awareness, effective communication, and digital and financial literacy are an indispensable part of our curriculum. Our tech-driven pedagogy provides students with access to state-of-the-art technology and cutting-edge resources, including high-end AR/VR sets. A notable 35 percent of our curriculum is tech-driven, ensuring that students are fully prepared for the digital age.

From fostering creativity and innovation to instilling a strong sense of ethical responsibility and sustainability, Pearl Academy ensures that students graduate as well-rounded individuals ready to make meaningful contributions to society. We are also in the process of collaborating with leading tech companies to offer our students an unparalleled, cutting-edge,and forward-thinking education that equips them with the skills, knowledge, and mindset needed to thrive in rapidly evolving fields like technology and design.

What initiatives have been taken to upskill teachers and ensure they are equipped to handle emerging technologies and trends?

Ans. We recognise that the quality of teaching is a critical factor in student success. We, at Pearl Academy, are committed to upskilling ourselves to provide student-centered, engaging, interactive, and personalised learning experiences for one and all.

Here are some of the initiatives taken up to upskill our teachers and education providers.

Tech-Talks: At Pearl Academy, we prioritise the continuous development of our faculty members, transcending departmental boundaries. We organise tech-talks and workshops for our faculty members to provide them with a platform to share and learn about new technological innovations relevant to education. Our recent Tech-Talk featured the distinguished industry speaker, Raj Sarthak Nigam, Co-Founder and CSO of India Fashion Awards and Fashion Entrepreneur Fund. Mr. Nigam’s profound insights into the convergence of fashion, technology, and entrepreneurship have significantly enriched our discussion, contributing to the professional and personal growth of our faculty members. It also allowed faculty members to discuss and address challenges and concerns related to educational technology.

AI Training: This training equips teachers with knowledge and skills related to AI concepts, technologies, applications, and their implications in various fields. Being AI-trained enables our team to bring AI-related knowledge and expertise into their teaching, research, and industry collaborations. They are equipped to incorporate AI concepts and applications into their courses, mentor students interested in AI careers, and contribute to AI-driven research and innovation in their fields.

PGCAP – Faculty Excellence in Academic Practices: Our passion for excellence is reflected in our academic procedures, best demonstrated by the PGCAP (PG Certificate in Academic Practice) training. With their expertise in the finest academic procedures, faculty members guarantee a high calibre of instruction in all subject areas. To stay up to speed with the most recent developments in their domains, faculty members are urged to participate in academic conferences, research, and scholarship. Faculty members in turn expand the learning experience for students in the classroom by bringing current information and expertise from their research, papers, and conferences.

Industry based Software Upskilling: Faculty members are actively engaged in upskilling themselves with training sessions on various cutting-edge design software tools to ensure our students receive the best education possible. Among these, Unreal Engine stands out as a powerful platform for creating immersive experiences and interactive simulations, preparing students for careers in gaming, virtual reality, and architectural visualisation. Additionally, Trezi offers a revolutionary approach to architectural design with its virtual reality integration, allowing students to visualise and explore their designs in a realistic environment. Clo 3D, on the other hand, empowers students to create lifelike 3D garment simulations, equipping them with essential skills for the fashion industry. These initiatives are part of our commitment to fostering industry-ready students who are adept at using the latest technologies in their respective fields.

Furthermore, for filmmaking students, faculty members are incorporating DaVinci Resolve 18 into their training sessions, renowned for its robust colour tools and advanced features, making it an essential tool for students interested in cinematography, film editing, and post-production. Faculty members are also exploring other innovative platforms to further enhance the learning experience. By incorporating these diverse software options into our curriculum, we aim to provide students with a comprehensive skill set that aligns with industry standards and prepares them for success in today’s competitive job market.

