More flexibility over courses needed, says new report
A report by the UK Architectural Education Review Group which says future student numbers will be governed by how much debt people are prepared to shoulder is due to be sent to Terry Farrell as part of his review into the profession.
Last week Farrell told an NLA audience that his review would have to look at how much money students are prepared to spend funding their studies, warning that currently they “will be spending close to £100,000”.
Now the Education Review Group has said the existing requirements “inhibit widening participation” which can “create an artificial barrier to the profession based solely on a student’s willingness to accept high levels of personal debt”.
Group chairman Alex Wright, who is the chair of Schosa, which represents the heads of architecture schools, said: “There is an urgent need for additional flexibility to suit the needs of students and the profession.
“The hope is that architecture can continue to attract young people of extraordinary potential and that their education will enable them to develop their ability to maximum effect. The result will hopefully see an architectural profession accessible to all people drawn from the widest possible pool of talent.
“The Review Group found a broad consensus now exists around the need for change and hopefully this report will be a significant step in helping to mobilise that consensus.”
He added that one way to cope with rising costs was to either shorten courses or let students carry out their studies alongside paid work.
“It’s quite possible people in certain circumstances should qualify quicker or more slowly so they can earn money during the course of their education.”
The report also looked into maintaining standards of professional competence and making sure UK architectural education remains competitive and able to attract students from home and abroad.
The Farrell Review is due to report to architecture minister Ed Vaizey by the end of the year with the first recommendations due to be implemented early next. Wright said he was optimistic it would make a difference. “It is better to have a review than not. I hope the report will be helpful and useful and generates sufficient awareness that people do act on it. I’m optimistic about it and I hope my optimism is well founded.”
The Education Review Group’s report was approved by Schosa at its annual conference last week which added that it “wishes to express its support for the aims identified in the report”.
Education Review recommendations include:
- The UK allows entry into the profession via a single professional gateway
- Professional practice develops closer relationships with schools
- The regulation of UK architectural education is focused on the demonstration of equivalent competence by entrants to the register rather than the possession of equivalent awards