LAHORE: A Christian cleric on Monday heaped scorn on
the provincial government for freezing its
denationalisation programme out of fear of a teachers'
backlash. The denationalisation programme, introduced
under a landmark ruling of the superior judiciary,
came unstuck late last month when teachers launched a
successful protest campaign against it.

"Just at the hint of agitation, the government folded
its denationalisation plans,"  the Bishop of Lahore
Alexander John Malik said bitterly. "The move would
have been beneficial to all parties concerned."

Under the programme, the government of Punjab was to
hand over missionary schools and other privately-owned
educational institutions to their rightful owners,
starting from June 2001. Almost all these institutions
have been under government control since 1972.

Bishop Alexander said the Church of Pakistan, an
ecumenical union of all Anglican, Methodist, Scottish
Presbyterian and  Lutheran churches, would contest the
decision in court. "We will institute legal
proceedings against the provincial government if it
does not unfreeze the denationalisation programme,"
the bishop told participants at a seminar on the
privatisation of education.

A large group of teachers in the central Punjab
province oppose denationalisation on the grounds that
it would allow large-scale transfers of educators and
jeopardise their benefit claims. They threatened to
mount a series of strikes if the government went ahead
with the plan. In the end the provincial government
backed down and shelved the scheme of returning
privately-owned schools and colleges.
It is not clear whether the government U-turn would
affect the formal handover of Lahore's Forman
Christian College to its old owners. The famed college
is to be returned in October 2002 on the orders of
President Pervez Musharraf, who studied at the

Bishop Alexander has vowed to resist the government on
the issue of stalled denationalisation. "The teachers
are holding the government to ransom...and we will not
permit that," he said. About the fears expressed by
teachers, the bishop said the missonary schools had no
intention of reneging on its pledges to pay teachers
salaries and charge anything but the fixed tuition fee
from students.

"At a time when the government is carrying out the
privatisation of industrial units and hospitals, it is
ridiculous to block denationalisation of educational
institutions," he said. 

The owners of the missionary institutions complain
that the government did not pay them a single rupee
when they confiscated their schools and colleges some
thirty years ago. "Yet they expect us to become liable
for expenses and salaries that they ought to be paying
in the first place," observed a Catholic
schoolteacher. " It won't be totally inaccurate to say
that the denationalisation scheme was floated because
the provincial governments of Sindh and Punjab no
longer had the money to pay the salaries of teachers,"
he said. 

Do You Yahoo!?
Yahoo! Finance - Get real-time stock quotes

 To Subscribe/Unsubscribe from GoaNet  |
 For (un)subscribing or for help, Contact: [EMAIL PROTECTED]
 Dont want so many e=mails?  Join GoaNet-Digest instead !
 Help support non-commercial projects in Goa by advertizing!!
        *               *               *               *
                        Your ad here !!

Reply via email to