Int'l design school opens Manila campus
By Earl D.C. Bracamonte

From as far north as Ulaanbaatar in Mongolia, all the way down south to Auckland in New Zealand, the Raffles Education Corp. Limited (RECL) has been setting the standard for design education in the Asia-Pacific region.
“Our curricula is about process. Modules are geared toward skill-based approaches and on intellectual qualities. Students will be taught the basic level of working skills in the first two years. At Raffles, we redefine talent and harness creativity,” revealed interior design lecturer Lee Miles during an exclusive colloquy.
Raffles Design Institute Manila (RDIM), the flagship design institute of RECL, is part of the largest private education group in the Asia-Pacific region. Starting this July, it will provide quality education and, by extension, through its network of educational institutions to develop industry-relevant professionals.
“Comprehensive skill and knowledge outcomes as well as employability of students are emphasized in Raffles' curriculun, as are creative and analytical approaches that encourage individual judgment and self-awareness. We give robust training for serious students. We teach them all they need to know and more,” enthused director for marketing & operations Darion Lim, after a tour of the school premises.
The RECL was`established in 1990 by its chairman and CEO Chew Hua Seng in Singapore with Private Education Sysytem (PES) as its product. The company went public in 2002 and currently operates 38 campuses in 34 cities across 14 countries in the Asia-Pacific region: Australia, Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mongolia, New Zealand, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines. More than 28,000 students are enrolled in its course offerings. At RDIM, four 2-year, full-time, advanced diploma courses in Fashion Design, Interior Design, Visual Communication (Graphic Design) and Fashion Marketing & Management programmes are opening doors to its very first batch of students in the country this July. Globally, students are spread over 3,000 academic and administrative staff.
RDIM boasts of an international academic team comprising of industry practitioners from the United Kingdom, the US, and the Philippines. They are academic director Dr. Janet Emmanuel for Fashion Design, Nela San Jose for Fashion Marketing & Management, Buz Walker for Visual Communication, and Lee Miles for Interior Design.
“We teach our students the wholistic approach. Raffles is a whole family of international schools. We have UK/Australian-based courses and our curriculum is synched all throughout. Raffles is both a design school and studio wherein creativity and innovation is harnessed. We see things with fresh eyes,” intoned the bubbly Dr. Emmanuel.
The programs at RDIM are designed to equip aspiring designers with the essential technical and business knowledge and skills for the global arena. Its fast-track courses allows high school graduates who enroll therein to earn an internationally recognized Bachelor of Design degree in just three years and students have the flexibility to complete their studies within the Raffles network of colleges in any of the 14 countries.
Fashion Design takes students from design concepts and processes to final production for the worldwide marketplace. “Besides the on-campus activities, we will also be visiting galleries and fashion shows possibly in Singapore and/or Hong Kong for a start. Aside from the mainstream textiles, our students will also be taught how to capitalize on local fabrics such as the pina fiber,” added Dr. Emmanuel, who has had a long history in various top design schools in the UK.
Fashion Marketing and Management, on the other hand, mixes the business and creative aspects where students are trained in buying and merchandising practices, as well as in conceptualizing and developing brand management strategies. The creative side includes sewing, pattern-making, and styling among others; while the business side focuses on management principles, marketing, advertising and accounting.
“This subject will give students options and open their eyes to the different fields they might want to pursue. There are lots of options they can explore such as fashion public relations, events, and various professions in media. It doesn't have to be one or the other,” shared course lecturer Nela San Jose, an honors graduate from the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising (USA).
Interested students may visit the RDI campus at the 18th floor of Accralaw Tower along the corner of 2nd Ave. and 30th Street inside the sprawling Bonifacio Global City. You may also email them through rdi-manila@raffles-design-institute.com and/or call tel. nos. 846-888 and 846-0999. For more details, simply browse their Web site www.raffles-design-institute.com.ph.


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