Saturday, Jun 14, 2003
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By Mandira Nayar
``The idea was that students will get a better understanding of conservation. As they are two institutes providing similar courses under the Department of Culture, it makes lot of sense as well. Sometimes the same people come to teach so this would mean that instead of functioning as two separate entities they would pool in their resources and students would get an all around view. Besides with conservation emerging as an important field it meant more students could apply,'' claimed an official.
While the National Museum Institute enjoys a certain standard of teaching as it is a deemed university, the Indian Institute of Archaeology is still to modify its course, which has not changed since 1959.
This merger would have ensured that the standard of education would be raised and the combined "school'' would already have the status of a university.
"The National Museum Institute offers Museology, Conservation and Restoration of Works of Art, History of Art as masters programme. The Indian Institute of Archaeology is just a diploma course. The plan was to restructure the entire course and include the National Archives into the programme too. A national institute catering to all these aspects of heritage is a gap which still needs to be filled in India,'' stated an official.
However, the Department of Culture prefers to spend close to Rs. 60 lakhs every year on teaching only 30 students at the Indian Institute of Archaeology alone.
According to sources, the Department of Culture has completely dropped the idea of a unified entity and is applying to the University Grants Commission (UGC) for a university status for the Indian Institute of Archaeology.
The reason they claim is that the top officials at both the institutes would be in danger of losing their positions and therefore would rather have two institutes than one.
An argument that must hold enough weight as the Department of Culture seems to be going back on its word.
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