It is one of the country's flagship institutions dedicated to training designers and managers in fashion. During the quarantine, the Centro de Altos Estudios de la Moda made the leap to digitization. We discussed this process and its future strategies with Denisse Távara, academic director of CEAM.


 

Denisse Távara, directora académica del CEAM.

How has it been for you as an institution to face this new scenario?

Nothing easy. Initially we thought that the state of emergency would be for 15 days. Today we already have an overview of what we see happening in our country and internationally. From CEAM we embraced change from day one and it was clear that our virtual communication channels were going to take on more strength. We had to reorganize the entire service but we already had a digitization process underway.The start of classes for the period 2020-I was delayed by the president's statements. We immediately started working under the new structure, training our teachers, who faced everything with great commitment. 

Has this acceleration of going digital created new and interesting proposals?

As an institute, we launched a new approach a year ago that has adjusted very well to this new modality. It is the inverted classroom. The development of the classes has been facilitated thanks to this. For example, teachers were already trained in the dynamics of sharing material with students before sessions. We currently work with the Q10 platform where students review the material. We have also virtualized and updated content. For example, in the Fashion Law course, there have been concepts that the teacher has incorporated with the subject of new regulations and protocols as a result of the pandemic. 

«We have virtualized and updated content. For example, in the Fashion Law course, there have been concepts that the teacher has incorporated with the subject of new regulations and protocols as a result of the pandemic«. 

And, what has been the feedback from students about all these changes?

We meet with the students at the end of each cycle. We were very happy to hear them a few weeks ago where, paradoxically, they tell us that they feel closer than ever to the teacher because having them in front of the screen makes them perceive a more personalized work. They do miss interactions at school but have realized the opportunities that exist in virtual education. 

Although we have had the virtual platform for a year now, before it was not so used because it was not essential. Through it, they can even see the work that their colleagues are uploading and provide contributions.

El Centro de Altos Estudios de la Moda, ubicado en Miraflores, Lima. Créditos: CEAM

 

In all sectors there is fear in relation to the job market that young people from now on will face. What have students expressed to you and how have you responded?

Definitely, as in any crisis, there is confusion. But new opportunities also arise in the face of new needs. We have extracurricular activities where we present success stories on how reinvention has been possible. On the other hand, from the office of student welfare and employability, we generate soft skills development workshops and alliances with companies that are operating again. 

We have also emphasized the importance of developing digital capabilities to meet the objectives of companies. In the teaching units there are incorporations of software management. This will allow them to integrate into the current market since many will start or continue working from home, as well as being essential for companies to achieve their objectives.

What is the economic impact from the pandemic on the institution and students?

We continue to work on this information. We know that there has been a strong impact on the entire family of the institution: students, teachers, administrators. Faced with this, developing a program that will be available next term to help those students who have gone through a difficult situation. 

«There is a perception where it is thought that a virtual education does not mean quality, which is not true»

What can you tell us about the dropouts?

It is something that has happened at the national level. There have been many cases and they have been evaluated. We have 1 and 2 period enrollment reservations. The reasons are varied too. Health, economic, ...

There may also have appeared doubts about the degree itself...

Our country has not had a very solid virtual education. There is a perception where it is thought that a virtual education does not mean quality, which is not true.Here we have had a very important job to bring adequate information to students and parents. Our conditioning seeks to meet the quality of education that characterizes us and contribute to students having artistic development, but also critical.

What has the teachers' experience been like?

They had to reinforce their digital training. We apply microlearning and that allows the material that reaches the students to be first hand. We have also drawn on the experiences of directors and coordinators of our educational partners in Spain, Argentina and Colombia to find and discuss formulas for adaptation.

We know that there are courses that have not been taught in the first half of the year, what is your strategy for the rest of 2020?

We are considering a semi-present system. We have marked the beginning of classes on September 21 and keep on until the fortnight of January. On the other hand, there are plans A, B, C and even D, but we are waiting for the technical regulation from the Ministry of Education to know which one we will apply.

Finally, as a former CEAM student, do you think about what it would have been like to be one in a scenario like this?

Personally, I love digital and it seems essential to me that there be a level of communication like the one that currently exists. I took the race 10 years ago and I would have loved to have the teaching units that they have today. This moment helps us create strategies.I identify very much with the students and I know that the changes we have developed in the mesh will help them work in a global and national market. It has been a challenge but the key has been to seek the possibilities.Despite being a different and difficult era, it allows us to sharpen other senses.