KARACHI, May 7: The Sindh Education Department on Saturday handed over the St Joseph’s College for Women and the St Patrick’s College (Morning and Evening shifts) to the Catholic Board of Education (CBE), it was learnt officially. In line with the transfer documents, the present batches of students may continue their remaining education at the denationalized colleges in question in the existing fee schedule, while the staff, including over 90 teachers, would be withdrawn and absorbed into other government colleges.

Immediately after taking over the colleges, a spokesman for the new administration said the colleges would remain closed on May 9 and 10 to facilitate the physical handing over of the institutions.

The Additional Secretary of the Sindh Education Department, Tufail Ahmad Jumani, told Dawn that though the staff of both the colleges had already been transferred and posted to other colleges, a limited number of office staff would remain there to facilitate students for their intermediate annual examinations.

The students of classes XI and XII of the St Joseph’s and St Patrick’s colleges have been asked to contact the government staff there on May 11 and onwards for their admit cards issued by the Board of Intermediate Education, Karachi, the additional secretary added.

While it was also learnt that the Karachi board would not establish its examination centres at the colleges in question this year.

A decision to denationalize the St Joseph’s and St Patrick’s colleges and its transfer to the CBE was taken by the Sindh Cabinet on July 28, 2004, with some relaxation in the approved conditions of denationalization.

The cabinet had agreed to waive off the condition of golden handshake to the staff of the colleges in question because the private management had offered to retain 75 per cent of the existing staff for a period of three years.

The handing-over documents for denationalization of both the colleges were inked on Saturday morning at the office of the Sindh Education Minister, Dr Hamida Khuhro. Sister Margaret Rodrigues and Fr Joe Paul received the transmittal papers from the minister on behalf of the said institutions.

“Over the past 33 years, numerous efforts were made by various administrations to return the institutions to their former owners (CBE), but numerous extraneous and political factors intervened to foil their efforts,” said a CBE communiqué.

In the meantime, Menin Rodrigues, the official representative of the Catholic Archbishop of Karachi in the matter of denationalization, thanked the education minister and her team for their cooperation in facilitating the transfer.

Students of the colleges have been given the option to continue their studies at the same colleges or get transferred to other government colleges, added the CBE communiqué.

When contacted a CBE spokesman said that Sister Mary Emily, who had served as principal for many years as a government employee, will be the principal of St Joseph’s College, while Rev Fr Joseph Paul will be the principal of St Patrick’s campus.

Meanwhile, the education department also notified the handing over of the two colleges on Saturday.

Among other conditions, the new management will have to establish clear title/legal documents showing the ownership of these colleges, while the college premises would be used for imparting education only.

The private management of the colleges shall immediately constitute a board of governors, including the Secretary of the Education and Literacy Department and EDO (Higher Education), Karachi as its members.