PRINCIPAL’S REPORT TO THE EDWARDES COMMUNITY
The Revd. Canon Titus Presler, Th.D., D.D.
It is a great pleasure to report to faculty, governors, staff, students, friends and supporters of Edwardes College at the six-month mark after my arrival as Principal on 1 May 2011. Faculty, staff and students have been most welcoming to me, and I have settled well into the position, the College as a whole, and the environs of Peshawar. It is good for you to know that I am happy here and that I enjoy the work a great deal. On that personal note, my wife Jane is joining me here at times during the year, as I join her in the USA at other times, and she recently concluded an October visit to the College.
The organizing goal around which this report is structured is the overall vision that Edwardes become a degree-granting institution and ultimately a university. This is the initial statement in the Vision 2013 document, which asks, “What is the state of the College we desire to be in place by the opening of term in September 2013?” And the first major response offered is: “The College has made significant progress toward its goal of becoming a university.” Despite being the oldest institution of higher education in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Edwardes has for generations been content to focus on FA and FSc despite various other universities being established in the province, beginning with the University of Peshawar in 1951. Edwardes’ continuing high reputation is valuable social capital for our movement toward degree-granting status. However, if the College remains focused on the intermediate level of education, it will be left behind as gifted Pakistanis seek professional qualifications elsewhere.
The first major goal to be achieved toward becoming a university in Vision 2013 is the review and upgrading of faculty qualifications. The Higher Education Commission requires a certain number of PhDs in each department, with numerous positions filled by MPhils. At my arrival, only two faculty members other than myself had a doctoral qualification, and the number of MPhils continues to be low. The following measures are underway to develop higher qualifications:
– Faculty are formally encouraged to seek higher qualifications, namely, MPhil and PhD. The 34 faculty currently engaged in higher studies are being encouraged individually with counsel and with loan assistance for their fees.
– The September 2011 intake of 14 faculty members featured public advertising for MPhils and PhDs; 615 applications in all received, including 62 MPhils (some in progress) and 8 PhDs (some in progress); and the hiring of two PhDs and two MPhils, with others close to receiving either of these degrees. In addition to normal attrition, the intake was enlarged by discontinuing the reemployment of some retired faculty, thus making room for those working on higher qualifications. Total faculty currently number 93, including regular, contract, re-employed and visiting.
– Contractual agreements with new faculty include provision that contract renewal and/or regularization will depend partly on progress toward higher qualifications.
– A mentor programme has been established for new faculty that will nurture the collegiality appropriate to a university faculty.
– A two-track faculty system is proposed: traditional seniority system for those whose situation is static, and a new merit-based system where BPS and rank depend on qualifications and productivity. If two tracks are endorsed, it will be for a transitional period toward a united system based on merit.
– Conversations have occurred with the Edwardes College Teachers Welfare Association (ECTWA) about these initiatives, and understanding is growing that, in preparation for becoming a degree-granting institution, a merit-based system of seniority, rank and compensation must ultimately replace the traditional seniority system, though the two will co-exist for some time. ECTWA has an important role to play in the interface between Management on one hand and Faculty and Staff on the other.
The second major goal to be achieved toward becoming a university is curricular: creating and emphasizing a 4-year bachelors programme that will ground masters courses to be established later. This goal is consistent with the emerging emphasis of both the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Ministry of Higher Education and the federal Higher Education Commission. Over time this will involve moving away from the current heavy financial and curricular dependence on the FA and FSc courses and toward a focus on BA Honours and BS Honours degrees and, later, MA and MS courses. The following measures are underway to achieve this goal:
– A Working Group is planning for several pilot courses for bachelors honours: one in science for BS Honours, one and possibly two in arts for BA Honours. The group is taking on board the positive experience of the Professional Studies Department with its advanced courses and will consult about accreditation issues with the University of Peshawar.
– Arts offerings have been increased with the addition of Media, Philosophy, Physical Education, and Psychology to our subjects. History must be enhanced beyond its present scope, and Sociology, Geography and Religion must be added in future.
– Critical Thinking has been highlighted as a helpful category for what Edwardes seeks to achieve in education. Here the emphasis is on exploring the theoretical foundations and emerging issues of disciplines, not simply on achieving high marks on examinations.
– Plans are being developed for re-energizing the Tutorial System, which has proved its usefulness since being introduced in the late 1990s.
