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Edwardes College, Peshawar, and the Pakistani government grant

15 March 2013


From the Bishop of Peshawar

Sir, - I write regarding the Revd Dr David Gosling's comment (Letters, 1 March) on the report (News, 22 February) of the £2-million grant by the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Government to Edwardes College, a church institution of close to 3000 students in Peshawar.

Contrary to Dr Gosling's speculation that the grant is "no more than a theatrical gesture", the funds (300 million Pakistani rupees) were actually received by the College on 1 January 2013, and are deposited in a College account entitled Edwardes College Development Fund.

Contrary to his confidence that "it is improbable that the grant will ever be utilised," disbursements are already being made to upgrade faculty qualifications, computer networks, library holdings, and scientific laboratories. It is clear that the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Government in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan has signalled its strong confidence in Edwardes College and its administration.

Dr Gosling is correct that the land and buildings of Edwardes College have been vested in the Lahore Diocesan Trust Association (LDTA) since the CMS's transfer of many properties in 1956. The diocese of Peshawar has always been clear that LDTA owns the property.

Moreover, the draft Charter for Edwardes as a degree-granting institute specifically cites the property ownership by LDTA and prohibits any sale, mortgage, lease, or other transfer of the property, either by the College or by the sponsoring body, which is the diocese. Thus, Dr Gosling's speculation that an attempt is being made to "hand over" the property to the diocese of Peshawar is contradicted by the facts.

Regarding the position of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Governor on the Board of Governors, the current draft of the Charter for Edwardes College as a degree-awarding institute states that the provincial Governor will be the Chair of the Board, as indeed he currently is.

The Charter's designation of the Bishop of Peshawar as the Chancellor conforms to the Pakistan Higher Education Commission's Model Charter for Private Universities, which states that the head of the sponsoring body shall be the Chancellor.

Dr Gosling's employment at Edwardes College was terminated by the Board of Governors in May 2010. In this light, his letter - part of an ongoing campaign - exhibits the reflexive colonial interference that the Church of England has worked hard to overcome in its mission work.

Vice Chair, Board of Governors
Edwardes College
The Mall, Peshawar 25000
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan

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