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Pakistan gives grant to church college

22 February 2013

A GRANT of £2 million made by the Pakistani government to Pakistan's only Church of Pakistan college is a "heartening" expression of confidence in the higher education offered by the Church, the Principal of Edwardes College, the Revd Dr Titus Presler, said earlier this month.

The developmental grant from the provincial government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, received last month, will help fund the academic programmes and physical facilities that are part of the college's push towards degree-awarding status.

The Bishop of Peshawar, the Rt Revd Humphrey S. Peters, said that he was "delighted" by the grant, which came "at a turning-point in the college's history".

At present, degrees at the college are awarded by the University of Peshawar. Gaining degree-awarding status, Dr Presler said, would enable Edwardes College to "extend its unique contribution" to higher education in the region, and give it greater freedom to determine its curriculum and syllabus.

The change in status will necessitate changes to the governance of the college, and the advice of the Higher Education Commission in Pakistan had been sought with regard to developing a charter, Dr Presler said. Following its recommendations, the head of the college's sponsoring body, the diocese of Peshawar, would become the Chancellor and the Chair of the Board of Governors. Members of the board would increase in number from eight or ten to 21, and would include the Secretary of Higher Education of the province, and the Chancellor of the University of Peshawar.

Edwardes College was founded in 1900 by the Church Missionary Society, and has been owned by the Lahore Diocesan Trust Association since 1956. Of its 2950 students, 92 per cent are Muslim, and seven per cent Christian; among the 105 faculty members the percentages are similar.

Women and socially disadvantaged groups, such as religious minorities, make up eight per cent of the students and 17 per cent of the faculty, proportions that the college is trying to increase. It had, Dr Presler said, "a particular vocation to develop interfaith community in a polarised environment."

 

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