Architectural education in India has transformed beyond recognition since the early 90’s. Today there are dozens of schools in the big metros, where a few years ago a couple existed.
However in most things that are unplanned, there is a danger of the whole education system going haywire. Some of the issues have to do with recognition of professional educational institutions by government bodies. What happens if you dont agree with these government bodies or do not want to follow their sometimes lopsided regulations.
Architect of disaster: Council of Architecture (COA).
Created by a Parliamentary Act, COA is at loggerheads with many architecture schools, giving sleepless nights to hundreds of enrolled students and making one wonder if it’s under anyone’s control.
Armed with its statutory powers to regulate the education and practice of profession throughout India and maintain the register of architects, COA has been insisting that architecture schools introduce its National Aptitude Test in Architecture (NATA) or face de-recognition. COA website lists many schools of architecture (including IIT-Kharagpur and Chandigarh College of Architecture), where intake of students has been withdrawn or frozen for not submitting NATA undertaking .
COA has also recommended withdrawal of recognition for the reputed School of Planning and Architecture, Delhi, as also several others, alleging several sins of omission and commission.
Here are a couple of litigations in which COA has been involved:1. In a case brought by a student of Jai Narayan University- Jodhpur, the Rajasthan High Court held that the university did not need the approval of the COA for starting a B.Arch. course. The court also quashed COA’s rejection of the student’s application for registration.
2. In an ongoing case in Delhi the High Court, brought by students of TVB School of Habitat Studies, affiliated to Delh’s GGSIP University, COA has been found having granted recognition year after year to the school, which was later found to have violated zoning laws and made to close its campus. When the university absorbed the distressed students, COA insisted that the students could not join the university and would have to join another affiliated college, but in the evening batch and without adequate infrastructure. The COA also insisted that the course run by the university did not have its recognition . Pending the court decision, students of TVB some 140 of them face an uncertain future for no fault of their own.