Part­ing ways

can de-link­ing ed­u­ca­tion and pro­fes­sion in ar­chi­tec­ture cour­ses help in its bet­ter reg­u­la­tion?

Governance Now - - EDUCATION - Pranita Kulka­rni

The min­istry of hu­man re­source de­vel­op­ment (MHRD) is likely to lose con­trol over ar­chi­tec­ture col­leges and in­sti­tutes in the coun­try. The pro­posal to trans­fer their reins from the mhrd to the min­istry of ur­ban de­vel­op­ment (MOUD), now called min­istry of hous­ing and ur­ban af­fairs (MOHUA), was an­nounced ear­lier this year by the cab­i­net sec­re­tary. The pro­posal calls for re­al­lo­ca­tion of the architects act, 1972 and Coun­cil of Ar­chi­tec­ture (COA) – es­tab­lished by the architects act – to the moud. The trans­fer has been rec­om­mended with a ra­tio­nale that the pro­fes­sion will have more rel­e­vance with the min­istry which deals with build­ing ac­tiv­i­ties and plan­ning in ur­ban ar­eas. mhrd may also lose con­trol over the pres­ti­gious School of Plan­ning and ar­chi­tec­ture, delhi, as the gov­ern­ment has re­port­edly ac­cepted moud’s pro­posal to trans­fer the School of Plan­ning and ar­chi­tec­ture act, 2014 too.

These de­vel­op­ments have cer­tainly caught the MHRD off guard, which has been also asked to hand over four schemes fund­ing poly­tech­nics to the min­istry of skill de­vel­op­ment. even though HRD min­is­ter Prakash Javadekar re­cently claimed that “min­istries do not fight over ter­ri­tory” in this gov­ern­ment, it looks like his min­istry is leav­ing no stone un­turned to re­tain ar­chi­tec­ture ed­u­ca­tion, which has been its achilles’ heel since early 2000s.

in march, The in­dian ex­press re­ported that the then higher ed­u­ca­tion sec­re­tary, VS oberoi, had made a case against the im­pend­ing trans­fer, ar­gu­ing that the ar­chi­tec­ture ed­u­ca­tion falls within the mean­ing of ‘tech­ni­cal ed­u­ca­tion’, which is reg­u­lated by all in­dia coun­cil for Tech­ni­cal ed­u­ca­tion (AICTE), and hence MHRD should re­tain it. How­ever, the coa, which is em­pow­ered by the architects act to reg­u­late ar­chi­tec­ture ed­u­ca­tion, has pushed for its re­lo­ca­tion to the moud. These dis­puted claims by coa and aicte have formed a ground for a le­gal bat­tle be­tween the two that has en­sued for over a decade, and is also con­sid­ered to be one of the main rea­sons be­hind the pro­posed trans­fer. While the mat­ter of the reg­u­la­tory over­lap re­mains sub-ju­dice in the supreme court till date, many point fin­gers to­wards the mhrd for not re­solv­ing the dis­pute be­tween the two reg­u­la­tory bod­ies.

Reg­u­la­tory over­lap

The coa, which came into force on Septem­ber 1, 1972, has the power to make reg­u­la­tions that may pro­vide for “the cour­ses and pe­ri­ods of study and of prac­ti­cal train­ing, if any, to be un­der­taken, the sub­jects of ex­am­i­na­tions and stan­dards of pro­fi­ciency therein to be ob­tained in any col­lege or in­sti­tu­tion for grant of recog­nised qual­i­fi­ca­tions”. The coun­cil is also em­pow­ered to look af­ter the stan­dards of ar­chi­tec­tural ed­u­ca­tion – in terms of qual­ity of staff, equip­ment, fa­cil­i­ties, train­ing and ac­com­mo­da­tion. it solely holds the right to reg­is­ter the architects, is­sue li­cences to ar­chi­tec­ture grad­u­ates, en­abling them to start work­ing as pro­fes­sion­als. While the reg­u­la­tion of the pro­fes­sion is en­tirely with the coa, reg­u­la­tion of the ed­u­ca­tion is some­thing it has been forced to share with an­other na­tion­al­level reg­u­la­tory coun­cil – aicte.

Founded in 1945, aicte is re­spon­si­ble for “proper plan­ning and co­or­di­nated de­vel­op­ment of the tech­ni­cal ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem through­out the coun­try, the pro­mo­tion of qual­i­ta­tive im­prove­ment of such ed­u­ca­tion in re­la­tion to planned quan­ti­ta­tive growth and the reg­u­la­tion and proper main­te­nance of norms and stan­dards in the tech­ni­cal ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem and for mat­ters con­nected there­with.” The aicte act in­cludes ar­chi­tec­ture ed­u­ca­tion in its def­i­ni­tion of ‘tech­ni­cal ed­u­ca­tion’ – bring­ing it un­der the purview of two reg­u­la­tory bod­ies (COA and AICTE).

The architects act man­dates ap­point­ment of two aicte nom­i­nated per­sons as coa mem­bers to en­sure bet­ter co­or­di­na­tion. There was a mem­o­ran­dum of un­der­stand­ing (MOU) as well, signed by the two bod­ies for joint in­spec­tion and mu­tual ac­cep­tance of recog­ni­tion and reval­i­da­tion, which was ter­mi­nated in the early 2000s by the aicte. no­tices claim­ing that they alone have the ju­ris­dic­tion over con­trol

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