PESHAWAR: The stakeholders of the historic Edwardes College, Peshawar, including the government, have reached a consensus that the college’s property will not be transferred or occupied in the name of nationalisation.

The development comes during a meeting presided over by Governor Shah Farman and Chief Minister Mahmood Khan here on Friday.

Dr Mohammad Shoaib Suddle, who heads a commission formulated on the Supreme Court’s orders, attended the meeting as a special guest and briefed participants on the college’s affairs.

Governor says steps being taken to improve college’s educational standards

MNA Ramesh Kumar, higher education secretary Manzoor Ahmad, principal secretary to the governor Nizamuddin, principle secretary to chief minister Shahab Ali Shah and officials concerned also attended the meeting.

A consensus was developed that the college’s property should remain the property of Christian community and that its Christian identity should not be disturbed at any level, according to a statement issued here.

The college’s principal will be appointed from among Christian community.

The governor said the government would make all possible efforts to retain the glory and historic identity of the Edwardes College.

“The Edwardes College is playing an important role in the education sector. No one can deny its contribution and services,” he said, adding that concrete steps are being taken to restore the college’s educational quality and standards.

The high-level meeting was informed that currently, the college was engulfed by allotment of the issues purely generated by a clash of interest between the administration and teaching community, sources told Dawn.

They, however, said one of the parties had given the matter a communal colour between Christians and Muslims just to manipulate the situation and serve own interests.

“We informed the meeting that it is not a communal issue,” an official said.

He said all issues facing the college were based on a clash of interests between administration and teachers.

Sources said that the meeting was informed that the provincial government has no concerns with the ownership of the property of the college rather it would have only supervisory role in the affairs of the administration. They further said that the provincial government would also make all efforts to put the affairs of the college on the right direction in the best interest of the students.

The officials turned down a proposal of Dr Suddal to upgrade the college to a university and said several colleges deemed to be the top educational institutions badly performed administratively and academically after upgradation as universities.

They added that among such educational institutions was the historic Islamia College, Peshawar, which was ruined after upgradation to the university.

The students of the Edwardes College have staged several demonstrations outside the premises demanding of the government to remove the principal what they considered him the sole reason of plunging the college into the quagmire of the issues.

The provincial government has also formed a committee to look into the controversies surrounding the college’s falling educational standards.

The six-member committee formed on the chief minister’s orders consists of the commissioner of Peshawar division as its convener and higher education secretary, Edwardes College principal or his nominee, retired bureaucrat Hifzur Rehman, Diocesan secretary of the Diocese of Peshawar Dr Sarah Safdar and any co-opted member recommended by the committee as its part.

Published in Dawn, November 9th, 2019