Hard work, commitment and sincerity were the three personal qualities promoted to students by Ms. Farah Hamid Khan, Secretary for Higher Education for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, in her remarks as Chief Guest at the annual Prize Giving and Awards Ceremony held in College Hall on Friday, 20 April 2012, after she presented distinctions to 73 students in all courses and fields of study (see news story on prize-winners).
“Do not lose hope in Pakistan!” Ms. Farah exhorted the students as she observed that “there is an atmosphere of dismay and hopelessness in the country today.” She noted as grounds for hope that an international survey of professional and educational performance rated Pakistan fourth worldwide.
The Secretary paid tribute to the “grace and grandeur” of Edwardes College as “one of the most prestigious institutions in the country.” She said Edwardes is noted for its attention to cultural and religious identity, quality education, and discipline and ethics. She said this would be an excellent foundation for the degree-awarding status the College is seeking and which her department supported.
“Pakistan’s population is now about 190 million people, a high proportion of whom are between the ages of 17 and 25,” Ms. Farah said in highlighting the centrality of education in raising levels of literacy, especially in the male-female differential, and in eroding the basis of political and religious extremism.
In reviewing the direction of the higher education in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the Secretary emphasized that higher education is now primarily a provincial rather than federal matter and that the 4-year BS course is replacing the FA/FSc-BA/BSc sequence, which she said is “no longer useful.” She said the transition to the BS course that began with 20 colleges in the province has now expanded to 57. Teacher training for college faculty members is now mandatory, she said, and she stressed that support is encouraged and provided for MPhil and PhD study both within Pakistan and abroad.
The Secretary was presented with a College commemorative plate in expression of gratitude for her presence and her reflections. The event opened with a recitation from from the Holy Quran and a reading from the Holy Bible and closed with a Benediction.
“Welcome to the annual Prize-Giving and Awards Ceremony of Edwardes College,” said Principal Dr. Titus Presler in opening the event. “This is the occasion on which we celebrate the outstanding achievements of students since the last academic session.
“Edwardes is the oldest institution of higher education in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, having been founded in 1900 by the Church Missionary Society, and it continues as an institution of the Church of Pakistan through the Diocese of Peshawar,” he continued. “Over the last 112 years Edwardes has prepared thousands of men and women who have fulfilled the College’s mission, which, as currently expressed, is ‘to educate and develop professionals who will be servant leaders in meeting the challenges and opportunities of Pakistan today.’ We are sure that the young people assembled here today will live out in many and luminous ways their formation in that statement of purpose.
“The Edwardes experience is widely thought to be unique in offering education in an environment where the free interchange of ideas is welcomed, where students’ talents flourish in co-curricular activities as well as in the classroom, and where the contributions of diverse religious convictions are celebrated.
“The gift of Edwardes is being further developed through a number of particular initiatives,” the Principal said. “On this occasion next year we hope to recognize student achievements beyond the academic, with awards given as well for contributions to college life and for engagement in social outreach. The range of studies has been expanded for the current session to include philosophy, psychology and journalism, and other fields are likely to be added, such as sociology, religion, anthropology, and physical education.
“A major movement afoot in the College now is that many faculty members – 34 currently – are in the process of acquiring more advanced degrees. In fact, a number of faculty are unable to be here on this occasion today because they are attending MPhil and PhD classes. This welcome commitment is the most fundamental foundation for Edwardes’ aspiration to become a degree-awarding institution, an aspiration formally adopted by the Board of Governors at its March 2012 meeting. The Ministry of Higher Education of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has encouraged the College in this effort, and we are grateful to Secretary Farah Hamid for her support.”
Dr. Titus expressed thanks in a number of directions:
Thank you, Parents and Families, for entrusting your young people to the education and care of Edwardes College. We hope we have fulfilled your hopes, and please do let us know about ways in which you believe we could improve what we offer.
Thank you, Students, for entrusting yourselves to the College and for your achievements during the past year. We hope that your connection with us will be permanent.
Thank you, Members of Staff, for the many ways in which you support the educational enterprise of this College – from the kitchens to the offices, from the grounds to the telephones.
Thank you, especially, all members of the Faculty, for the expertise you share so gladly with your students, for your skill in teaching, and for the many ways in which you guide students to develop their full potential.
On behalf of all of us, I thank those who have contributed so much to the planning and implementation of this event. Assoc. Prof. Shah Jehan has coordinated the programme for a number of years, and we are grateful to him for his attention to each and every detail of the occasion. Asst. Prof. Arif Ghani has assisted in organizing the event. Muhammad Mushtaq in the A-Level Department has likewise been invaluable in implementing many of the arrangements.
Administrative Officer Shah Mahmood has overseen many logistics, and we are grateful to him and to the many members of his staff.
Refreshments had been planned for the Cunningham Lawn, but with the advent of unseasonable rain tea was taken in the Library and Old Hall verandah.