To learn the WORLD instead of the WORD
To CREATE instead of just ANALYZE
Foundation is the course required to enable the 'schooled' student into an independent learner.
That is to enable the student to learn the WORLD instead of the WORD, for which they have been trained till then.
Or in other words, to enable students to CREATE knowledge instead of analyzing secondhand information.
To awaken the true learner in them.
The foundation addresses two fundamental aspects of learning and the creation of knowledge.
One is the need for autonomy in learning which gives the student total responsibility and the other recovering the biologically rooted cognitive process meant for making sense of the world. The student who enters higher education is already conditioned and trained so to say to deal with the printed word instead of the world and is cognitively rewired to engage with readymade knowledge.
This is what needs to be addressed to study architecture and design education.
Unique features of Design education
Design education is practice-based, responding to the now with proper theoretical backing. This demands the designer to be constantly on their toes, learning all the time, being attentive to what is going on with total openness and flexibility. Design education and design as a profession demand creativity, sensitivity, empathy from the practitioner, and this can be only achieved by a shift from the way one has been educated in the school. Design education demands the designer to have a holistic overview- a balance between (1) art/ culture (2) science/ technology (3) finance, management, and (4) Humanities (anthropology, history, sociology, psychology) (5) communication (language and other means like computer, etc) and holistic abilities -development of physical skills- making, drawing, etc as well as intellectual abilities. Even more interesting is the need for innovation/creativity on one hand and practicality on the other.
The ability to observe, comprehend, articulate, and communicate is very crucial for designers.
Regular education does not prepare the student to be an authentic and independent learner. The Foundation program is specially designed to meet this demand. Design education demands a fundamental shift from the way students have been studying in school. As the shift is fundamental and demands habits and attitudinal changes. The foundation program in general and the orientation program, in particular, will have to be geared towards achieving this.
The Foundation program is the most important program in the making of a designer as a foundation program helps the student to become a learner, one who creates knowledge instead of merely receiving knowledge. Design education demands abilities, attitudes, skills, and qualities that have not been developed in regular education, and a foundation program is required to meet these needs.
The foundation program in design/architecture and early childhood education are similar in many ways. Both are about 'foundations' and need to be very sensitively handled and proper time should be allowed for the formation and strengthening of aptitude, attitude, and skills. This also demands not just time but also proper space- physical and psychological.
Both are about childlike qualities. One is for retaining and the other is for regaining. In fact, foundation studies are like a second birth and the womb needs to be sensitively handled.
We mess up in both situations like the need for the foundation is the proof that we haven't handled 'early childhood education' well.
Children are born to learn and our job is to ensure that their ability to learn is retained. But we teach, instruct, control, coerce, and test and mess it up. In fact, we 'give' freedom and mess them up psychologically forever.
Little do we realize that they are born in freedom and what freedom we are giving is the one we have taken away.