Architectural Education in India has been in a very shoddy state for a very long time. Both, the way Architecture is taught and the content that is taught needs major revamp. The content which is taught hasn’t changed much since the last 10 to 15 years. Bachelor’s Degree in Architecture is generally for up to 5 years which includes 10 semesters. Students embrace their academic life learning basic concepts of architecture in their starting semesters eventually climbing up the ladder learning the skills and understanding the nuances of the field. Each semester compulsorily involves a design undertaking where students delve into designing studio projects like hotels, schools, hospitals, houses, airports and stations, museums, etc. The level of design is often correlated to the level of knowledge he has gained from other technical subjects which he implicates in the design. This pattern often results in an incomplete output of designs that are limited to plans, elevations, and visual representations. If asked about how they would go about doing the same project in practicality, the majority of students lacked the knowledge of how they would achieve the desired result. Limited industrial exposure, irrelevant and outdated theory, Weak institutional infrastructure, and below-par standards of faculty and teaching may be some of the reasons to blame for. Instead of instilling a sense of curiosity and intellect, most of the students’ academic life is lost in doing unwanted and repetitive submissions which are hand-drafted and time-consuming. So the real question is why does this dire situation arise and what needs to be done to change this discouraging state of education?
The following points describe the subjects of the problems while also criticizing and pointing out solutions.
- Pre- Architecture requirements :
The eligibility criteria for admission into architecture requires a student to be from a science stream. This may be an unfair rule where students from commerce and arts are left out due to a lack of skill or knowledge about a certain subject ( particularly maths in many cases). Upgradation of the NATA syllabus is needed wherein equal weightage is given to all subjects and hence no students are left out. Though drawing and artistic skills may be a prerequisite, a standardized pattern for NATA throughout the country is required which involves subjects from all three streams – ARTS, COMMERCE & SCIENCE.
- Academics :
Though the present system inculcates in students the basics of every aspect of Architecture, it fails to instill in them an appetite for curiosity and learning. Architecture is a field driven by passion. If passion and curiosity are missing, then the system fails in producing excellent architects with outstanding levels of knowledge and stature. It is necessary to bring about a drastic change not only in the system but also with the perspective of everyone involved. Instead of making students do three to four different design projects, let them focus on one, but in detail. Students should be made to ask questions regarding Why, How, and What they want to achieve in their design rather than just hastily presenting Rendered plans, elevations, and other architectural details.
Also, faculties might even help students understand a design project if they take up a design project along with students. This will not only help students get another perspective but also help them understand the entire process involved in a project.
- Compulsory Tie-up with industries :
Lack of industry exposure and technical knowledge is the strongest point students of architecture point out that is missing in their education. With many new schools coming up, COA must make it compulsory for all the existing as well as upcoming schools to have tie-ups with construction industries and firms which can impart real education and hands-on experiences to them that is practiced in today’s construction market. Imagine the amount of curiosity for learning that will come up if students learn to design, calculate, and cast a slab on-site instead of learning it inside ‘closed walls’.
- Introduction of new subjects :
Instead of just teaching the traditional Architectural subjects like Design, Building Technology, and Materials, etc, the architectural syllabus must also include in detail the following subjects:
- Social sciences
- Human Resources and Management
- Economics and Finance
- Law and Policies
- Research, Analysis, and Documentation
- Technical Communication
- Current Affairs
- Environment and Responsible Architecture
- Software and Digital presentations.
Practicing architects not only deal in design and construction but also manage project finances, deal with labor agencies and Human Resources, comply with legal issues and policies, negotiate with vendors and marketing agencies as well as with clients. To improve the quality of education and standards of graduating architects, The education system must not only impart technical knowledge but also look at the overall personality development of students.
- Internship period to be extended. :
Most of the architecture students who have undergone their compulsory internship program feel that the ‘1-semester’ internship is not quite enough to fully achieve the intent of such an undertaking. Many students cite that it is very difficult as most of the projects they worked on would take more than 6 months and hence 1 semester of internship is not enough to fully keep track of the project and learn the art in detail. Increasing the internship period from 1 semester (6 months) to 2 semesters (1 full year) will help the students in gaining enough knowledge and experience and fulfilling the intended purpose of an “internship”.
- Compulsory up-gradation of syllabus every 5 years :
Keeping in mind the current trends in the architectural paradigms, architectural education needs to be revised/upgraded as per the current requirements that suit the needs of the students.
For INDIA to be a superpower and a global giant, we need to heavily invest in our education systems. Improving the quality of education and learning for Architecture as well as other S.T.E.M fields will help our country produce a strong intellectual diaspora that can be used for nation-building. Inspiring young students into research and Science will enable us to smartly tackle the issues of the 21st century. What Architectural Education needs right now is a strong Impetus in the right direction that will lead us into being smart and well-prepared architects of tomorrow.