Rapid growth of urbanization in this country with towns, cities and metropolitan areas tending to explode with the migration of population and its creating pressures on central and state Government administration in order to bring out professional architects, engineers and building technologists to meet new building demand of urban and rural need. Various ideas are being mooted to resolve the situation in order to accelerate educational processes with an idea to bring out more professionals in the field. The proposal consists of reduction of time in the duration of courses, a short term course for professionals to serve as barefoot architect to serve rural needs of population, embracing possibilities of specialisation based on community programme in areas of activities such as housing, urban conservation, solar energy and similar areas in order to resolve problems.
When this country received independence there were not more than two Schools of Architecture in the entire country. Emergence of new schools started sometimes during sixties with the Government and private support. Today we have more than forty-five schools in the country in most of the States except north-eastern regions and while some of them are in infancy, some are trending to attain adulthood and some have demonstrated close to receiving excellence. It must be noted presently that most of the schools tend to follow standard uniform curriculum as recommended by All India Technical Education and now by Council of Architecture. Their resulting performance seems questionable judging by the quality of product emerging of these Institutions. This situation needs examination and understanding based on broad feedback for the purpose of future planning needs.
It must be recognised that political and bureaucratic attitudes sometimes demand instant solutions for increasing additional professionals to meet new demands of building commodity based on their pre-conceived perception and often their ideas tend to get adopted in case of those Institutions supported by Government and the same is being followed sometimes by private Institutions. It is essential to have clear realisation about the quality of education in order to recognise the central ideas associated with the making of Institutions, which can contribute effectively towards shaping of architectural profession and contributing towards establishing a record of civilisation of our time.
It is well known that there is not a single Institution that can transmit all possible information and knowledge in a duration of course of study and make students proficient within the prescribed period. Philosophy of best of Schools in the world essentially is that they believe in developing appreciation and understanding of various considerations relevant to our times and thereby setting direction for students to pursue and practice after they leave Institution as they experience architecture. While students work as probationers after the degree course, they flower in course of time as they gain experience backed by convictions. This is possible only if they are satisfied and love their work with enjoyment what is achieved by them. On the contrary, if they are burdened either by curriculum or inadequacy in terms of knowledgeability on the part of teaching staff also the environment within the Institution the entire exercise of teaching will prove to be futile. Instant production of degrees holder ought not to be the only consideration on which Institutions be based and that there are other important parameters which are equally essential for making Institutions as a centre of learning and excellence. The essence is that neither the duration of course or the so-called curriculum alone has any importance unless there is a clear policy towards faculty and methodology that charges the minds of student community and the respect the faculty commands by the student community. It is well known that those who communicate knowledge first have to be knowledgeable by keeping abreast with knowledge. This is important particularly when students join Institutions with very high I.Q. in the present time. It is well known that neither in the case of fine art or other art Institutions communicate merely by descriptive methods alone without demonstration and this is true in case of architecture as well.
Recognising the needs of country based on regional, cultural as well as climate consideration uniformity of rigid courses throughout the entire country seems irrational and therefore cannot come up to the needs of population. This demands rationality of approach. Based on the present time and situation School falls under three distinct categories. (a) School oriented purely to an architectural design related subject including urban design, (b) School oriented to sociological studies and related considerations, and (c) those with technological and engineering considerations. The above situation will depend on resources also in the faculty associated with Schools. It is well known that there are several Institutions in U.S.A having set-up their directions and approach are tending to attract faculty and students based on their individual interest. Institutions have double role to play and that is while they bring out product to fit in to the professional needs on one hand, they equally have important responsibility to break the limitation and barriers of professional functioning. Institutions often there fore have to embrace known professionals of calibre and quality to get within the Institutions activity to pursue their goals.
