S. Nwankwo, J. Diogu, S. Obasi

Abia State University Uturu (NIGERIA)
The rate of de-accreditation of various disciplines in tertiary institutions by the regulatory bodies is an acknowledgement of the fallen standard of education in most developing nations of the world. The progress of any profession depends on the quality of education offered to its students particularly in design studios which is the hallmark of architectural education. Architectural education emphasizes a broad liberal arts foundation with courses in architectural design and theory, the technology of building and materials. Specific goals for student learning include an understanding of the organization of three dimensional spaces in response to specific human needs; the sequence and history of human activities; various architectural theories and current thought about the aesthetics of design, construction, materials and their properties, building systems and their integration for human comfort, structural principles, relationship of buildings to their sites; social, political, legal and economic influences of design and construction. The importance of this aspect of architectural education cannot be over-emphasized. Over 11 tertiary institutions in South-Eastern Nigeria offer architecture and in the recent time the fallen quality of graduate architects from these schools has been a source of worry to architectural firms and the regulatory bodies – Architects Registration Council of Nigerian (ARCON), National Universities Commission (NUC) and Nigeria Board for Technical Education (NBTE). This calls for investigation of design studio as the fulcrum of architectural education. The study evaluates performance of students in design studio in three schools of architecture in South-Eastern Nigeria (Abia State University Uturu, University of Nigeria and Federal Polytechnic Nekede) with the aim of ensuring qualitative architectural education. The specific objectives were: to assess the performance of students for two decades from 1990-2000 and 2001-2011; to make a compare between the performance of students in the two decades; to determine the reasons for the good/poor performance of the students and to make recommendations that would ensure qualitative architectural education. The methodology involves five research approaches which include archival retrieval, comparative analysis, observations, questionnaires and interviews. The structured questionnaires were administered to 120 students and 15 lecturers from the population of 330 students and 25 lecturers. The result revealed average of 85 percent passes and 47 percent in the first and second decades respectively. The result further revealed that inadequate studio facilities, lack of reading culture, poor staffing, poor funding, over admission and wrong admission mode were the contributing factors to the poor design studio performance. The research recommends the need for regular departmental evaluation, update and rectification of anomalies to ensure qualitative architectural education in schools of architecture which is the platform for the supply of highly skilled and talented architects to serve the needs of the global economy.