Where does the architecture education stand today in India?

Where does the architecture education stand today in India?

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One should also consider the percentage of students opting for higher education after completing graduation course before arriving at any conclusion. While Medical stream provides 42-43% of placements, nearly 45% of the medical students opt for higher studies

There are more than 500 architecture schools in India from which thousands of newly educated architects come out every year. Similarly, there are thousands of engineering, medical and management schools in the country churning out thousands of graduates in the country. Thus, architecture schools have to not only compete among themselves but also with other colleges offering other courses to attract students. Therefore, it is pertinent to know where does architecture education stands in India vis-à-vis other courses like engineering, medical and management.

A recent study conducted by Sawdust reveals several interesting facts about architecture education vis-à-vis other streams – some are encouraging while others are giving some disturbing signals.

Placement opportunities

It’s a common knowledge that premier institutions (in any stream) get good placement opportunities and that’s one of the main reasons they become the first choice of the students. Our study shows that Management stream, i.e., two years post-graduation course provides highest placement opportunities when compared to other streams. Perhaps higher placement opportunities may be one of the reasons (may be main reason) for increasing number of students getting attracted towards Management courses in India today.

Percentage of placements in 15 top colleges (Under Graduation)

Year Engineering Medical Architecture
2015-16 67.97 41.25 37.82
2016-17 64.47 43.75 40.14
2017-18 61.62 41.66 46.98

Percentage is calculated out of total pass outs in an academic year

Percentage of placements in 15 top colleges (Post Graduation)

Year Engineering Medical Management Architecture
2015-16 48.96 52.63 99.07 45.42
2016-17 46.68 49.22 98.95 44.94
2017-18 44.59 43.78 98.86 53.44

On the other hand, placement opportunities are the least in case of Architecture stream as shown in the tables above. One should also consider the percentage of students opting for higher education after completing graduation course before arriving at any conclusion. While Medical stream provides 42-43% of placements, nearly 45% of the medical students opt for higher studies.

However, according to some architects, initial placement package is not the correct indicator of the remuneration standards in the industry because in India many architecture firms still recruit professionals based on references. Campus recruitment has not yet become widespread norm in architecture as is the case with engineering and management streams. This may be true partly because corporatisation of architecture firms and realty firms is happening very slowly in the country.

Placement packages

Average placement salary (in lakhs of Rs) in 15 top colleges (Under Graduation)

Year Engineering Medical Architecture
2015-16 8.38 4.81 4.49
2016-17 9.19 5.33 4.16
2017-18 10.01 5.56 4.09

Average placement salary (in lakhs of Rs) in 15 top colleges (Post Graduation)

Year Engineering Medical Management Architecture
2015-16 7.31 6.79 16.55 5.12
2016-17 7.47 6.7 17.69 4.63
2017-18 8.25 8.46 18.56 5.29

From the above tables it is clear that Architecture is the lowest paying profession, at least for the beginners while the Management profession stands at the other extreme. Poor placement record of architecture schools and also not so attractive salary package are matters of grave concern for the profession.  “There is nothing to worry even if architecture offers one of the lowest pay packages. If a student is passionate about the subject he will get admitted to architecture school whatever be the placement opportunities and initial pay packages. Industry will prosper because of such passionate professionals,” says a counsellor in a leading architecture school in Mumbai.

Whether students and their parents consider placement opportunities and initial pay packages while deciding on education streams to opt for may be a matter of debate but one thing is sure – bankers will always look into these aspects while sanctioning education loans. “Of course, placement opportunities and pay packages are important considerations bankers take cognizance of while sanctioning education loans,” says Parag Shah who is Vice President in a leading private sector bank.

According to some parents we have spoken felt that it is much easier to get education loan if they send their children abroad for education rather than admit them to some local colleges. They also feel that bankers do not take much interest when the loan amount applied for is small. A banker also confided that they are more interested in managing larger accounts even if their numbers are less than managing large number of small accounts.

Scope for higher education

Percentage of students opting for higher studies in 15 top colleges (Under Graduation)

Year Engineering Medical Architecture
2015-16 15.31 46.83 18.85
2016-17 15.46 46.81 21.39
2017-18 16.14 45.38 17.24

Architecture graduates opting for higher education are not too optimistic if we compare with Medical stream where nearly half of the graduates opt for higher studies. Since there is no guarantee that “the more you study, the more you get” as showed by minor difference in salary between Graduate and Post Graduate architecture students, there are no incentives for higher studies for them. However, some feel that situation is likely to change with more education loans available at affordable rates, funding higher education has become that much easier now.

Female students getting attracted

Number of Male/female students (in top 15 colleges)

Under Graduation Post-Graduation
Male Female Male Female
Architecture 2259 2072 384 476
Engineering 27514 7208 13157 4178
Medical 5208 4794 663 926
Management 0 0 6386 2568

However, one encouraging aspect of architecture education in India is the increasing participation of female students in it in recent years as compared to other streams (with the exception of Medical education). In other words, architecture education is in for a transition with increasing number of female population showing increasing interest in it. This is in quite contrast to what is happening in Engineering and Management fields.

Conclusion

Today urban planning organisations are complaining about the acute shortage of urban planners in the country. Also, it is said that India will see more houses being constructed in the next ten years than it has today. In other words, we will need more and more urban planners and architects in the coming years than we have seen in the past. With proper counselling and ensuring the availability of quality education, architecture can top the table in all parameters in the coming years. At the same we need to take sufficient care to ensure that quality of education is improved to meet the demands of highest standards of the industry.