It is an accepted fact that the quality of faculty scholarship and physical facility together contribute to standing of an Institution and it is the policy of the Institutions, which contributes to the overall quality performance. In this the policy towards faculty is the most important one. An Institution with static policy with all permanent faculty members tends to result in static situation and this must be safeguarded. Normally, it is ideal to have small core permanent faculty with varied types of visiting members of faculty that brings vitality and enthusiasm with their innovative programme amongst student community. Similarly students with positive attitude and genuine interest for work can get absorbed and become creative participants in learning process leading to effective performance at the end. Likewise physical facilities though are guided by standard norms, realising the high initial capital cost involved it is understandable even if there are compromises in the choices of physical facilities because of our limited resources.
Reflection in the duration of courses, need for ideal curriculum, demands for barefoot architects, need for specialised professionals such as natural and urban conservationists, computer applications etc., are bing constantly discussed and emphasized and appreciated in the present time, the essential discipline at the end is the one to have capability and training about putting things together in relation to the whole. This country has more than fourteen thousand architects and therefore the real quality of education is in terms of claim being made by Schools while what one observes as architectural performance is the indicator generally of our urban and rural scene. While stating this the work contribution of some of the professionals and Institutions is well recognised. However all the same, they are exceptions.
With varied climatic and cultural ambiance of different regions of this country and varied lifestyle and climatic conditions from extreme cold temperature to warm, humid and hot, large populations dominated by poverty with some affluence, introduction of uniform curriculum of any kind for entire country needs serious consideration and a fresh review. Educators in architecture are expected to realise the reality and rationale.
While accepting new emerging courses of studies and their introduction with students making grade, it is observed many times that they often miss the essence that leads to creativity and the value associated with programme. While some of the students absorb sense associated with the design, others take a long time and some do not realise in their lifetime during professional practice. It is therefore the ingenuity of the Institutions to apportion time with right quality professionals to expose students to right processes in order to create understanding and appreciation for the sense of space associated with the design. A good teacher should be able to make case studies courses with example of successes and failures, which is badly needed today.
Present-day discussions concerning various influences in architecture including so-called traditional approach of Purush Mandala, postmodernism as well as neoclassicism and their significance and relevance or otherwise need clarity of understanding. Whereas tradition is a continuous evolution because of changing needs and knowledge of man backed by technology, mere superficial application of bygone clothing of the past periods does not carry any message of any kind and that every Institution has to have its philosophy of approach backed by sound rationale and relevance.
With four or five years course being adopted all over in this country it will be incorrect to expect students to become proficient specialists in any particular line at an undergraduate level. Experience shows that they barely get acquainted with a broad-based course covering varied aspects of design and construction. They are expected to get acquainted with the contents, develop appreciation and cultivate subject matter as they pursue and practice after studies.
In essence it is important that students understand processes connected with the educational programme, its analytical understanding leading to developing perception of design, their capability to translate and express through visual vocabulary and ultimately resolving it into design synthesis, also, finally understanding of construction technology the process commonly followed by artisans, sculptors and graphic designers is not particularly different for what is adopted for architectural design in terms of artistic sensibility.
Lastly, education of a professional architect is incomplete without being able to recognise values in a given situation. In all architectural endeavour, humanism and humanistic values predominantly being created are the real indicators is the one how professionals learn to feel and judge environment setting that evoke and stir emotions. This is a function which cannot be formulated or prescribed but can be cultivated and acquired. Modern tools like varieties of instruments including computers can help physical work only. They cannot replace the human capability to perceive and express also cultivate experiences and skills. It is the knowledgeable teacher who alone can inspire students by kindling light in them so that they take directions and avenues, and in the process gain their own experience.
In making the above statement there is no intention of disregarding the normal discipline connected with establishing the curriculum of courses or disregarding the subject matter being followed in the School. However, the aim behind the above statement is to highlight and focus the essence and backbone around which the theme of architecture education manly depends and to ensure that the time and energy spent on supporting the subject matter is not followed out of proportion at the cost of needed attention to above-mentioned subject matter. The entire endeavour connected with teaching is essentially to communicate experience of experienced ones to the desiring and deserving disciples by exposing them to different situations—and thereby cultivating in them the capability of realising the totality of design synthesis. It is for the Institutions to identify methodology and apply men of right calibre to fulfil the task of charging and cultivating minds of the deserving, by curriculum of courses, which are absorbing and enjoyable through their experiences.