Students furious at architects on make

December 17, 1999

LISBON

Architecture lecturers at a Portuguese university are accused of abusing their position by redirecting university projects to their own private practices.

An official investigation, listing this and other problems at the faculty of architecture of Lisbon's Technical University, has revealed that projects include work for last year's universal exhibition, Expo 98, Lisbon's chamber of commerce and the capital's port authority.

Education ministry inspectors are recommending a full inquiry and have named 12 members of staff suspected of involvement.

The decision to carry out an inspection followed architecture student protests last year about the poor lecturing provision.

Rui Franco, president of the architecture faculty's student association, said the situation has not improved since and architecture students are still getting a raw deal.

He believes few staff feel any commitment to their job as half are visiting lecturers and 80 per cent have other jobs lecturing at private universities.

"Academics here give their lectures and that is all," he said. "There is no support system for students outside the lecture theatre and no research is being done."

The inspection found fault with 14 aspects of the way the faculty is run. These included academics' absenteeism, a shortage of trained administrative staff and little curricula coordination. Staff could draw up their teaching programme as they thought fit.

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