Two-year-old School of Architecture still without campus or faculty

Two-year-old School of Architecture still without campus or faculty

Given its lack of infrastructure, students dread arrival of next batch

SRINAGAR: Inaugurated nearly two years ago amid much fanfare, Kashmir’s only School of Architecture has no permanent faculty or even a campus of its own. The Higher Education Department says it has referred the required posts to the government recruiting agency.
The School of Architecture was set up in September 2017 by the then Education Minister Altaf Bukhar at the Abdul Ahad Azad Memorial Degree College, Bemina. It offers a five-year Bachelor’s programme in Architecture (B Arch). Affiliated to the University of Kashmir, the School is registered with the Council of Architecture (CoA).
Almost two years down the line, the valley’s first institution of its kind does not even have a full-time director of its own, with the Principal of the Bemina degree college filling in at the post as additional charge.
The extent of infrastructure dearth at the institution can be gauged by the fact that, as per a staffer, instead of the prescribed plot area of 50 kanals under the CoA guidelines, the School is presently running from the lone building of Bemina Degree College.
Students enrolled at the institution told Kashmir Reader that a meagre five faculty members – all of them contractual – had been posted to teach 60 students from two batches.
Of the five faculty members, only three are specialists from the field, a student said.
“We do not even have a full-time director. There is a lot of burden on the faculty members due to which our studies are getting compromised. The government is not providing us the additional faculty either. The programme has been entirely neglected,” added the student.
Besides the dearth of faculty, the students complained that there was also an acute space crunch at the institution ever since admissions to the second batch took place.
“And the third batch is all set to take admissions in August, which is only going to worsen the situation,” a student feared.
Another student complained that due to the space crunch, they were forced to take classes “inside libraries”.
For a programme where focus should be on practical work, a student lamented that there was “no equipment” available to them.
“We buy the required equipments from our own money. The annual tours prescribed in the syllabus are not being conducted,” said a student. “It is not all about merely starting an institution. The set norms over the requirement of classrooms and equipment are not being followed.”
A student wondered what they were paying the annual fee of Rs 50,000 for.
Given the dearth of infrastructure at the institution, the student wondered, “I can’t understand where the money goes.”
Secretary Higher Education Department Talat Parvez told Kashmir Reader that providing a permanent campus to the institution will take time, though they were identifying land for the same.
On the matter of faculty, Parvez said that already several of the required posts have been referred to the Public Service Commission.