Through the letters addressed to Federal Ministers for Planning & Development, Federal Education and Professional Training and the Chairman of Pakistan Council of Architecture & Town Planners (PCATP), Chairman of the Association of Private Sector Universities Pakistan (APSUP), Prof Dr Ch Abdul Rehman demanded a revision in the intake limit for annual admissions in the architecture programs.
The letter mentioned that the Pakistani real estate sector is one of the most productive economic sectors in Pakistan. Conservative estimates by the World Bank place the sector’s size between $300 and $400 billion, representing 2% of the GDP. Besides, it sustains more than 40 allied industries including cement, kiln, ceramics, sanitary fittings, glass manufacturing, steel, furniture, and electronics.
The Economic Survey of Pakistan 2021-2022 reported that the construction sector’s share in employment had increased to 9.5 percent in the fiscal year 2020-21, which determines that the sector helped us survive the unprecedented economic threats posed by the pandemic Covid-19. The devastating floods in 2022 affected nearly 33 Million people and destroyed millions of houses across the five provinces of Pakistan, along with causing immense destruction to the infrastructure with thousands of kilometers of roads and huge bridges abolished.
To combat this devastation, there is an utmost need of building millions of new houses and repair infrastructure on an urgent basis. This ongoing rehabilitation requires expert architects who can provide maximum utility to homeowners, and ensure sustainability in design and space utilization. At the same time, the growing population and urbanization in Pakistan have also amplified the demand for housing and subsequent infrastructural facilities creating a high demand for expert town planners, and architects.
Chairman APSUP further mentioned that in the wake of this acute need for preparing qualified architects, the recent restriction on intake for the B-Arc program issued via PCATP/ARCH/TP/14-9-9/21 has cast shadows over the sector’s, as well as aspiring architects’ future.
There is ample proof that schools of architecture in universities across Pakistan have been efficiently engaged in uplifting the profession by producing competent architects, including internationally acclaimed among them. However, the recent restriction on the intake is causing a major financial setback to the HEIs, as the reduction in intake number from 60 to 45 is incurring annual losses worth several million rupees for each of these institutes, with many hugely established departments/schools in the private sector, are considering it as a halt to their architecture degree programs which do not seem financially viable to run anymore.
The Chairman APSUP demanded that since this restriction is similar to restricting the flourishing profession with the utmost employment potential in Pakistan and abroad, Association of Private Sector Universities of Pakistan (APSUP), the concerned authorities should cognizance of the industry’s requirements and allow universities in Pakistan to run this program as per the previous practice.