India Becomes The First To Launch Design Thinking and Innovation Course in School Curriculum

India Becomes The First To Launch Design Thinking and Innovation Course in School Curriculum

CBSE (central board of secondary education) has developed a skill module on ‘Design Thinking and Innovation’ in association with the Faculty of IIT Bombay and the innovation cell of the Education ministry. The prime aim is to stir students' creativity and make them more inventive. With this, India would become the first country in the world to broaden design considering and innovation programs in schools and colleges. Read SURFACES REPORTER (SR)’s complete report below.

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The course has already been introduced for students of class 6 in many schools this academic year as a skill development curriculum, the CBSE is now planning to launch books for classes 7 to 12.

“This module on ‘Design Thinking & Innovations’ is designed in such a way that students learn to acquire both knowledge of design and practice of skills required to develop an attitude towards design,” the CBSE circular read.  

Dr. Abhay Jere, the Chief Innovation Officer of the Innovation Cell, Education Ministry, said, “This year, along with CBSE, we have already introduced a design thinking course from Class 6. India is the only country, as per the best of our knowledge, to have a design thinking elective module starting from Class 6 standard.”

“Through this programme, we will be able to train a large number of youngsters, which will eventually help them move forward towards innovation and entrepreneurship,” added Jere, who conceptualised the Smart India Hackathon initiative, claimed as the world’s biggest open innovation model, which teaches the culture of product innovation and problem-solving among students.

What Does “Design Thinking and Innovation” Mean?

“Design Thinking and Innovation” is meant to improve lives through constant innovation. The main aim is to prepare students for real word problems and challenges. For instance, the first mobile phone was a big device. But later on- design thinking has helped to create an innovative smaller device or phone that comprises more applications and can easily fit into people’s pockets or can be held in one hand to operate. 

Similarly, In 1946, there was a project in Anand to improve and foster the community of dairy farmers and that project was also an outcome of Design Thinking.

Largely, the term can be divided into different phases: 

Empathize- which means to observe and understand the problem, in the above case, the dairy farmers were not being able to reach out to a bigger market and not getting enough revenue. 

Define- the milk producer was being exploited by the local milk dealers and agents.

Ideate- here the innovative thinking was to bring farmers together into one cooperative in order to allow them to sell their goods into the market in an economically viable manner. 

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Developing and Building Futuristic Skills

The plan to involve the ‘Design thinking and innovation” course in the curriculum started after understanding the low innovation quoting and problem-solving ability of Indian students. According to Jere, “The reason was due to the rote learning system of education. Our students are not trained to identify a problem and then ideate to solve that problem.”

The program aims to build futuristic skills in students. Its main target is to enhance students’ creativity and innovation, improve curating thinking and problem-solving skills, and promote communication & collaboration. 

Students will be awarded grades as per their achievement from - ‘beginning’, ‘developing’, ‘promising’, ‘proficient’ to ‘excellent’.

Is this a compulsory program?

For students from Classes 6 to 8, it will be an exposure programme. And if they get interested, they can take it up from Class 9 onwards. “From Class 9th onwards, they have to spend 160 hours, which is the same amount they spend on any other subject,” Jere said.

Currently, the skill course will be a part of the CBSE school curriculum, however, the central board hopes that soon other state boards will also start teaching them.

The module will help enhance the students’ sensory abilities, cognitive abilities and social abilities in a fun way. It will help them to observe, explore, analyse, experience, collaborate and reflect. The target is to nurture the students’ curiosity and increase their explorative abilities to solve different problems by optimising the design thinking process. 


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