Letter: Accreditation alarm

March 2, 2001

The news that the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors has reviewed the conditions under which it will grant accreditation and the subsequent withdrawal of support from 15 courses ("Surveying body in accreditation row", THES, February 16) has alarmed many of us in the construction industry.

It is the right and duty of a professional body to safeguard its membership, and we would defend the decision of any one of our fellow professional bodies to raise its standards as it sees fit. A key part of this process is the accreditation of degree courses to satisfy certain levels of membership. While Allan Brimicombe is correct in stating that an accredited degree is not a guarantee of gaining full membership (Letters, THES, February 23), it can confer on the holder an associated level of membership, to be built on by industrial experience.

It is also true that professional bodies are the ultimate gatekeepers of membership. The academic knowledge and understanding demonstrated by gaining a degree is a vital foothold on the ladder towards a full qualification, and professional bodies must have continual input into this.

We cannot, however, defend the right of any professional body to base its criteria for accreditation on input.

This professional institution has also recently released new procedures for accreditation based on outcomes of the learning process -ie, Quality Assurance Agency Benchmarking: Architectural Technology. We feel that this is the most accurate and appropriate means of determining the potential for graduates to enter the industry and subsequently gain professional qualification with ourselves.

This decision is a natural progression for this institute, which has always strived for inclusivity.

Elizabeth Brookfield
Education and research officer
British Institute of Architectural Technologists
London EC1

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