– Results for the Intermediate and Degree students in 2011 were satisfactory, with high passing rates that met expectations.
– As preparation for developing their own syllabi as university faculty in the future, faculty are formally encouraged to begin developing syllabi for their teaching that schedules and further develops the existing syllabi that they currently must implement under BISE and University of Peshawar.
– Finance Director is working up scenarios for how bachelors honours courses would be structured financially in order to be fiscally viable.
– Faculty consensus is developing that becoming a university is not only politically necessary for status and economically necessary for viability, but also educationally necessary if Edwardes is to fulfill its mission to educate and develop professionals who will be leaders in meeting the opportunities and challenges of Pakistan today. It is clear that our very able faculty feel held back by the current syllabi, many of which are out of date and otherwise not up to standard.
– Edwardes’ link with Liverpool Hope University has been strengthened by the Principal’s October 2011 visit to Liverpool, this relationship being the centerpiece for other institutional links that will be developed in the UK and USA.
The third major goal to be achieved toward achieving university status concerns infrastructure: the finances, land holdings and buildings of Edwardes must be enhanced in order to increase capacity and enhance quality. Currently faculty access to computers is limited, and many departments do not have offices, nor do most faculty. The student body of 2,800 is large for the size of the campus, and more classrooms are needed, especially if we are to lower class sizes for honours courses and expand offerings in high-demand fields such as law, political science, and international relations.
The following management measures are underway to enhance infrastructure:
– College Management Structure has been clarified and revised to produce optimum communication, consultation and efficiency in implementation of College policies and decisions.
– College Management Team is operating at high productivity and efficiency with regular meetings featuring set agendas and action plans for the implementation of decisions. The current team of Principal, Vice Principals and Finance Directory will expand with the hiring of the Estate Manager and the Institutional Advancement Officer.
– I take this opportunity to thank the Management Team members for their assistance by way of consultation about and implementation of many matters. Vice Principal Prof. Naseem Haider, Vice Principal Prof. Kalim Ullah, and Finance Director Mr. Fahim Khan are extremely able leaders, and it is a pleasure to serve with them.
– Differentiation of roles is proceeding. Where originally finance, property and administrative functions were centralized in the Bursar, Finance has for two years been separate. Now the Estate Department will be separated from the Administrative Department, which will also be designated to handle Human Resources.
– The Executive Committee had a productive meeting in May under the able chairmanship of the Rt. Rev. Humphrey Salfaraz Peters, Bishop of Peshawar. Consultation between the Bishop and the Management Team is frequent and helpful. Recently the cabinet of ECTWA met fruitfully with the Bishop as well. It is very encouraging that Diocese, Management and ECTWA all appear to be pulling in the same direction. I am very grateful to Bp. Peters for his support, expressed in many ways.
The following financial measures are underway to enhance infrastructure:
– Finance Department is being run in an exemplary way, with efficiencies and controls far beyond those of many institutions globally, and this is crucial to building fiscal confidence in Edwardes following the embezzlement scandal of several years ago. A particularly notable feature is the Internal Auditor, who must endorse all payments and who physically checks inventory against purchases.
– Not only is Edwardes financially self-sufficient from fees, but the Finance Department’s budgeting process has rebuilt reserves up very substantially. The current reserve is far from what we need, for the Pension Fund must be rebuilt from the embezzlement, and we should always have a six-month operating reserve. However, outstanding progress is being made.
– College Financial Rules and Fee Structure have been revised, and the Fee Structure is available on the website. Fee increases now apply to all students rather than only to entering students, and the payment norm is annual rather than monthly – both measures contributing to increased income and decreasing defaults.
– Institution of the Evening Session in 2010 brought in an additional 800 students, significantly increasing the revenue stream. A continuing challenge is the integration of the academic programme as a whole so that the Evening Session is regarded, like the Morning Session, as integral to Edwardes College.
– Entry Test Coaching Classes instituted in summer 2011 had low enrollment due to late advertising, but they are expected to produce significant revenue in summer 2012, while also enhancing Edwardes’ reputation and serving the wider community.
– A Provident Fund established 1 July 2011 provides a retirement benefit for new employees and begins the process of winding down the existing Pension Fund, which, while it will provide for all employed before 1 July 2011, continues to strain College finances.
– Mess, Bus and Canteen Accounts have been centralized with other College accounts, so that the funds are properly accounted for in the College Financial Statements.
