While Founder Says CEPT's Open Multidisciplinary Learning is Being Undermined, President Says Competition Making Change Necessary...

There's a war on between two pedagogical worlds at CEPT University ­ and these are split by half a century between them. The conflict was born from the rift between radical changes CEPT University's president Bimal Patel is bringing about and the institution's founding philosophies as envisioned by one of its legendary founders, BV Doshi.

Patel took over as president and acting director of the institute in July 2012, and over a year has worked towards dismantling the existing structure of CEPT University , claiming that it was necessitated by competition from more than 400 architecture schools. This had pained Doshi. Patel first move merged the 12 faculties - which included arts and humanities, doctoral studies, climate change studies, landscape studies into five faculties. The Doshi camp strongly felt that the concept of open, multidisciplinary and collaborative learning, which formed the foundational basis for CEPT University was being compromised.

Another of Patel's moves that became a bone of contention was the formation of a special purpose vehicle called the 'CEPT University Research and Consulting' to manage the vast income from contracted research and consulting that its faculty members did. Patel wanted faculty members doing consulting work to contribute more than at present to the university .This also meant that practicing faculty members cannot be paid "full time" salaries. Patel argued in the board meeting that faculty members spent more time on tours rather teaching. This policy, according to professors in the Doshi camp, was a digression from what all architecture schools in the country were trying to adopt from CEPT - encouraging practioner teachers to teach which brings in their experience and enriches students. They argued that chaining faculty members to the institution would only be a loss for students, as new ideas would not penetrate into the institution's teaching.

Teaching hours were fixed by the CEPT board of management - a faculty member had to clock at least 160 hours a month on teaching and could only engage consulting for 52 days a year, to support his or her teaching and research.This move was strongly resisted by a faction of senior faculty members, who eventually left the university.

With the many faultlines emerging with time, sources say Doshi strongly felt that he was now being avoided in the decision-making process of the board of management. This also saw Doshi himself withdrawing from routine meetings of the board. The proverbial last straw was structural changes made to the façade of the south lawns building without Doshi's consent.