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School's out

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Veterans of debates over the future of architectural education (is there anyone still around who attended the RIBA's Oxford Conference of 1958, which turned architecture into a graduate profession? ) will find plenty to ponder in the latest views of the heads of schools of architecture.

Not surprisingly, they are anxious to rid themselves of the shackles of constant monitoring and inspecting, which they now have to suffer not just from the RIBA, but from the ARB, internal academic audits, and Quality Assurance benchmark testing procedures.Who can blame them? Whether it is desirable to divorce education from the profession in quite the way that the school heads envisage, via Schosa, their own professional body, is another matter.There is a law of unintended consequences; just suppose that becoming a chartered architect required neither a degree nor a diploma in architecture, but a good portfolio and a successful examination in practice and technical matters. How many students would want to study architecture formally in the sense that it is currently understood? Still, the debate is a useful one, and the forthcoming July conference will be significant, rather like Max Hutchinson's event in Cambridge more than a decade ago. One good idea is for the ARB to stop being a pain in the neck to schools, the RIBA, and everyone else.

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