I agree with Prem Chandavarkar.

The separation of the licensing and regulating
architectural education is of course, the key to devising a better system of
serving the needs of society. This has been discussed often, but there is a
great reluctance on the part of the people who administer the CoA and their
supporters, to even consider the merits of such a bifurcatin in the system. For
example, at a meeting convened by the CoA on 22/12/03 at Delhi, to discuss the
specific issue of the AICTE "taking over" the responsibility of monitoring
architectural education, specifically the setting up of new colleges and
granting permission to existing colleges to continue their programmes, the
entire focus of discussion was on the "hidden agenda" of the engineer's lobby to
undermine the rights of the architectural profession. One did not even begin to
discuss the merits or demerits of AICTE's action.

The CoA feels it discharges its responsibilities by
merely "controlling" education without really having to distinguish between
its twin responsibilities of ensuring minimum standards for licensing on the one
hand, and ensuring good/best standards of education in Schools on the
other. Hence if any one of those twin responsibilities is usurped, then it
feels that the profession as a whole is in danger. According to me, it
can still continue to monitor the standards of education even as the
AICTE takes over the responsibility of setting up new colleges and granting
permission to existing ones to continue their programmes. Or, as Prem
Chandavarkar suggests, one could have a separate Board of Accreditation for
Architectural Education. Incidentally, AICTE already has an Accreditation Board
with a broader mandate than what is being mooted for Architectural Education by
Prem Chandavarkar, but some entity with a specific focus on architectural
education could easily be evolved. Of course, the problems of duplication and
"double taxation" in the form of excessive payments extracted from colleges
for such privileges, will still need to be sorted out, but if we put our heads
together, and not get hot under the collar about other's intents, I am sure
things can be worked out.

At this meeting, however, everyone appeared
to be very hot under the collar, so nothing as productive as seeing the
"opportunity" in the "danger", as Prem Chandavarkar puts it, was attempted.
The point of this note is to suggest that with the present mindset within the
profession - as evidenced in the meeting on 24/12/03, and the past performance
of CoA - as I can amply document, it does not appear likely that the wisdom of
separating the objectives of licensing and ensuring good education can be
grasped by many. The seduction of "control" appears to be an entirely
self-justifying  administrative practice as far as the administrators
at CoA or AICTE are concerned. To change this mindset is the first
step

It is in this connection that I suggest that some
of us get together to prepare a white paper of the subject to be presented to
both the CoA and the AICTE, because it does not appear likely that under the
present circumstances, the worthies in either of the two institutions are even
remotely interested in anything of the kind. In the process the profession,
and society, is losing a good opportunity to proceed in a constructive manner.
The cause of architectural education is too important to be left to
the babus fighting over administrative turf, because, lets not kid
ourselves, the so-called technocrats at both the institutions have only
acted as babus so far, and to expect them to change their stripes seems terribly
optimistic.

 

AG Krishna Menon

Director,

TVB School of Habitat Studies,

email: [email protected]