In one sense the news is welcome for it means that licensing and education
are seen as two separate issues to be handled by two separate organisations,
each with its own proper focus. Licensing, as I have mentioned earlier
establishes the 'lowest common denominator'. Its purpose is to ensure that
the practicing professional is of a sufficient capability so as not to pose
a danger to the public. Therefore, it most parts of the world licensing
exams continue to have an examination in design, which is assessed from the
viewpoint of practical issues such as functional resolution, conformance to
building codes, etc. Other exams are also similarly pragmatic in nature
focusing on professional practice issues.
The regulation of education however should be seeking to establish the
highest possible standard. It should aim to challenge colleges in setting
high standards in evaluating the vision of architectural education, faculty
standards, pedagogy, etc.
The problem we are faced with is the question "Can we trust the AICTE to do
this?" Most of us would instinctively answer "No!!" given that we associate
the AICTE with political and bureaucratic control, a template based approach
of check box auditing, a poor track record of enforcing rigour in
scholarship, and a philosophical approach that leans towards the
vocationalisation of higher education.
What we need is a peer based review system that enforces high standards in
architectural education. The call should now be for a National Architecture
Acccreditation Board that is staffed with people who have a proven track
record of scholarship in architecture and a philosophical leaning away from
top down control structures and towards decentralised systems that are rich,
alive, empowered, yet also accountable. Perhaps a naive hope given that we
currently have a government that is attacking the IITs and IIMs - those few
islands of excellence achieved through their own autonomy.
From: [email protected]
[mailto:[email protected]]On Behalf Of Anand Bhatt.
Sent: Saturday, December 13, 2003 3:05 PM
To: Concerned about habitat and the professions.
Subject: [in-enaction] controversy: Joshi grabs architecture colleges
// facts be damned, more spin below
HRD:Council of Architecture stripped of powers, Council of Technical
Education now calls shots
NEW DELHI, DECEMBER 10 After trying to erode the autonomy of IITs and
IIMs, the Human Resource Development Ministry has tightened its grip over
architecture colleges across the country. It did so by brazenly divesting
the Council of Architecture (CoA) of its statutory functions of regulating
the education of architecture. The only mandate left with the CoA since
November 24 is to regulate the profession of architecture.
The architect community is up in arms over the transfer of the CoA's
responsibility over education to another statutory body, All India Council
for Technical Education, which coordinates technical education of all
branches (engineering, management, architecture, pharmacy and vocational
What has added to the controversy is that the functions of a
in existence since 1972 have been slashed not through a legislative
amendment but by terminating an administrative arrangement that existed
between the AICTE and CoA through a memorandum of understanding (MOU).
Last weekend, the AICTE issued a public notice stating that it was
terminating its MOU with the CoA and that it was consequently taking over
all the functions regarding regulation of architecture colleges.
The notice spells out that the AICTE will hereafter decide whether a new
architecture college can be set up, whether the approval granted to an
existing college can be extended and whether the intake of students in a
given college can be increased.
While it does not disclose any reason for the sudden change, the AICTE's
notice said that the decision was taken at its executive committee meeting
on November 24.
The president of the CoA, P R Mehta, when contacted, attacked the AICTE
saying: ''The public notice does not befit the stature of a statutory body
as it is attempting to belittle another statutory body.''
Mehta also rebuts the AICTE's claim that the withdrawal of the MOU would
have any bearing on the functions entrusted to the CoA through an Act of
Parliament passed in 1972.
''The notice is misleading,'' he asserts, adding that the CoA's
responsibility of maintaining the standards of architectural education is
akin to the Bar Council's jurisdiction over legal education and
Council's over medical education.
The AICTE's chairman, R Natarajan, was unavailable for comment.
The joint secretary in the ministry in charge of technical education, V S
Pandey, denied that the Government was behind the turf war between the two
statutory bodies. Pandey said this despite the fact that he was present at
the November 24 executive committee meeting where the AICTE took the
decision to take over the educational functions of the CoA.
Asked the reason for the decision, Pandey said, ''This is between the two
statutory bodies. The Government is not in the picture.'' He even
the AICTE took the decision on its own ''without any reference to the
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