TRANSFORMING THE ARCHITECTURE EDUCATION IN INDIA THROUGH GURUKUL BASED SYSTEM

Proposal by Prof. Manish Mishra, Gorakhpur

5

TRANSFORMING THE ARCHITECTURE EDUCATION IN INDIA THROUGH GURUKUL BASED SYSTEM

In every forum, whenever a group of Architects gather, one of the common point of discussion remains the deteriorating quality of current generation of Architects entering the profession.

The Architecture institutes functioning across the country are held culprit for deterioration of quality of current generation of Architects entering the profession, with this conclusion, the focus shifts to the regulation of Architecture institutes.

Council of Architecture which is Govt. Of India body, mandated to regulate Architecture education and register Architects, presents a nuanced view with respect to the problem that, it has to balance between reality and perception of demand and supply of professionals, balancing the two extremes in framing the policy. It also becomes constrained due to it’s being a Govt. Body, it has to also take in Govt. views having differing perception of problems and its solutions.

Every time when the matter of quality of education is raised it is connected to “Mushrooming” of Architecture schools with intake more than they can handle to provide adequate quality. When the question is raised about capping the quantity of these institutions and intake provided, Council’s reply remains that, we cannot stop anyone from application, but Council can reject an application on the grounds of deficiency.

Apart from “Mushrooming” of institutes issue, one of the major reasons for the lack of quality in Architecture education is pointed out as the lack of performance/creativity/capability of teacher teaching in the classrooms.

Eventually it is the Architects who teach and regulate Architecture education at various levels and register them as Architects and still in discussions across forums, Architects sound like an outsider, commenting on deficiencies of the system, created by Architects themselves.

Architecture Institutions require finances to run and operate and create infrastructure for an enabling environment of quality education. In private institutes availability of finance has direct bearing on availability and attention of quality teacher and ideal infrastructure.

Sometimes despite having availability of both finance and infrastructure, lack of intent from private body leads to deteriorated quality of students, which can be due to institutes focus on profits by not adhering to strict admission and academic review, lowering the bar of performance needed to qualify to become an Architect.

Such institutes end up creating bottlenecks which results in deteriorating the quality of education imparted in them. Architects teaching in such institutes end up becoming mute bystanders due to constraints related to finance, policy and bureaucracy.

If we summarise the above discussion, we find;

1. There are too many Architecture Intakes distributed unevenly across the country.

2. Financial Constraints or lack of intent leading to lack of quality environment created for students.

3. Lack of quality teachers in institutes due to lack of innovative policy to bring excellent Architecture professionals attracted to teaching.

are the reasons for low quality professionals being created by our institutions.

Whenever the discussion about policy upgrade ensues, often it is said that we must adopt most creative policy and possibly the best standards of international Architecture education.

We often forget that in our country before we had adopted non-contextualized western methods of teaching, we had greatest network of teaching system in form of “Gurukul” System, where pupils were trained and educated as greatest inventors, thinkers of human history.

Architecture education is tailor made for “Gurukul” model, where teacher is paramount to select and shape the student to an excellent professional. The ancient model of “Rishi’s” creating “Gurukul” allowed them to conduct research and impart quality education based on acquired regional wisdom and context.

For this to happen in contemporary times, we may have to identify pillars of profession in the country and ask them to take load of education and research in academics. The identified pillars may be tasked to create schools or Gurukul’s evenly distributing them across regions of the country. We may have to substantially reduce the intake of such schools, in turn substantially reducing other norms required to open such schools, such as land, infrastructure etc.

Professionals or team of professionals may also be invited to present a case for their ability to create such schools and such Gurukul’s shall be registered on the name of Head of the Institute till retirement age, and then another may be selected and appointed through due procedure.

A team of able and passionate professionals lead by an able head may also lead to creation of school of thought across various regional contexts. NATA and NASA can be used as thread to weave these Gurukuls across regions.

