From the Revd Dr David
Sir, - Your report "Pakistan gives grant to church college"
News, 22 February) omits several factors that make it
improbable that any such grant will ever be utilised.
Ownership of Edwardes
College in Peshawar has been vested in the Lahore Diocesan Trust
Association, chaired by the Bishop of Lahore, since the departure
of the CMS in 1956, on behalf of all the dioceses in Pakistan, some
of which are unlikely to want to see such a valuable property
handed over to Peshawar diocese. There also seems to be some
uncertainty whether or not the actual deeds were ever transferred,
or remain in custody in London to prevent what many people fear,
namely, that parts of the property will be sold for personal gain -
which almost happened to the Peshawar Mission Hospital.
In 1973/74, Z. A. Bhutto's
government nationalised private higher-education institutions, with
the exception of Edwardes College, which was allowed to maintain
its independence, provided the provincial Governor, and not the
Bishop, chaired the Board. This compromise and others have worked
effectively for more than a quarter of a century, and my own legal
advice when I was Principal was that if the matter was ever
referred to the Supreme Court, it would almost certainly rule that
the present system should continue.
There is strong opposition
to any accumulation of power in the hands of the diocese and the
Bishop from within both the college and the diocese, and the
current Board is unlikely to abolish itself to make way for a new
regime in which - as your report suggests - the Bishop is the new
university Chancellor and Chair of the Board of Governors, with the
Governor of a province of 22 million people present as a mere
member (in his capacity as Chancellor of Peshawar University).
In Pakistan, of all places,
such a situation would be laughable.
I am sorry to cast a shadow
over your report about a college that I came to love during my four
years as Principal, but the current attempts to turn a fine
educational institution into a business enterprise are unlikely to
succeed, and are already proving counterproductive.
The proportion of women
students has dropped in two years by almost half, a student killed
himself very recently, and an investigation that I initiated into a
huge embezzlement of college funds is still in progress. With the
elections a month away, I wonder if the Chief Minister's offer of
cash amounts to more than a theatrical gesture.
DAVID L. GOSLING
(former Principal of Edwardes College, Peshawar)
Clare Hall, Cambridge CB3 9AN
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