Background of the Department
Immediately after the formal function of the University of Baltistan as a Federally Chartered Public sector university in June 2018, the founding Vice Chancellor and his team had extensive deliberations to chalk out the future road map for the university in view of its location, mandate, needs, and aspirations of the community in the backdrop of the historical, cultural natural resources of Baltistan.
The first comprehensive envisioned document titled “Future Plan of the University of Baltistan Skardu” is a kind of university’s Strategic Plan that was endorsed by the statutory bodies as well. The Future Plan has four bullet points related to Heritage Studies and Archeology. The top one was:
Institute of Archeology, Cultural Studies, Buddhism, Bonnism, and Islam with
Other envisioned points are:
- Establishment of ‘Kesar Cultural Center’ for Heritage Studies
- International Center for Study and Preservation of Balti and other local
- Area Study Center for Tibetan Studies (Tibet, Laddakh & Little Tibet)
Based on this Future Plan, the university continued its deliberations to materialize the envisioned plans. The cultural lineage of Baltistan with Tibet and Laddakh, the archaeological rock carvings, inscriptions, architectures, and artifacts depicting the great civilizations of Bonnism, Buddhism, Islamic Sufism and evidence of other religious traditions such as Jainism, Christianity and Judaism in the region makes this part of the world an open museum of civilizations. The University of Baltistan, realizing its role as the right guardian and custodian of this heritage has been engaged in deliberations to establish a formal institute or department. As a result of the effort of the worthy Vice Chancellor and the first Director of External Linkages Dr. Zakir Hussain Zakir, Boston College of Architecture was ready to submit a joint project on heritage conservation to the US Embassy for funding. We jointly developed the proposal and after a lengthy process of evaluation, the proposal was approved.
With this provision, the Office of Director Academics placed the agenda of the establishment of the “Department of Archeology and Heritage Studies” for approval before the 5th Academic Council and it was approved. For the establishment of this department, resources for a major part of human resource development, learning materials, curriculum development, library, digital archives and archaeological laboratory would be available from the project.
As per agreement with the partners, the university developed an international standard curriculum of BS Archeology and Heritage Studies in collaboration with the experts of Boston Architectural College USA. With this curriculum that is aligned with the HEC guidelines, the BS program in Archaeology and Heritage Studies has been started. The process of development of the vision, mission, objectives of the department, program objectives, and learning outcomes have been finalized. The selection of courses with a bifurcation of ‘Archaeology’ and ‘Heritage Studies’ tracks from the third year has been agreed upon. For practical learning, Archeology Field School is being established in Shigar and development of the Digital Archives is in progress.