The following fundraising measures are underway to enhance infrastructure:
– The position of Institutional Advancement Officer is being established, with responsibility for fundraising, alumni networking, publicity and publications.
– A promotional brochure has been prepared for networking and fundraising, and it was used to good effect in the UK in October and elsewhere.
– The College website (www.edwardes.edu.pk) has received a major facelift, so that it is now dynamic and current, prompting more than 12,000 hits in October.
– A meeting of the College administration with the Edwardes College Old Students Association cabinet was held concerning Vision 2013, the financial viability of the College, the need for fundraising, and a future alumni dinner. ECOSA is eager to assist in building up the programme and finances of the College.
– Substantial networking of alumni abroad occurred during the Principal’s October 2011 trip to UK, and this established a foundation for fundraising in the UK for faculty fellowships, expanded facilities, endowment, library resources, and aid for gifted and needy students.
The following property measures are underway to enhance infrastructure:
– The position of Estate Officer is being established, with responsibility for repairs and maintenance of existing buildings and grounds, construction, strategic planning for acquisition of land and buildings, and security.
– Two new laboratories are under construction for chemistry and physics, needed in order to accommodate the large student body that includes the evening session.
– A major sprucing up of existing buildings and grounds is underway that is eliminating unsightly, inefficient and dangerous arrangements that have grown up over the years.
– A second bus has been purchased for the transport of students, and the donation of a third is now in process.
– The move of the Edwardes College School from its existing quarters on campus to its new campus in Hyatabad is being pushed, with the move expected by September 2012, thus restoring a major facility to the use of the College.
– Conversations have been held with the Edwardian owner of the former Khyber College, across from the College main gate, regarding possible purchase of that property, such purchase being a centerpiece of the College’s current fundraising.
Enhancements in ethos, College life and culture are equally important in providing the unique education and personal development for which Edwardes is known. Following are initiatives underway in these areas:
– The Mission, Goals and Vision of Edwardes College have been clarified and gathered into a single Purpose Statement that has been shared and discussed with faculty, students and staff and appears prominently in the Prospectus and on the website (see "Edwardes Purpose" button). Central is the Mission Statement: “The mission of Edwardes College is to educate and develop professionals who will be leaders in meeting the opportunities and challenges of Pakistan today.” The various parts of the Purpose Statement are guiding us in our strategic planning for the College.
– Viable co-education of women and men together depends partly on the women becoming a more substantial proportion of the student body. 305 women are currently enrolled in various courses, a substantial increase over past years, and the Women’s Centre has been refurbished. Equally important, a gender harassment policy has been promulgated and is being implemented, applying equally to interactions among students and between faculty and students. This is crucial to our co-educational programme being respected and embraced.
– Religious life is flourishing with official encouragement. The chapel and mosque attract worshipers throughout the day. Daily chapel services have been revived, and the Jumma prayers are going well. Further, the Principal and the Islamiyat Department are in discussion about nurturing interfaith dialogue on campus. The religious foundation of Edwardes is always clear, as is the priority we place on religious faith in personal development. A group of ten, including both faculty and students, attended an interfaith seminar in Rawalpindi in October.
– Edwardes is participating in and achieving notable success in such off-campus events as the LUMS Olympiad and the Pakistan Young Leaders Conference. Similarly, efforts are underway to revive the various campus societies that offer co-curricular activities such as debate, music and poetry, and the annual drama productions continue to be major attractions in the city.
– There is discussion of how Edwardes can intensify its well known emphasis on character development through offerings in personal and professional ethics.
– In addition to the Proctorial system continuing well, the Prefect system has been revived in the Hostel, and September saw the first Prefects Dinner in five years.
The provincial and national environment of Edwardes is challenging today, as it is for all institutions in Pakistan. On account of the continuing insecurity caused by militant attacks along the northwest frontier, Edwardes students come almost entirely from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa rather than from throughout Pakistan. Thus our catchment area no longer includes the gifted from the entire country, and our appeal now is provincial rather than national. The silver lining of that cloud, however, is that we are responding to the needs of the most educationally challenged region of Pakistan – Khyber Pakhtunkhwa; the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, from which numerous students come; and, to a lesser extent, Balochistan. Edwardes was established on the frontier for the frontier – a frontier that is just as challenging today as it was in 1900. And we are fulfilling our mission on that frontier – ad majorem Dei gloriam – to the greater glory of God.