The Architect identified as head must first present a vision and feasibility document in front of a committee specially constituted for allowing such schools and only after satisfying the committee, letter of intent is issued, valid for certain period of time. The Architect or team being issued letter of intent then can go ahead and create infrastructure for the Gurukul and apply for formal affiliation, after necessary infrastructure is created. On inspection of such infrastructure, if found satisfactory, affiliation can be issued.

Also many institutes, which may be facing closure or applying for closure can be offered to be converted to Gurukul model framed by the council. In this process, the Council may not only be able to insert competent Architects in education system, but also widen its base of schools across the country.

There are many eminent Architects across country, who are highly energetic and passionate and are willing to help transform the education system across country. A policy can be framed around it.

Hopefully a wider discussion within policy makers and stakeholders may lead to a creative policy, helping utilization of excellent human resource not willing to work with redundant institutions and also creating excellent professionals.

Infrastructure and Human resource proposal for “Gurukul” model.

INTAKE

BUILT UP AREA (SQM)

LAND AREA(VARIES WITH AVAILABLE FAR (SQM)

FACULTY

5

500

350 -500

3

10

1000

650-1000

5

20

2000

1300-2000

8

40

4000

4046

15

Since its the proposed studio based model, the credit assigned per faculty need not be limited, as in larger number of students require more than one faculty in classroom, meanwhile in smaller intakes of 5 or 10 students will get personal attention of faculties and assignment and teaching will be synchronized with speed of learning.

These schools once affiliated with COA, will have to be affiliated with local universities, through which students will follow,credit based learning and give exams at university centres.

So admission will happen through NATA pool, while examination will be conducted by local university and Registration qualification exam will be conducted by Council of Architecture.

With this proposal, I rest the argument.

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5 Comments
  1. jaisim says

    in early 1980 s eight of us started this initiative of Gurukul system , free to learn free to exchange ideas and shift teacher or rishi or student or devotee and we sat with a tree and a shed to learn both skills and thought process.
    apart from the young spirits that came . there was little encouragement from the professional and the real estate world.
    but a few of us somehow manage limited practices this way with capacitor to handle any sixe of challenge. But the media and the bureaucracy see strength only in numbers.

    probably we were too early
    may be the time has come

    1. Manish Mishra says

      Sir,

      It is time, we propose this system, to authorities, ask them to discuss the merits and demerits.

  2. Sanjay Kumbhare says

    In Gurukuls the master hardly takes any fees. The students stay at master’s house and help him in daily chores. The students learn the style of the master. At the end of the learning, the students offer dakshina to master.
    Nowadays, we can hardly find a teacher who is not interested in remuneration. Also the gurukul system is appropriate to learn a trade. We have seen capenters, masons acquiring skill from there fathers.
    There can be no assurance about quality in gurukul systems.

    1. Manish Mishra says

      Please do not take it literally, today’s needs and needs of ancient times were different. Those days it was barter system, while today we have currency for exchange of value.

      What this system intends is to encourage the best of people who are vying to create a school of thought can have chance. They will have to create infrastructure and keep other associates and obviously bear the expense as well.

      There are a lot of great teachers and practicing Architects who can be right candidates to head such school, lets not undermine ourselves.

  3. Shripad Bhalerao says

    Needs to be looked at every Idea with a little caution.
    Where are the Gurus Who have all the knowledge in Architecture…
    Architecture is becoming a more complex and more collaborative practice with A great role of technology, robotics, building automation, performative aspects added to building.
    It seems to a little premature thinking like swinging the pendulum of pedagogy from one extreme to the other extreme.
    Such Ideas immediately catch attention because they are based on criticism of existing systems.
    Need of an hour is to hit the middle ground. Be more inclusive and integrate knowledge sharing in Architectural exploration, education and practice..
    other wise it might happen like an old saying in marathi ” आगीतून फोफाट्यात जाणे ” means to run from the fire and fall in the half burnt coals ..

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