This lecture is part of the National Council for Preservation Education meeting held July 15-16, 2014 in Natchitoches, Louisiana.
Preservation Education Challenge: Establishing Heritage Curricula and Professional Practice in Emerging South Asia Democracies, Pakistan–A Case Study by Robert W. Ogle and William C. S. Remsen, Boston Architectural College
Pakistan was “created” as the result of the 1947 partition of England’s subcontinent as a safe haven for Muslims away from the inherent conflicts with predominantly Hindu India. Centuries of cultural context were lost to tens of millions of current day Pakistani citizens as a result of their families forced geographic displacement.
In his book Pakistan A Hard Country, Anatol Lieven ,(2011), describes the sixty six year old Islamic Republic of Pakistan as “…divided, disorganized, economically backward, corrupt, violent, unjust, often savagely oppressive towards the poor and women, and home to extremely dangerous forms of extremism and terrorism-and yet it ‘moves’, and is in many ways surprisingly tough and resilient as a state and society. It is also not quite as unequal as it looks from outside.”
Lieven may be correct in his analysis except for the glaring inequality among Pakistanis and their access to education. A country of almost 200 million people (6th largest) spends only 2.1 percent of GDP on education ranking 164th of 174 countries in the world. According to the UNESCO’s 2009 Global Education Digest, 6.3% of Pakistanis (8.9% of males and 3.5% of females) were university graduates as of 2007. This compares to over 49% of Americans with baccalaureate and higher degrees. Pakistan plans to increase this figure to 10% by 2015 and subsequently to 15% by 2020. There is also a great deal of variety between age cohorts. Less than 6% of those in the age cohort 55-64 have a degree, compared to 8% in the 45-54 age cohort, 11% in the 35-44 age cohort and 16% in the age cohort 25-34.
Given the lack of access to higher education and the abundance of historic cultural heritage in need extant in Pakistan, how can historic preservation education be established and compete for scarce educational support when the contemporary governmental education priorities target health, science, technology, engineering and mathematics graduates? This paper explores how Boston Architectural College and National College of Arts- Rawalpindi with the assistance of the United States Department of State are approaching solutions to this problem by: 1) expanding the National College of Arts-Rawalpindi’s pedagogical options and curriculum to incorporate formal study and research in architectural heritage conservation and management, including the creation of field school programming; 2) improving the technology capacity of National College of Arts-Rawalpindi to deliver online courses and; 3) furthering the professional development opportunities for their practitioner faculty.