“Values in education are guided by the ethics of our society, our living environment and wise rules.”
An ancient saying which reflects the needs of today’s education. A new “Unity in Diversity”. Architectural education is no exception and sea change is necessary in our curriculum, our teaching systems and our teachers. It is time to revisit architectural teaching and education in India, both in terms of profession and academics. Educational sciences compromise sub- disciplines, such as education methods, teaching techniques, educational psychology. In creativity education, it is necessary to use some of these components simultaneously.
The need of the hour is to establish research bases in all educational institutions offering architectural education across India to establish new education strategies for both teaching and learning considering the change in the living patterns post COVID-19. Social distancing, value addition to existing built environment “Adaptive Reuse”.
STRATEGY 1 – FOCUS ON EDUCATORS
Today, a significant number of those teaching architecture in India have minimal field experience. Therefore, some pre-requisites will have to be insisted on to add value to the education imparted and make it more meaningful.
- Excellent communication skills
- Adequate knowledge of the subject to be taught.
- Field experience
- The quality of notes and hand outs.
- Information sources need to be shared along with peers
- Self updating – essential quality.
STRATEGY 2 – THINKING SUSTAINBILITY
- Changes in lifestyle and in construction methods.
- Increased comfort requirements.
- Depleting energy resources and increased utility rates.
- Impact on the environment.
- Increased health and safety requirement.
- New mandatory social distancing \ obligation post COVID-19.
Rethinking sustainability – new designs for ‘ecological disaster management’ rather than the development, in terms of establishing safety norms and designs to save the mother earth, a service to humanity.
Our educational institutions must have a reality, check which is viable both in the technical and economical sense. Our curriculum especially must include:
- In the first year, study of existing grass root level, eco systems and ecological practices established for centuries in the country and still prevalent in our villages must be documented.
- Schools in U.S.A have started a new cult called “Back to the basics” where one period in one day for all classes held underneath a tree. This was a part of our “gurukul” system. We now need a new generation of architects, who can design our schools to sustain the traditional Indian culture of teaching experience.
- Hands on experience will initiate a sense of the “Ethos of our towns and villages”.
STRATEGY 3 – CREATING GLOBAL INDIAN ARCHITECTS.
The international market for technical professionals demand knowledgeable architects with special skills especially after the way India has tackled the current crisis.
- Skill development programmers up to the third year have become mandatory in the most architectural institutions in the world.
- Effective communication – both oral and written for technical correspondence and routine matters.
- Personality development in terms of hygiene, effective self- presentation and dealing with fellow professionals at all levels, from workers at the site to the chief architect and other technical consultants.
STRATEGY 4 – TEACHING DESIGN AS A PRODUCT RATHER THAN A PROCESS.
Top quality products are produced by team work. They are created by individuals commits to excellence in parts to make a whole. Our new education policies, especially for architecture, should encourage team work including accepting the e- platforms and its vast knowledge base as a key team member.
Newer methods of teaching must address:
- Sharing and integration of information.
- Surfing the world wide wed.
- Client’s financials, both in terms of spending and earning.
- Prevailing bye-laws and requirements of all statutory agencies, whose norms and rules are constantly changing per market needs.
- Site anomalies.
STRATEGY 5 – BACK TO BASICS
- Selecting concepts from the five elements of nature – air, fire, water. Sky and earth – will help to get into spatial designs.
- All design ideas should be honored by educators.
STRATEGY 6: INSTITUTIONAL REFORMS
- The Society for College and University Planning in its first volume of Educational Environment says that “Virtual and corporate universities now compete with traditional methods of learning delivery.”
- There is a constant need to re-evaluate institutional efforts programmers, training faculty and improved infrastructure area must to ensure that education is an any place, any time activity.
- Our educational institutions must do a reality check to ensure viability to both in the technical and economic sense.
STRATEGY 7 – A NEW EDUCATIONAL ENVIRONMENT
- New knowledge injection onto old curriculum at a constant pace.
- Up gradation of teacher knowledge.
- Utilization of the market specialists
- Utilization of the latest technology as a constant.
STRATEGY 8 – MOTIVATION
STRATEGY 9- FACTORS TO BE RE ADDRESED
New world order and norms to be established as required to tackle the pandemic. Revisit prevailing bye-laws and requirements.
END USER COMMITMENT
Master the techniques adaptive to both existing and the new building techniques.
A relook at the market needs from the individuals to corporate. A gap exists between the client’s needs and the service provided. A very wide gap which needs radical rethinking in the education imparted.
These strategies will form the frame work for “Reintegration”, in bridging the gap between architectural education and practice in emerging urban India.
Our youth will now have “New mantra” to enter the world arena.
REINTERGRATION – THE NEW MANTRA.
About the Author
Prof. D. S. Ramakrishna Rao has done his B. Arch form Chandigarh College of Architecture and Masters in Architecture from OHIO State University, USA. He has over 30 years of experience in the Sultanate of Oman, USA and India. He has handled a variety of projects ranging from Institutional Campuses, Industrial Complexes, Residential Township and Single Family Villas. His firm is called Architectural Wall Systems in Muscat and Desirazu Associates in India. He is the winner of the “Oman Green Champion Award” 2012 for Caledonian College Campus Project. He has also awarded “Best Teacher Award” by Indian Institute of Architects in 2013. He is part of visiting faculty member at University of Mysore, Caledonian College of Engineering & School of Architecture and Planning, Anna University, Chennai.
For more info : http://msa.edu.in/prof-d-s-ramakrishna-rao