Human resources constraints
are one of the main challenges in today's Afghanistan. During the
past two decades the intelligentsia has fled, the educational system
has collapsed and the salaries of civil servants have become abysmally
insufficient. All this makes it difficult to motivate governmental
staff. Qualified Afghans present in the country typically "desert"
their posts in their fields of specialization to work for international
NGOs with better salaries.
This situation is especially dramatic in the under-funded field of
cultural heritage. It is agreed upon by all the stakeholders in this
field that capacity-building of Afghan professionals in cultural heritage
preservation is a priority. The Afghan professionals working in this
field have conveyed to us their need of training. Rather than new
and sophisticated conservation techniques or updates on scientific
or historical knowledge during the past 25 years, what they need firstly
is to refresh the basic principles of the preservation of cultural
properties. And we must not forget that there are other skills to
be learned before hand, such as languages to communicate better with
the different foreign missions that come to train them or to be able
to read specialized texts in other languages.
Different government institutions have approached SPACH in order to
get training in numerous disciplines. These institutions are the National
Museum of Afghanistan, the Historical Monuments Department, the Academy
of Sciences, the Institute of Archaeology, the History and Archaeology
Departments of the Faculty of Social Sciences, and the Ministry of
Information and Culture itself with more than 30 offices throughout
the country. The needs are huge and more funding is needed to address
At the request of Mr. Masoudi, the Kabul Museum director, SPACH allocated
a modest sum to train the museum staff in English language and computer
skills. The results are very satisfactory after half a year, but this
contribution barely even scratches the surface of what is needed.
Photo: A. Rodriguez. 2004
Courses in the National Museum of Afghanistan [2003-2004]
Thanks to a generous grant of $1,000 provided by the Australian writer
Christopher Kremmer, SPACH was able to organize a one-year English
course that started in the museum in October 2003. On a daily basis
22 members of the museum staff take part in this course. The course
has two levels, one for beginners and a second for advanced students.
The museum staff are studying hard. They know the importance of learning
a second language that will facilitate the communication with the
missions that come from abroad to train them in conservation techniques.
Computer Courses in the National Museum of Afghanistan[2003-2004]
At the request of the Kabul Museum director, a computer course was
organised by SPACH from October 2003 up to the present. SPACH donated
three second-hand computers and planned a personalised course for
six members of the staff chosen by the Museum director. During the
first six months the students learned to deal with Windows and then
the classes became much more personalised and targeted specific skills
such as Word in Dari for administrative staff, multimedia applications
for photographic staff and databases for library staff.