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RIBA stops recognising Commonwealth Association of Architects schools

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Thousands of foreign students will no longer be able to acquire RIBA chartered membership following the institute’s decision to cease recognising 41 overseas architecture schools

Portland Place has decided to end its recognition of Commonwealth Association of Architects-endorsed (CAA) schools following disagreement over validation procedures.

The RIBA severed the decades old relationship after the CAA vetoed its request for ‘significant representation’ on the panels which inspect overseas schools.

The institute demanded that inspections included a RIBA secretary, claiming the ‘consistency and credibility’ of its validation process required its visiting boards to achieve ‘first-hand knowledge’ of schools.

But in a statement, the RIBA said the CAA declined its proposal ‘because it believes that this would undermine the sovereignty and ethos of its multinational validation system based on a partnership model.’

Only 15 out of the 41 CAA-validated schools are visited in person and the remainder are approved under agreements with individual countries’ registration boards.

From the end of this year, CAA-validated schools – including the University of Adelaide, the University of Hong Kong, the Caribbean School of Architecture and the University of Lagos – will cease to be listed on the institute’s website.

RIBA recognition of the schools’ courses will then formally terminate at the close of the 2011 to 2012 academic year.

New graduates from the impacted universities will no longer be permitted to seek RIBA chartered membership as a result of the move. Current graduates and existing institute members will be unaffected.

The schools’ students will however continue to be allowed to apply to the RIBA President’s Medals, scholarship and bursary schemes.

In a joint CAA-RIBA letter to heads of affected schools, the organisations said they would ‘continue to work together and separately to support architecture education internationally, wherever it is offered.’

The RIBA will continue to directly validate 47 UK schools of architecture and 26 overseas schools. The CAA declined to comment.


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