Focus on Collaboration and Networking: At Pearl Academy, we are always looking for different ways to provide a platform for collaboration and networking among faculty, staff, and students. We organise conferences, seminars, and workshops where individuals are motivated to come forward to share their research findings, exchange ideas, and collaborate on innovative projects. We also encourage collaboration with external partners and other academic institutions to foster knowledge transfer and promote innovation.

We truly believe in having a diverse and inclusive faculty, which is only possible when institutes invest in upskilling their teachers. At Pearl Academy, this is a continuous process, and we take pride in being able to foster an enriching learning environment, both for our students and our faculty members.

How do you see technology integration transforming the education landscape, and what steps is the institution taking to stay ahead of the curve?

Ans.At Pearl Academy, we recognise the transformative power of technology and are committed to staying ahead of the curve by implementing strategic initiatives that harness its potential.Our tech-driven pedagogy lies at the heart of our educational approach, providing students with access to cutting-edge resources and state-of-the-art technology. With high-end AR/VR sets and a notable 35 percent of our curriculum being tech-driven, we ensure that students are fully prepared for the demands of the digital age.

Moreover, all our teachers are AI-trained, ensuring that they are equipped to deliver the most innovative and effective instruction possible. Over the past 31 years, Pearl Academy has been constantly refining and upgrading its pedagogy to provide students with the tools and resources they need to excel.

We understand that technology plays an integral role in students’ lives, and our commitment to incorporating it into our programs reflects our dedication to creating a 360-degree learning environment. By encouraging the use of newly deployed software modules, students are exposed to a wide range of skills.

In addition to providing students with access to cutting-edge technology, we also offer a wide range of technologically advanced courses that equip students with the skills they need to succeed in today’s rapidly changing world. Our labs are equipped with a variety of software tools to help students learn beyond traditional skills and foster greater creativity in the classroom.

Ultimately, our goal is to ensure that our students are not only prepared for the challenges of the digital age but also equipped to thrive in it. Through our technologically advanced courses, tools, and support, we are empowering the next generation of leaders and innovators to make their mark on the world.

We are committed to continuously innovating and evolving our educational practices to leverage the latest advancements in technology. This includes investing in cutting-edge infrastructure, providing professional development opportunities for faculty members, and partnering with industry leaders to incorporate emerging technologies into our curriculum.

Our curriculum is designed to equip students with the future-ready skills and competencies needed to thrive in a rapidly changing world. This includes digital literacy, critical thinking, problem-solving, collaboration, and adaptability, ensuring that our graduates are well-prepared to succeed in the digital age.

What advice would you give to students looking to pursue a career in creative arts and design, and how can they make the most of their education?

Ans. It is important to follow your passion wholeheartedly. Choose a field within creative arts and design that truly excites and inspires you,and be prepared to dedicate yourself fully to your craft. Building a strong foundation of skills and knowledge is a crucial step. Take advantage of educational opportunities to learn from experienced professionals, experiment with different techniques and mediums, and develop your artistic voice and style.

Additionally, embrace collaboration as a fundamental aspect of the creative process. Seek out opportunities to collaborate with peers, mentors, and industry professionals, as working with others can enrich your work and open doors to new opportunities.

Stay curious and open-minded, as the creative arts and design landscape is constantly evolving. Be willing to explore new ideas, trends, and technologies, and remain adaptable to change.

Don’t be afraid to seek feedback and constructive critique on your work. Feedback from peers, mentors, and industry professionals can offer valuable insights and help you grow as an artist.

Build a strong portfolio showcasing your best work. Your portfolio is your most important tool for showcasing your skills and creativity to prospective employers or clients, so make sure to continually update and refine it.

Network and establish connections within the industry. Attend industry events, exhibitions, and conferences to meet other professionals and build relationships. Networking can lead to job opportunities, collaborations, and mentorship.

Finally, stay resilient and persistent in pursuing your goals. The path to a successful career in creative arts and design may have its challenges and setbacks, but with dedication, perseverance, and a positive attitude, you can achieve your dreams.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle )
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